Essential Shidduch Statistics: Net Value

The term “the shidduch market” makes some people think of cattle markets. A more genteel connotation would be the stock market. OK, it’s just as noisy and crowded, but it’s less smelly and all the men are wearing suits and ties.

I never realized how similar it was, though, until I stumbled across the dating page in the Jewish Press again. It holds the same horrifying fascination as car accidents and medieval torture methods, so I read it even though I know I shouldn’t have.

One columnist was saying that we approach marriage in a mercenary fashion not unlike they did in, well, medieval times. Everyone assigns themselves a net value based on the combination of their pedigree, their net worth, their appearance, etc, and then tries to marry someone with a similar to higher net value. This makes splendid sense. After all, who wants to “marry down” (a phrase that shouldn’t really exist in an egalitarian democratic society)?

So I decided to tally up my net value. I figured the equation would look something like this (thanks Eli for the graphic version):

Where f(a) stands for the function representing appearance, f(m) the function representing monetary worth, and f(f) representing the importance of one’s family. Personality style (f(p))will be given as a subscript of the sum, because it isn’t a value so much as a description.

i represents a series that runs from most external to most internal. For example, the first i in the appearance series would be physical appearance, the second i how well they dress in public, the third how well they choose accessories, the fourth how they dress in private, and so on until you reach things like positive self-perception, optimistic attitude, and genuine warmth toward strangers, which add an attractive glow to even the ugliest hags.

The range for f(m) will likewise series through inherited/liquid wealth, invested assets, business value, current incoming salary, projected incoming salary, and life insurance policy (which is about as internal as you can get, I think).

The range for f(f) is from a person’s extended family, eg: are they second cousins to a senator or posek or the owner of Chap a Nosh?; to their immediate relatives, (the offspring of a gadol, a millionaire, or divorced parents); to themselves (ba’al teshuva, ger, different color yarmulke than parents, etc.).

f(p) will just be a number assigned based on a personality test. There are a few personality systems out there, from the FFPI to the Enneagram; our experts are working on which one will best suit the needs of the orthodox community.

When properly summed, a person should end up with a net value ranging from 0x to 100x, which will make it really easy to compare and contrast the value of potential matches. The individual values for Ʃf(a)i and Ʃf(m)i and Ʃf(f)i should also be made available, in case someone is a gold-digger, bloodline snob, or trophy wife/husband seeker.

Along with one’s fat potential, I believe this will become a mainstay of the shidduch resume in the future.


27 thoughts on “Essential Shidduch Statistics: Net Value

  1. D’oh. Math ruins me once again. By my calculations, 2 of the three primary functions in this equation come out as negative and the last translates as “Can you believe this **** is really happening?” I really hope this equation doesn’t catch on.

  2. Ben – you’re hideous and in debt? 😛

    Not necessarily, Ez. If you’re rich and want someone gorgeous, then their monetary sum wouldn’t make a difference. Ditto in reverse for the beautiful pauper.

  3. Way too intelligent for me! My math level basically is at multiplication and division lol and I’m not embarrassed! They say it’s a different brain…and I believe it cuz I did well in all other subjects. Oh well, another post that went way over my head.

  4. bad4 –
    2 out of three – I also have really poor social skills but the debt equation is the “can you believe” because a. I’m in debt to get a degree with massive upside potential, but b. I’m well on my way to being a Grisham stereotype.
    On the other hand, I’m good with my hands

  5. Thanks for the pic, Eli.
    How would you have done it? I’m no expert at inventing equations and will graciously bow out to expertise.

  6. Mark Twain, in his short story “Fable,” wrote this: “The ass had not said anything as yet; he now began to throw doubts….He said that when it took a whole basketful of sesquipedalian adjectives to whoop up a thing of beauty, it was time for suspicion.” A paraphrase works here: if it takes a whole basketful of arithmetical functions to whoop up a shidduch, it is time for suspicion.

    Your plan, however, would get rid of any shadchanim who are “mathematically challenged,” thus thinning the ranks considerably.

  7. The equation leaves the impression-for those not math inclined-that there is equal weight to each function of looks yichus earning potential etc. For guys at least, there are different weights given to each potential function and the format should be adjusted accordingly for a more accurate portrayal of the real net value.

  8. Pingback: Shidduch Ahoy! « Bad for Shidduchim

  9. This is great though there are some mathmatical errors. This should be a continuous function and thus needs the squigly antiderivative not the greek E. Also wouldn’t you want multiple variables? I mean if beauty is Y money could be X and family could be Z then we’d use triple integration and no one would get married cause no one would know what the hell I’m talking about.

  10. sorry, i didn’t look carefully enough you do have a,m and f though it is unfair to sum them all over i (they’d move in tandem) they’d need separate sums.

  11. I see the non-math people automatically assume this is genius level math. It’s not, and it could be explained simply in words, but I guess you couldn’t resist the notation.

  12. Really this is an equation in progress. It’s not looking perfect – I’m hoping to improve it as I move through statistics class.

    Why resist notation? I explain it in words, I think.

  13. Im a slightly overweight baal teshuva with no money and a very average job. Now according to my calculations based on your equation, my average external to internal scoring on all variables is 128. Could that be correct? It sounds a little high to me. It could be that my sums are wrong and your equation is spot on though.

  14. ∫∫∫[f(a)+f(m)+f(f)]da dm df

    as someone that understand stats a whole lot better than shidduchim I’m proposing something more like this.

  15. Since when has making shidduchim been unmercenary? You expect me to believe that in Europe money, brilliance, or looks weren’t factors? Not only that, a man didn’t marry unless he had the means to support a family. So many girls were single because of financial lack.
    I have a quote for you. Don’t know who said it, so I’ll honor them anonymously: “What we call today a ‘shidduch crisis,’ ten years ago we called ‘bashert.'”

  16. “….and then tries to marry someone with a similar to higher net value”

    But if the other person is using the same system and they have a net value higher than you, they won’t want to go out with you!

    At equilibrium , people will only be able to find others willing to go out with them if they have equal net values.

  17. #23 (Anonymous) wrote:
    “I’m not understanding why your post from 2008 lists above the 2009 posts, never mind the maths involved.”

    I believe that the order on the main page is controlled by the date of the most recent comment. People chose to comment on these older posts after the latest post, so these show up above it.

  18. Pingback: Wednesday Repost: We <3 Shidduch Equations | Bad for Shidduchim

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