My Safety Girl
March 15, 2007
A guy goes to a bar. There are lots of women at this bar. He sorts them by appearance and approaches the woman who makes the top of his list. She says no. He chats up the second, third, fourth, and fifth woman on his unconscious sorted list. No, no, no, no. It’s getting late, failure hangs like a cloud around him, but he chats up the sixth woman on his list. Miraculously, she agrees to a date. Should the man feel disappointed that he was only able to get the 6th woman on his list? Should he settle for this consolation girl? Does the woman realize that she was not a Top 5 pick?
If a college applicant gets turned down by all his top choices and ends up at his safety school, he’s going to be disappointed. With women I have the same feeling. I know that I’m with this girl because (ideally) assortative matching pairs two sorted lists of men and women appropriately: guy #1 gets the hottest girl, guy #2 get the second girl, etc. I’m with my safety girl, and I have that same feeling of failure. I didn’t get into my top college pick, I didn’t get the girl I really wanted. How can anyone (except the guy #1) be happy in their relationship? I’ve noticed that people are exceptionally good at deluding themselves about their shortcomings and failures. I’d be a happier person if I were stupid.