“You guys broke up? Don’t worry, there are plenty of other fish in the sea.” It’s a common saying, meant to be comforting and consoling. It’s also undeniable that there are billions of people on this earth. One of which who you might very well meet and fall madly in love with like one of those cheesy low-budget movies you watch when you’re home sick from school. But what are the real chances of meeting your soulmate? Are there really plenty of metaphorical fish in the metaphorical sea? Time for some hard-core statistics.
My friend and I recently took a personality test on one of those pleasantly half-dodgy websites clearly made back during the internet’s awkward teenage years. The personality test divided people into 16 different personality types. Each personality type was then only compatible with itself and 3 others. So according to this test and it’s sweeping generalizations, you are romantically compatible with a fourth of the earths population. A quick flutter of your fingers over at our trusty friend Google will then tell you that is roughly 1.7 billion people. How jolly! However, don’t be fooled. You must still narrow it down further to find the real number of fish in your sea.
One of the many things being a second year natural science student at Kungsholmens Gymnasium has taught me, is to make sure to use reliable sources. Also, when reliable sources are unavailable, use unreliable ones and lie about it. However, in order to save myself the trouble of actually having to think of a good lie, I will instead simply say: It is known.
It is known that during our lifetime we meet about 68000 people. It is also known that the average person dates between the ages of 14 and 35. So, it stands to reason that during these 21 years of dating, the average person will encounter roughly 23000 people. If we look back at the personality test mentioned above, only a fourth of these 23000 people will be compatible with you. Also, assuming you have a gender of preference, only half of that fourth will fulfill that criteria. We are now left with about 2875 people. Not too bad, right? Wrong. We’re not done yet.
We must also consider sexual preferences. According to another source that I again shall leave untold, 1 out of 10 people are gay. So, for straight people only about 2587 of these people will be relevant to the fish in sea analogy. For gay people only about 287. We must also consider the age of the people. Here is where it gets even trickier for those who respect and appreciate accuracy. Luckily, I am not one of those people. Therefore, I shall now wildly assume that a fourth of the fish you are left with are at any given time during your 21 years of dating the correct age for you. For all you straight people, that leaves about 640 eligible bachelor/bachelorettes. Give or take. “640 people? But that’s plenty!” Wrong. We’re not done yet.
We must also consider the people who do not find you attractive, whom you are not attracted to, those you friendzone, those who friendzone you, those who you simply do not have any “chemistry” with, cousins, siblings, siblings of friends who would chop your head off if you ever did anything with their precious little sister or brother, people you accidentally did something ridiculously embarrassing in front of, people whose number you were too shy to ask for, and finally, those who are in a relationship already. Assuming that 84% of the people are thus unavailable to you for the aforementioned reasons, this leaves about 100 people that you will meet between the ages of 14 and 35 that you are romantically compatible with. 100 other fish in the sea. Roughly. Give or take. Sort of.
So next time you go through a bad break up. Instead of telling yourself there are plenty of fish in the sea, just remember that you now have: “99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer, you take one down and pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall.”
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