(Video) How Many People Are Dateable?

You may have seen me write about what percentage of people are dateable…but you’ve probably never seen me ask a room full of singles before.

Notice how silent it gets when people finally realize that nobody’s good enough for a second date. I can understand why no one would want to lower his/her standards, of course, but what does it say about you if you can’t find anybody suitable to date? And what if everyone else in the world had such similarly high standards that YOU could never make the cut?

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  1. 1

    Evan, just want to say again: I love your new hair. 🙂

    There’s a statistical problem with the way you did your calculations, and it all goes back to those good ol’ Venn Diagrams of yesteryear. You learned about those, right? First, you asked these women what X% of men make enough money to satisfy them. Then you asked them what Y% of men are sufficiently intelligent for them. You implied that therefore, you multiply X% and Y% to find out how many men are suitable, and that the product is supposed to be some very small fraction.

    The mathematical problem with that is that there is such a strong overlap between being financially well-off and being intelligent. So it’s not just a straightforward multiplication problem; it’s more like this: If I think 60% of men can satisfy me financially, and I think 50% of men I meet are sufficiently intelligent for me (and this is really right for me!), then I am actually expecting that 45% of men will have BOTH these criteria, because of the heavy overlap.

    Of course, I also want a guy to be nice… but I think most guys are nice, so that doesn’t eliminate many people at all: at most, it would go down to 43%.

    Then again, I’m already married, so this is a moot point. 😀 Just wanted to point out the statistical issue. Great video.

  2. 2

    Nice analogy there, and true enough. I think you really opened up a lot of those people’s eyes.

  3. 3

    Thanks for posting this video, Evan. As I mentioned in some thread (I think it was the no sex before marriage one), I actually found this activity really helpful. For some people I think they do need to do this activity when just thinking about whom they’re willing to date. But I would really recommend this for people who are thinking about making a commitment to someone (be it exclusivity or something even more serious). I think that’s the part where a lot of people trip up; the person is good enough to date for a bit, but not necessarily to take it beyond anything casual. Perhaps when looked at with a statistics perspective, people might give a relationship more of a shot and some additional time to see how it will develop.

  4. 4

    Given that the crowd seemed to be made up of women over 40, I wonder if the ” no one’s good enough for me” mentality becomes more prevalent with age.

  5. 5

    I can’t watch the video right now, because I have no sound on my computer, but I am going to respond to the “what does it say about you if you can’t find anybody suitable to date? And what if everyone else in the world had such similarly high standards that YOU could never make the cut?”

    See, this is exactly why I figure it’s impossible for me to find someone. Not because my standards are so high, but if you take two people with any kind of standards it seems there will always be at least one person who is not satisfied. I’m not perfect. I don’t want to be with someone who is. But I do have standards, which have a lot more to do with particularities than how much money a guy makes or even how attractive he is when compared to the population in general. Occasionally I meet a man I deem ‘worthy’ of dating, but then he won’t deem me worthy of him. All of this after doing my best to be my best and not having pie in the sky expectations. Talk about disappointments.

    All I’m saying is that I am not altering/lowering my standards when they aren’t too unrealistic in the first place. I wouldn’t expect a man to have to do the same for me. I can’t help it if who I am isn’t (insert adjective here) enough for a guy’s liking. Nor can I help it if the men who do appreciate my personality tend to not be what I’m looking for. I guess that’s why I continue to be single and not dating at all. Until I figure out how to change any of that without the use of copious amounts of alcohol or hallucinogens I suppose I’ll have to stay that way!

  6. 6

    I’m really enjoying these clips Evan. Your points (and humor) come across very well this way.:)

  7. 7

    @Marc #4,

    I don’t think it’s that “the no one’s good enough for me ” mentality becomes more prevalent over 40. I could guess though, that women over 40 might cast more of a practical eye toward things like income and intelligence than the 20 something versions of themselves who mainly wanted someone “hot”.

    The “Cinderella complex” dies hard anyway and online dating seems to present a sense of *false choice*. That is the fantasy of ordering up whatever you think you want in a mate and have it delivered. If that’s true, why not order one with x amount of income, intelligence, good looks, whatever? Alas the catch that isn’t in the fine print – that person may not want you.

  8. 8

    I watched the video and I think you may have a future in stand up comedy, that is, if your subject matter wasn’t so tragic. It’s all so depressing, this dating past 35. No wonder when my ex-boyfriend dumped me I hated him specifically for making me single again! I’m turning 37 in a few weeks. Should I just kill myself now and get it over with?

