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 A mathematics tutor at Warwick university has calculated the probability of ever finding true love.

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PostSubject: A mathematics tutor at Warwick university has calculated the probability of ever finding true love.   Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:02 pm

How do I love thee? Let me the count the probabilities

Outside a pub on the Caledonian Road in Islington, north London, a blackboard urges people to come inside and "enjoy a romantic three-course Valentine's dinner" on Sunday. A certain young man waiting in there will not be among those spooning sticky toffee pudding into their loved one's mouth this weekend.
Peter Backus – a maths tutor at the University of Warwick – is the author of a controversial thesis: Why I Don't Have A Girlfriend. In it, the 31-year-old estimates that our chances of finding love are just one in 285,000. By applying Professor Drake's opaque theory of astrophysics N = R* x Fp x Ne x Fi x Fc x L (in which the pioneering scientist predicted that there could be 10,000 civilisations in our galaxy) to singledom, Backus has discovered that out of the 30 million women in the UK, only 26 would make suitable girlfriends for him. Isn't he just being picky, though?
"This is what people tell me," laughs Backus, a good-looking man from Seattle, "particularly because of the part where I say that I might only find one in twenty women attractive, but I don't just mean good-looking, I mean attractive to me."
"The paper isn't actually about how to find love," he continues. "It's about how to find a potential girlfriend. I can say fairly mechanically that I will not be falling in love with an 85-year-old woman. What I wanted, among other things, was somebody with a university education, who lived nearby and was between 24 and 34 years old."
After a three-year period as a single man following a broken heart, Backus set about discovering precisely why he was having such trouble finding a girlfriend. The paper, he says, "only took me two hours to write – any super nerdy person could have done it." But when one of his students posted the thesis on an internet chat room, the response was extraordinary.
"My in-box was rammed with emails from one day to the next. People were writing to me from all over the world, from China to Greece. There were women saying they would be my girlfriend, and men explaining how to manipulate women into being the people you want them to be. A woman in Brazil proposed marriage, and a TV producer got in touch about possibly using the thesis as the foundation for a TV show."
Backus cheerfully accepts that his thesis ignores some key aspects of the coupling process. "Like-minded people tend to congregate in the same places, of course, and the internet is now this amazing thing that enables you to type in exactly what you are looking for in a mate and come up with ten matches, so my paper is based on some unrealistic odds."
What about the women who, disregarding all logic, go on holiday and fall in love with Florentine waiters? "I'd be interested to see how long that lasts," he smiles. And isn't it a fact that someone can fit every one of your criteria but still, bafflingly, remain completely unattractive to you? "Then there are clearly other criteria that really matter to you but that you can't quantify," he says.
It comes as no surprise to me that Backus is American. Over in the States, they are as particular about their partners as they are about their omelettes, wanting them just the way they like them. We, on the other hand, if recent reports are to be believed, are often likely to "settle" for second best. "I do find it extraordinary that the British race has been able to perpetuate itself," he concurs. "The passivity and reliance on alcohol in order even to talk to a member of the opposite sex here boggles my mind. As does the way you people analyse text messages – just call the person if you want to communicate with them."
From a scientific point of view, game playing doesn't make sense either, he points out. "If you make a move that is not really you, and then the man responds in a way that is not really him, you will both be moving further and further away from what you want."
It was, perhaps, that appealingly straightforward side of Backus, rather than the publication of his thesis, that meant he did finally find a girlfriend in August last year. "Rose fits all the principles I laid down in the paper, but I'm happy to say that I didn't apply them that mechanically." And doesn't the thesis, with its rather clinical connotations, bother her? "She thinks it's funny that something as nerdy as this has got so much attention," he laughs.
So, will he be sending her roses or a card on Valentine's Day? "No," he tells me. "Actually, she asked me a week ago whether I celebrate Valentine's Day, and I told her that I don't." Oh dear, I feel duty-bound to explain to him, that was girl lingo for "Where are you taking me on Valentine's day?". "It was?" he looks aghast. "But what about the rule of never pretending to be something you're not?"
Forget the thesis, I tell him – science can only get you so far.

heart Cute

”Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." ~H. L. Mencken

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PostSubject: Re: A mathematics tutor at Warwick university has calculated the probability of ever finding true love.   Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:08 pm

That's a great story!

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PostSubject: Re: A mathematics tutor at Warwick university has calculated the probability of ever finding true love.   Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:03 pm

Haha- this is great.
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PostSubject: Re: A mathematics tutor at Warwick university has calculated the probability of ever finding true love.   Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:42 pm

Hello susanspy...

What exactally do you need help with?... Finding a love match?

While I'm here... I knew a young man years ago that talked away at wanting a girlfriend, well actually a wife, but he had some criteria she had to meet. She had to be around 5'11, blue eyes-blonde hair, be into extreme sports and be of stereotype model looks and build and also be either a lawer or doctor. There was more as to likes of music, tastes and personality wise but I can't remember all of it.

As far as I know he's still single.
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