18 days ago, I decided to declare May “Jess, Stop Pretending You’re A Baller and Taking Cabs Everywhere” Month.
Growing up in the outskirts of NYC, I always swore to myself that I would never become one of those frivolous city dwellers who took cabs everywhere. Why waste so much money on taxis when you have access to one of the best subway systems in the world?! But then I moved to the city, and suddenly I was “hopping a cab” here, there and everywhere. Oh no, I’m running late! Hop a cab. These heels hurt! Hop a cab. It’s 2:00 am – I’ll get kidnapped if I walk those three blocks at this hour! Hop a cab. And my wallet suffered as a result.
So for the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time on the subway. And lo and behold, it turns out that there are quite a few cute guys on the L train! As romantic optimists, Becky and I like to say that a romantic connection can happen anytime, anywhere. Including public transportation. Who knows…your soulmate could be sitting on the other side of that adorable Midwestern couple with the pull-out map…
But relying on Missed Connections to hook you up with your commuter crush seems so random and unlikely to work. How are we supposed to improve our odds of reconnecting with these guys?
Enter a new technological matchmaker: SubMate. The premise is pretty straightforward – you create a profile and input your typical subway route, and SubMate shows you everyone on the same route who is single and looking for love (and privy to the same cutting-edge technology as you). Life is short and finding love is hard, so why waste your subway ride reading a book or listening to your iPod when you could be adding a new guy to your dah?
Luckily, the cities where SubMate functions – NYC, London, Paris – probably need its help the most. Urban legend has always claimed that dating in large cities is particularly difficult, as us city folk have unreasonably high standards, tend to prioritize work over romance, and fall prey to the seemingly endless romantic options, always looking over our potential paramours’ shoulders to see if someone better is coming through the door. I’ve always tried to look at it optimistically; NYC, for example, is a city of over eight million people. If you can’t find someone you like here, then you probably can’t find them anywhere!
But suddenly the laws of math have turned against us as well.
According to a mathematical proof developed by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, finding love in a big city is a lot harder than finding it anywhere else – if you’re truly looking for your best match, of course. Why, exactly? Get out your TI-83 graphing calculator, and I’ll explain it to you!
Satoshi Kanazawa argues that the most successful way to find a mate is to date and reject the first 37% of guys in your target demographic and then pick the best guy out of the remaining 63%. So if you live in a small town, then you may have to date 10 or so guys before you go on to choose the next best one. But if you live in a city with hundreds of thousands of available men, then working your way through the first 37% of them could (and often does) take years and years and years. And if you include all the guys who you’re non-dating…well, that could take forever. Thank god we have helpful tricks like SubMate to speed up the process!
However, in all seriousness – do we really believe that mathematical equations can predict love? This may seem idealistic, but doesn’t connection just happen…when it happens? Timing and setting play a role in every relationship, of course. But it seems to me that, regardless of whether you reside in a big city or a small town or a rural village, you can never be sure when love is going to strike. Your job is simply to be alert and open-minded enough to recognize it when it first shows up, and then, to pursue the connection until you can be sure whether it’s genuine or not. You might be hit with true connection in your high school algebra class (14%?), or at the grocery store in your 60’s, after three divorces (82%?). And isn’t it likely that many of us will live in several places throughout our lifetime? I’ve already called at least six cities, of all different sizes, home. Did I start at 0% every time I moved to a new place? How does that fit into the equation?
Then again, math was never my strong suit. U + Me = Us might be all that I can handle. But maybe this guy is on to something. Anyone else want to share their own mathematical equations for love?
Jess is the co-creator of Dating & Hookup, alongside her childhood best friend Becky Lynch, and is the author of the book - yep! - Dating & Hookup. She never tires of hearing your post-dating stories. She wants you to enjoy your love life, and is full of advice on how to do so.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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