Often in conversation a female friend will exclaim, “All the good ones are gay!” Not only is that a complete fallacy, it’s also just a smidgen naive.
For me, it breaks down to math. While I’d rather roll around in a pile of rusty nails than take another math class, math comes in handy, at least in this case.
The general consensus is that about 10 percent of the population is homosexual. There are studies that quote numbers both higher and lower than that; a new Gallup poll showed those numbers as low as 3.5 percent nationally. We’ll go with the higher 10 percent, since that percentage has been around longer and also works to the advantage of our friends lamenting how every good guy is gay.
If 10 percent of the population is homosexual, that leaves 5 percent gay men and 5 percent lesbians. That’s an assumption to contrast the 45 percent of the rest of the population who are straight men and 45 percent who are straight women. When you assume that 5 percent of Americans are gay men, I could see someone thinking “Well, that’s not too bad.” I could see myself thinking that as well, if all those men were actually quality guys.
From that 5 percent, let’s weed out the undesirables. First off, let’s drop the guys that are likely to stuff you in a trunk at the end of the date. They’re probably the ones you most want to get away from anyway.
I can think of an example right off the top of my head: I went on a date last year where the guy told me a story about dumping bleach into his roommate’s exotic fish tank because he was angry at her. He could have worn a sign that said “serial killer” and gotten the message across just as well. Going on a date with anyone with creeper eyes is kind of a death wish. I’m actually going to give that group of guys 0 percentage points, since (hopefully) that’s relatively rare in the dating scene. So we’re still at 5 percent.
Next, let’s weed out the ones likely to rob you blind: those with a criminal history. Most of us view a few types of crimes as pretty lightweight. I don’t think jaywalking, going a few miles over the speed limit or downloading music are particularly egregious acts. Who hasn’t tapped into an unsecured Wi-Fi signal that an unwitting neighbor has left open? They’re almost begging to share it!
But for the more serious crimes, having a record can be a major thing. Do you want to date someone who clears out all of your electronics when you doze off? NPR states 1 in 5 people have a criminal record. That’s 20 percent of the population! So with our 5 percent start, taking off the serial killers and adding in the criminals, we’re down to 4 percent of the population.
Next, let’s weed out the people who aren’t single. According to the U.S. Census, 44 percent of Americans are unmarried. That’s a bit misleading, since same-sex couples can’t get married in a lot of states, which skews those numbers. Cutting out about 40 percent of people who have entered a relationship, our original 5 percent is now down to 3 percent. Here’s where the math gets sticky. Since the serial killers, criminals and people in coupledom aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, the waters are murky. A lot of people are now off the market. We’re below 3 percent of the population!
Now add in personal preferences. You’re not attracted to every single person of a certain sex that crosses your path; there’s just a certain subset that you find attractive. Of those people that you’re attracted to, who has the other qualities you want in a significant other? There’s a whole plethora of things we consider when choosing to date someone: education level, career status, income, temperament, hobbies, drug use, smoking, fitness, their circle of friends—the list goes on.
Seeing that you’re looking at a population that is nine times smaller than the heterosexual man pool right out of the gate, you can see the numbers don’t add up. After you cut out the beady-eyed creepers, criminals and people in relationships, then take into account personal preferences, you’re probably down to tenths of a percentage point.
When a girl laments, “All the good ones are gay,” they’re not taking into account that the math is completely against that statement. Unless they’re saying that gay men are, by definition, better, the facts don’t add up. Although, if they are saying we’re inherently superior, I might just have to jump on the bandwagon and agree with the girls: Maybe all the good ones are gay!