Back of the Class

I am very lucky: my high school class has an excellent archivist. So when there was a sudden and unexpected flurry of engagements this year, I was able to request the data.

Here’s what I wanted to know: how many of us are still single?

There were 66 students in my graduating high school class. Of those, 59 are married or engaged. For those who don’t care to reach for their calculator, that’s 89%. Which is to say, 10.6% are still single.

Well, we all know the 10% statistic. So, as a member of the 10% of my high school class, I think I can officially give up.

Yes, I know, it’s a statistic, not a rule. Of course it’s not a rule! I have a friend who is the last in her class still single. Although, granted, at a class size of 15, that may not be a significant variance from 10%. I don’t know – I haven’t got the time to figure it out.

It should probably be disheartening to think that I’m now a statistic. But the truth is, everyone’s a statistic. If you’re not in the 10% single then you’re in the 90% married. Honestly, what’s the difference? We can all be distilled into numbers one way or another.

So I kept adding columns to my spreadsheet. This time I was curious about rate of marriage. Is it sort of bell-shaped, or is there a tail? That’s really what set off my quest in the first place.

And so, I present to you, a case study of a Bais Yaakov High School, marriage rate, sample size 66.
Marriage Histogram

 

As you can see, there’s a slow start, as most of the sample was in Israel, and had a delayed start entering the marriage pool. But those who stayed in New York City lost no time at all in engaging themselves to the local male populace.

Once the Israel-seminarians returned, they too threw themselves into the marriage market, marrying an astonishing 18 of themselves off in the first year alone! This rapid rate of pairing slowed only marginally for the next two years, before dropping precipitously.  This may be due to the fact that a grand total of 71% of them were now paired off and busily reproducing themselves. The remaining 29% were slower and more circumspect. However, eventually another 20% of them also found a mate. These pairings were slower, more gradual, and illustrate undramatically on the histogram above.

You may be wondering: yes, there is a rapid marriage rate. But what about the divorce rate?

Well, I reassure you, the class currently stands at zero divorces, which is a rate of 0%.

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Thursday Link (early): Men Can’t Have It All Either

Never thought I’d be linking to Esquire, but thanks to O (and her sources) I am.

There’s lots of chatter about how women are 40% of household breadwinners (15% of those are married), and how they still can’t have it all, and never will have it all, etc.

But it takes a fearless magazine like Esquire to point out that men don’t have it all either… Truth is, I’m not exactly sure how this infograph shows that, but I love the graphics, so I’m linking to it anyway.

I also like the article attached to the infograph.

Flatlined

Some people took issue with graph three in the Top Ten Tuesday. I would like to take the opportunity to explain my reasoning.

I suppose, if I were permitted to suggest complicated graphs (Blobby wasn’t a fan), I would put in a spike for the first and second date. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I was quite convinced that I might marry the first guy I went out with. The idea was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Until I met him. Then I was just disappointed. I went to sleep thinking that if this was the guy I was fated to spend the rest of my life with, then fate was cruel indeed. But I’d give him another chance because what did I know? He might grow on me…

Thankfully, it was not my first date’s first date, and he ended the torment.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t get excited about each date. Not at the same wedding-planning level, but close enough. Oh, I act unconcerned enough. I roll my eyes when I hear the “this fellow really sounds like a match” from the parents, and I listen listlessly to what his neighbors and aunts have to say, and then shrug and say “Yeah, I’ll go out with him. Why not.”

But then while I’m applying lipstick I’m thinking, “His uncle said he was nice. You want a nice boy. This really is promising.”

To which my Second Thought retorts that they’re all nice, you can’t find a guy who isn’t nice, except for the ones who aren’t, but you only notice that nobody called them nice until after the date during which he failed to be nice.  And half the time the reason they call them nice is because they’re boring.

“But he dogsleds as a hobby. How cool is that? (No pun intended.) He could be interesting and nice. And it sounds like he might have a similar approach to things. He really could be the one.”

Second Thought rushes to wipe the hopeful smile off my face. You know how many guys you’ve gone out with interesting hobbies and maybe similar hashkafos? And how many of them turned out to have serious personality flaws that precluded your ever being able to get on together? Don’t get ahead of yourself. First meet the guy and then see if you still think he could be the one.

“But he’s in his final year in medical school in Memphis! Just think: if we date for three months and get engaged for three we can be married right after graduation! It’s perfect! This could really work out!”

Yeah yeah – you’ve been out with those too. All these perfect possible arrangements – guys with local apartments, guys with local jobs, guys with local schools or yeshivos, guys with matching graduation dates, guys with no graduation dates… notice how you’re not married yet? Just cuz it looks like a perfect arrangement to you, doesn’t mean God’s going to arrange it. So go pick out a necklace and stop being so optimistic. You know you’re just going to be disappointed.

That’s the dialog in my head on date night, more or less. So, I maintain – at least in my case – the same hopefulness is there, it’s just methodically squashed by a hyper-rational defense mechanism. Hence my flat line. If nobody else on the planet goes through that kind of self-dialog then I apologize for the graph. And I kinda feel sorry for you – especially the people who wanted to replace it with an inverse relationship. You do realize that eventually inverses go negative, right? I think you really want logarithmic. Blobby refused to do an inverse exponential, but technically, it’s probably closer to your reality…

PS: For the commenter who said she wished she was in on the conversation: you probably imagine us giggling over the phone late at night or something fun like that. It was more like us snipping at each other via IM. You didn’t miss anything.