Sunday, January 08, 2006

On Why the Best Ones are Always Taken

The handful of girls I have liked over the past few years all share one common characteristic - they were all in relationships at the time. Not one single one of them was single.

Being attracted to people who are already in a relationship with someone else is quite common indeed. We’ve all been there, done that. There is an obvious correlation between being in a relationship, and someone else being attracted to you. But the question is - which way does that correlation run? Does being in a relationship cause more people to be attracted to you? Or is it the opposite?

There are two main reasons for the correlation, one each in both directions.

Firstly, the very fact that someone appears attractive to you, implies that that person probably appears attractive to a fair number of other people too. Hence, it is quite likely that someone else has got to the target before you. By the same reasoning, someone you find less appealing, is just as likely to be single. Not too many other people want to be in a relationship with that person either.

Imagine a large pile of apples from which a group of people each pick up one apple for themselves. If you examine the pile at any point during the selection process, it is likely that you will find the apples that have currently been chosen to be superior to the ones still lying in the pile. The dating scene is similar. However, a person’s criteria for selecting a good partner is much less uniform than that for selecting good apples, and so you could expect to have a little more luck finding the perfect partner than grabbing the best apple.

Thus, in the first direction of the correlation, the fact that they are the best implies that they are taken.

There is, also, a second direction to the correlation. People, and women in particular, are more attracted to members of the opposite sex who are more in demand. Thus, a guy who already has a few girls in pursuit of him, is more likely to attract the attention of even more girls. Maybe it’s the challenge that appeals to us, or maybe the thought of competing for a more sought after prize. And if we are attracted to someone with a plethora of pursuers, you can imagine how much more we would be attracted to someone who’s already been bagged!

Seems unlikely? In retrospect, I believe there may be more to this theory than one might initially think. Looking back at the girls I’ve liked, I can now see that the fact that they were already in relationships did play a not-so-insignificant role in causing me to like them in the first place.

Thus, when viewed from this angle, the fact that they are already taken that implies that they are the best.

Which of these two contrasting correlations is true?

It’s the classic “chicken-and-egg” scenario, but I believe the answer is both. Both in their own ways combine to form a vicious cycle of “attraction implying unavailability” and “unavailability implying attraction”!


shreevardhini said...

i believe you ve hit upon the answer with your first co-relation: there's a reason you d be attracted to somebody,and that reason attracts many others to him/her too, and those others beat u to it.but i dont agree with the bit that being in a relationship increases your attractiveness, infact i think being single radiates this aura of mystery that is unparalleled by the former.

Anonymous said...

I think the first thoery holds good.
Try putting the second theory in case if that "someone" is married? for thot!

Arnold said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Arnold said...

shreevardhini - i'm not too sure about ur statement... i'm single, and i don't see any "aura of mystery", unparalleled or otherwise, radiating around me!