Sunday, January 26, 2014

Frog kissing. Or, why do we never learn?

A friend pointed me to this story about the average number of men (or rather frogs) a woman has to date before finding their 'Prince Charming' (apparently it's 15).  Let's leave aside for now how they came up with the number: I've no doubt the methodology conforms to the most rigorous standards that we've all come to expect from the internet.  I thought that this paragraph might give some people hope:
If you've made out with 11 men, great news! A new survey suggests you're only 4 away from Prince Charming. On average, anyway.
It's now my duty to crush that hope.
A prince
Distinguishing princes and frogs can be
difficult at first glance [Photo: Allen Warren]

The bad news is that (even if the rest of it is correct) the survey absolutely doesn't say that.  If you've been in 11 disastrous (but possibly ultimately affirming) relationships, you've guaranteed that the total number you end up in is at least 11.  But it could have been fewer than that (it happens apparently), so the possibility that you stayed with your childhood sweetheart is included in the average which arrives at 15.  Once you exclude that possibility, the average will only increase.