  9. 9

    I’m down on online dating right now just because of some of these reasons. It just seems to me that online dating is full of enigma’s. When you meet a person in real life, you see that person, get a chance to talk to them, see then act and interact, see their demeanor and mannerisms, voice tone, etc. Then you date them lets say. But lets also say that there is something funny about their nose. It never bothered you before because you were too busy really getting to know them and really liking them by now, and besides, there is so much more that is really great about that person, and after all, they can’t help the way their nose is…so it’s really a non issue. Well, with online dating, that person would be deselected because of that one, very subjective trait before the relationship even got a chance to get off the ground. We deselect for things at a whim that are out of our criteria, even though it really is a rather arbitrary list in the first place. I think it looses some of it’s naturalness. The next thing is choices. We seem to be lost in options, when in fact, if we are not good dating material ourselves, no one else will be either, to us at least, so a lot of people are simply not options to others because maybe they don’t come across well or something like that. We think we have all kinds of options when we have 5, 10, 20 people we are in various stages of communication with, but in the end none of them seem to pan out. Been there too many times to count. If you meet a person online, communicate via email, then phone, then meet and go out and have a great date, then say one wrong thing, one wrong email, one wrong tonal inflection, a little too touchey feeley and you’re done. Why? Because people in their minds real quickly go to themselves, “I don’t have to put up with that, I’ve got options damnit”! And they simply don’t have anything invested at that point so why not move on…greener pastures and all that. So they go look somewhere else and that doesn’t work out either. We’re all always looking for something better. Online dating breeds that.Ii will say though that I think rule #1 of any kind of dating should be this…no weirdness…and if you don’t know if you’re weird…you probably are! Ask someone who will give you an honest answer. Way too many unhealthy people out there.
    Just my 2 cents.

  10. 10
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#1)
    “The mathematical problem with that is that there is such a strong overlap between being financially well-off and being intelligent.”

    That’s essentially correct (though I personally believe the overlap is a little less than you estimate). But the same principle can work against someone.

    For example, there is one regular on this blog who believes in waiting until marriage for sex. She has very rational, well thought-out reasons for wanting that. However, she is non-religious, so she doesn’t want to date anyone who is particularly religious.

    Most people who abstain from sex until marriage do so out of devout religious convictions. So the intersection of those two groups is probably 1% of the population, even though the percentage of the two groups would mathematically suggest that it would be larger.

    Now 1% of the population isn’t an unreasonable pool to date in (a little small, but not unreasonable). However, this lady has also expressed strong opinions about age, ethnicity, kids, attractiveness (and probably some other things that I’m not recalling) … and she’s also expressed strong opinions about “not settling.”

  11. 11

    Paul (#9) – I’m totally with you with the online dating. It just doesn’t work for a lot of us. I wish I could meet people ‘organically’, but it’s so hard to strike up a conversation with anyone you don’t know, especially if you are shy, like me. I have to say the men are not, in general, approaching me in the real world.

    This ‘grass is always greener’ attitude is so foreign to me. I know what I like, so when I find it, it isn’t hard for me to know I made a good selection. I belong to a specific subculture, so to speak, and I don’t want to date outside of it. I get a lot of flack for it, but it is one of my requirements. It isn’t easy to find men of this ‘type’ and when I find one who strikes my fancy it can sting when they aren’t interested in me at all.

    My greatest sorrow is that you can only date the people who want to date you. It makes me feel like we don’t really have a say in the matter. I do think I was much better off when I had the attitude that I should take what I can get (and hold on for dear life!). The sex always suffered, sure, but at least I wasn’t out there fielding this lousy dating scene! Now that I figure I should have options (like, hey, maybe I should get to date people I am actually attracted to) I find that I don’t have many options at all.

  12. 12

    RE: The idea behind the math

    I completely understand the idea of overlap. Even when it’s accounted for, your final number is shocking. When I did this exercise for myself here is what I found statistically (all statistics were taken from the Census, I believe, but it’s been a little while since I did this so I might be off).

    93.4% At least 5?4?
    58.6% Some college or more (which also corresponds to income levels of about $36k+)
    76% Christian
    40% Single (divorced or never married)

    With what I consider to be the most basic standards, I’m already down to 16.6% of the male population in my 13 year target age range. And that doesn’t take into account any particular interests, politics, values, etc that you may want to use which may eliminate another large chunk of people.

