Because Saturday/V-Day is upcoming, and because I’m getting a bit tired of posting about serious things, here is an academic paper that you might find entertaining*: “Why I Don’t Have A Girlfriend: An Application of the Drake Equation to Love in the UK, by one Peter Backus.
*I know I know – but I’m a weird guy, and you should try it anyway. It’s short and well-spaced. Good-sized font. Includes observations like “I am mostly a heterosexual male” and “voracious cougar” and “I don’t know who the Jonas Brothers are”.

Just so we’re clear, this is the Drake equation:

Ye Olde Drake Equation for the existence of alien life in the etherverse
Ye Olde Drake Equation for the existence of alien life in the etherverse

Not this:

Pearl of wisdom, this.
Pearl of wisdom, this.

Vomit-inductive and horrifying. Not least because the Google search for “Drake on love” takes you to this weird twilight space where people have actually gone through the trouble of making inspirational quote posters with Drake’s lyrics and not in an ironic way.

But back to the Dr. Frank Drake equation, as applied.

It goes something like this:

  1. There are 7 billion people out there.
  2. But the world is a big place – and you’re looking for geographic-convenience.
  3. So now you’re down to the 2 million people or so in your home-town and environs (assuming you’re into big city living).
  4. But for most of us, only half are gender-appropriate, so you’re down to 1 million.
  5. Then there’s age-appropriateness. Maybe 15% of people are in your age-range, so down to 150,000.
  6. Next, attractiveness. Let’s say that you find 1 in every 20 people in your age range attractive. Down to 30,000.
  7. Then you can start isolating out the important compatibilities (must have a university degree, not already married, similar beliefs, can’t be too crazy, etc)
  8. Perhaps that brings you down to about 100 suitable candidates.
  9. Then assuming that the flipside of attractiveness is also working against you, then only 1 in 20 of those will find you attractive.
  10. So 5 potentials with real potential.

Those odds might seem thin.

But cheeringly, there is online dating.

And if you’re considering it, then it’s pretty likely that your potentials are as well (after all, you’re aiming for good compatibility, right?).

And tomorrow, I’m going to repost an older piece on online dating.

Happy Thursday.

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at