In 1996, two mathematicians proved a theorem that if you have a pool of candidates (eligible dates), and your job is to pick the best candidate (date), then the best strategy is to reject 37% of the candidates, and then choose the next candidate that is better than all the candidates you’ve seen before. This is similar to another dating numbers theory we’ve written about: after you’ve been dating for a while, choosing “the right one” is simply a matter of settling on the next person who comes along who meets or surpasses your standards. In other words, you want to sort of see what your options are (peruse the menu for a bit, if you will) before deciding what you really want.
So here’s how this relates back to New York: if you live somewhere with, say, 10 eligible men, you only have to date and reject 4 of them to get to your statistical 37%.
If you live in New York City you may meet a thousand people before you can start getting serious about finding a mate, so the larger the pool the more people you have to reject, more people you have to date and evaluate and then reject regardless before you can get serious about dating, so that is why if you live in a larger city where there are a larger pool of candidates then it’s more time consuming.
Again, you want to be really sure you know what you want before settling down: in a big city, knowing what you want just takes more time.
So if the most mathematically efficient way to find a mate is to first reject 37% of our potential suitors, it makes sense to sort of. Get a move on the rejection part. (In other words, if you have to kiss a lot of frogs, don’t put dating off until later.) And, the next time you have a bad date, don’t sweat it too much! That person was just helping you meet your quota of 37%.
And, in case you missed it: