Higher utility + fulfilling my ideal “type” mold = perfect potential boyfriend?

August 9, 2007 at 4:05 pm 1 comment

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin recently came out with a list of 237 reasons we have sex.

It made me think about two things. Are there actually 237 ways to say “I was just horny”? Are there actually people who are able to categorically delineate 237 reasons to begin with?

And that’s when I realized these researchers do what we all do – overanalyze our relationships.

I, for one, characterize and classify all of mine. I have specific journal entries charting what type of men I’m most attracted to.

I once kept track of if I got more action with my hair curly or straight. There was even an accompanying graph. I constantly, scientifically, dissect every call, text and Facebook Wall post from prospective men.

In general, I approach my love life like a science fair project, complete with a unique taxonomy of its own.

My periodic table of men would look something like this:

Mercury, which is toxic to humans in large doses, would be the barfly I enjoy despite the fact that he’s horrible for me.

Carbon, the most essential element for life, would be the guy I completely like but unfortunately cannot be with.

Sexually there’s a clear ranking:

Gold would be the bartender I have phenomenal sex with but would never consider dating.

Silver would go to the older man with whom I learned a lot about sex.

Bronze is the frat guy for whom I have always had a weird, undying passion.

Helium is stable, non-reactive and, to generalize, fairly commonplace. This is the guy who really likes me, but I’m on the fence about him. Neodymium, a somewhat useless earth metal with a cool name, is the dude I call when I’m desperate.

Now consider that each of these man elements fulfills a need for me. For scientific purposes we’ll call it their utility. And you thought you’d never be able to apply those econ principles practically!

There are the men who do it for me physically, those who fulfill an emotional need and those who raise my self-esteem.

Add into the equation that I probably won’t talk to a guy under six feet, I prefer shaggy hair (I like to be able to hold onto something), and for some reason that totally eludes me, I tend to pick thinner men. Most importantly, guys have to make me laugh.

Those man elements with a higher prospective utility combined with a greater frequency of fitting into my “type” mold should theoretically make for perfect potential mates.

I know, I’m crazy.

But I’m not alone. Amazon.com lists 161,852 books about dating approaches and advice. You get matched on 29 scientifically proven dimensions of compatibility at eHarmony.com.

Scientists spend hours and billions of dollars identifying the hormones in the brain that contribute to romantic love and sexual attraction.

Here’s the irony: My life tends to go to pieces when I overanalyze things, whether it’s my relationships, my schoolwork, even this column, though let’s hope not this week.

More telling, I’m still single. So besides being funny fodder for my column, what use are all these hypotheses and formulas except to keep me from meeting someone whose qualities and values don’t neatly wrap up in a package in my mind?

Perhaps the secrets of the mating game defy academia? Maybe if I stopped charting and predicting and simply went with the flow, I would find Mr. Right – or at least Mr. Right Now.

But then again, what else would I do with my free time – actually study?

The point: living in a hypothetical reality only distracts you from the real world filled with real people. Overanalyzing never gets you anywhere. Instead, we should just sit back and let nature run its course. Perhaps what’s beautiful about science is that it continually suggests that all this chaos can’t be meaningless – things, and more pertinently relationships, ultimately play out for a reason. Just enjoy the ride.


Entry filed under: being single, college, columns, dating, opinion piece, relationships, sex.

dating game requires strength and maturity why do we have sex?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Courtney Watson  |  August 9, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Excellent post. I am quite the overanalyzer, also. Tip: once you stop overanalyzing your relationship(s), you move onto analyzing something else. Yikes.

    Now I just cross my fingers and hope for the best.


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