    I don’t say this to indicate that people should be desperate to date anyone who meets their bare standards. But when you do get down to a low percentage of people who you’d be interested in long-term, if you find someone who meets your basics I’d at least give them a shot or two to see if something develops more as they’re not necessarily a dime a dozen. Not to say that they’re one in a million, but they’re not common either. Basically, just give the person a chance.

  13. 13


    LOL LOL Is that me? if not, I’m glad I’ve got company!

  14. 14
    Evan Marc Katz

    Thanks for that, A-L. But when you REALLY run the numbers, it gets a lot more dire…

    Because most of my clients aren’t looking for 5’4″ men, they’re looking for 5’10” men.
    Most of my clients aren’t looking for some college; they’re looking for Ivy League/JD/MBA + $100K

    And, as you pointed out, we haven’t even factored in all those other must-haves:

    1) Attractive

    2) Honest

    3) Intelligent

    4) Kind

    5) Funny

    6) Financially Stable

    7) Loyal

    8 ) Family-oriented

    9) Passionate

    10) Generous

    11) Interesting

    12) Confident

    13) Fit

    14) Chivalrous

    15) Charming

    16) Ambitious

    17) Sexy

    18) Creative

    In case you’re wondering, there is nothing wrong with this list. Except that it can keep going and going and going. For each quality you add, there’s another justifiable reason that a man is not suited for you. Even when you’re getting 17 out of 18 of your needs met, you’ll pick the ONE that makes you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    It’s easy to turn everything into a dealbreaker. It’s a lot harder to forgive a date’s negative traits. Yet nothing’s more important. Nothing. Seriously, if my wife didn’t forgive a LOT of bad qualities, I could very easily be a 37-year-old single dating coach right now. That’s all I’m sayin’…

  15. 15


    Perhaps you’ll think these numbers are a bit more realistic.

    34% single (never married or divorced men 30-44)
    30.4% 5 10 or taller
    9.75% earn $100k or more (assuming that half of all households that earn $100k or more are single males which is a VERY generous assumption)

    1% of men (by these standards) are eligible to date. We’ll assume that if a single person is earning $100+k that they have the education desired.

    Don’t have time to post all the links but they’re elsewhere in these threads. Income & marital info from census and height from website I found that I linked to in the short men thread.

  16. 16

    What struck me about this video were some of the audience members shown when the camera veered off of Evan. There were a few attractive people, but a number of others looked like they would have been turned down based on appearance alone. A bit ironic as many of them were there listening Evan explain how they have set their bars too high.

  17. 17

    The country has sure changed.

    I’ve gone from being taught by ex-hippies as a child in elementary school to this video where women will publicly, unapologetically, state that they want success and money before they will consider dating a guy.

  18. 18


    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an educated women wanting to date someone who’s as educated as she is. I’m single w a graduate degree, and all of my colleages and their spouses are at the same level. I think an issue is that a lot of single men at that level of education say they’re looking for the same but end up dating women who are younger/uneducated.

  19. 19

    To Paul, you are completely right. And I think, Evan, you have your hands full. 😉

    I grow weary with online dating because while I am looking for a good, everyday kind of man, I think the men are looking for something more than I am. In the beginning, I only have one hard criteria and that is they do not smoke.

    Like A-L, 5′ 4″ or above is fine. I am hoping to find a dedicated, dependable hard worker who is financially self-sufficient (not a Harvard grad with a megawatt career or bank account). I am not the least bit interested in his taking care of me money wise.

    I look for those things of value that truly matter in a long-term relationship, like respect for himself and others and the differences between people, emotionally healthy, the ability to make me laugh at the end of a stressful day, and carry on a good and balanced conversation. Someone who has a passion for something in his life; albeit family, reading, fishing, painting, site-seeing; anything that fuels his fire. I like the idea of someone who can be independently content and content with me, too. Of course, we would have to have some shared interests, but individual passions are great. They keep a relationship healthy.

    While physical attraction is important, it can be tricky. I do not expect there to be an instant attraction. People often grow more attractive to you, once you give them the chance to reveal who they truly are. A person’s soul changes how we seem them.

    So not all women are looking for Mr. Perfect. I think my decades long marriage taught me many valuable things, such as one’s ability to compromise, to be supportive, to work as a team, to forgive one’s mistakes, etc. Now I just have to find another great man. So keep those profiles interesting. 🙂

  20. 20
    Evan Marc Katz

    No one said there’s anything wrong with an educated woman looking for a man as educated as she is. But don’t you see the irony, Downtown?

    Men will date women who are less educated. Women won’t.
    Men will date women who have less money. Women won’t.

    That’s fine if you insist on that. But then who has more dating options? You got it… Men.

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