Nerds Make Sense of Love Lives Through Formulae

As a follow-up to an earlier post, consider a conversation in the XKCD forums regarding a formula for acceptable age limits for dating. It offers another interesting glimpse of how math (sort of) helps us think about our lives. My favorite exchange:

Is it sad that I have both heard of and used that formula before?

I’d say no, but since I’m trying to remember where my graphing calculator is, I’m hardly impartial.

This also led my friend Jordan to calculations on the probability of finding a girlfriend. The validity of this analysis is apparently in dispute. Let us remember that the odds change depending on context: If you’re determined to date a gamer, for example, you may have a better chance of finding a mate at the local arcade than in, say, Chuck E. Cheese’s, where the people playing games are likely to be minors, and the adults are more likely to be married parents. (Exception: You may also find the occasional group of twentysomething guys who recall that Chuck E. Cheese’s serves beer for the parents and decide to show up for the novelty of getting drunk with an animatronic animal band. I learned of this practice from someone at South by Southwest Interactive.)