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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dating Pool Size

First of all, I love Best of Craigslist because it brings such wonderful things to my attention.

Secondly, I love this woman for breaking it down. I empathize with a sista because I often feel like my dating pool consists of about 50 people and I've already met like 30 of them, yet I'm single. Scary.

Thirdly, I'm just loving all the breakdowns, assumptions, and estimations that went into this market sizing exercise. It reminds me of the trillions of case interviews I had to go through when interviewing at consulting firms. They're actually fun. Well, I think they're fun, which makes me both a dork and well-suited for the industry in which I work.

Finally, the posting below is actually a response to a previous posting. So this woman is breaking it down for her and throws in hilarious comments like "the lesbian community is notorious for not being able to afford stuff." Ouch! Haha.

re: Am I the only sane lesbian with a house, an income >100,000

Date: 2006-10-12, 1:19PM PDT

The answer to your question is: "Because such women are exceedingly rare."

    Let's break this down, shall we?
  • "Femme" - minority - most lesbians are at least kind of andro. I'm going to say 10%.
  • "Beautiful" - minority among women in general, even more so among lesbians for the same reason gay men are generally better-kept than straight ones. Let's say one in twenty, or 5%.
  • "Make a decent income (> $100,000)" - I assume you mean per year. Fortunately, (thanks to the Census) we have real numbers for this. The percentage of households in the San Francisco Bay Area with an income of more than $100k/year is 27.25%. However, that number is mostly couples and as I'm sure you know, men earn considerably more than women. The percentage of women who earn more than $100k/year is probably closer to that of households with > $200k/year, or 6.21%. I suspect that for lesbians, it's even less, as the lesbian community is notorious for not being able to afford stuff.
  • "owns a home" - For the sake of argument, I'm going to assume that every woman with an income of over $100k owns a home, although this is almost certainly not true.
  • "in decent shape" - I'm going to be generous and assume you mean "not obese" instead of "has a hot body".
    The obesity rate in California for 2005 was 20-24%. Fortunately for you, obesitiy (defined as more than 30% over weight, for a 5'4" woman, this means 30-40 extra pounds) is negatively associated with income, meaning richer people tend to be thinner. However, lesbians tend to be heavier because staying slim in this fattening society requires effort, and lesbians have less incentive to make that effort because women tend to be less snobbish about fat than men. I'm going to let the two factors cancel each other out and put the percentage of women who would qualify as "in decent shape" as 80%. This number is probably too generous, but you need all the help you can get by this point.
  • "lesbian" - I'm having trouble finding real numbers for this. The Census only counts same sex couples, which is exactly what you are not looking for. I read somewhere that the queer population in the SF Bay Area (including silicon valley) is around one million. This includes men and bisexuals. So let's say we have 400,000 lesbians in the bay area. And I'm going to further speculate that half of them are single, which gives us 200,000. This is probably a gross overestimation, but one has to start somewhere.

    200,000 single lesbians in the Bay Area
    160,000 single and less than 30% overweight
    _16,000 single, not fat, and femme
    _ _ 800 single, not fat, femme, and "beautiful"
    === 49 single, not fat, femme, beautiful, and earn more than $100k per year.

    I haven't tried to guess at how many of these 49 women are "sane and ready for a relationship", because I think by "sane" you mean "good personality or at least one I can get along with" and, like "ready for a relationship" this is impossible to guess at. I have not tried to account for the fact that women who are attractive, agreeable, and affluent usually don't stay single for long. I also haven't tried to guess how many of these women would both be the sort of person you'd be attracted to and return your feelings. But we're already talking about (at the most) 0.5% of the lesbian population, or 1 out of 2,000 women in any given area, which is impossible enough.

    Of course, all this is arguable. I am not a statistician, and have mostly guessed at the numbers. But I have been as accurate as possible and made an effort to err "on the bright side" whenever I could. I think this is a pretty good guess, and if anyone else out there has better numbers or calculations, I'd love to see them.

    All I can really be sure of is my own experience. All I aim for is "financially stable", "nice", "intelligent", "honest", "pretty", "within 10 years or my own age", and "genuinely femme". I don't even try for "lesbian" (as opposed to bi) or "available" (since I'm usually looking for peers instead of lovers). I've been looking more or less steadily since I moved here in 1992. At any given time, I know less than a dozen individuals, including friends I've had for a long time.

    Good luck.

PS - I know a recently single lesbian who is attractive, arguably femme, makes over $100k, isn't fat, owns a home, and is intelligent. Oh, but she's a raging bitch who just got dumped. So if you're up for sloppy seconds, then leave a comment and I'll send you her number.


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