top of page

Dating Experiment

Let's talk about something I'm an expert at: dating!

Okay, maybe not. But I was thinking back to a cool social experiment I did in class once and wanted to talk about it.

The class was Evolutionary Psychology. Basically, the class was all about human behavior today and explaining them through similar evolutionary practices that we did way back in hunter/gatherer times. I loved this class! I don't know how much of it I believed that could be chalked up to "Because when we were cavemen we did this because it's necessary to survive and procreate", but it definitely opened my eyes to those possibilities. I like to think of humanity as a complicated enigma, and this seemed too easy for me to accept.

Anyways, in that class we did a social experiment about finding a mate. The professor taped a card to our forehead with a number between 1 and 10 (for simplicity's sake and poor memory, I'll say that we had 10 people. The number I have in this story is similar to what I actually had, relative to the number of people in our class, which wasn't much higher.).

We couldn't see our number, and our number represented our attractiveness and status. The goal was to find a mate with the highest number, so everyone wanted the 10 and no one wanted the 1. But no one knew if they were the 1 or the 10; they would have to estimate their own number based on the number of people who approach them.

As soon as I got my number, time stopped and a million voices of anxiety began to yell at me:

"This is real life. It's not an experiment to you, it's symbolic of your future."

"You don't know a goddamn thing about dating! What the hell do you expect to say!?"

"Well, maybe we should set our goals to getting a mate and not be the village hermit."

"You definitely have 1. Typical. Your best bet is just to go straight to 2, and you at least married up."

"You definitely have 10. Typical. How the hell am I supposed to deal with everyone clamoring at me!?"

"Wait, I can't be 1 and 10! Maybe he'll need someone to sit out for even teams?"

"Oh my God! What if this turns into the story of 'Dad, how did you meet mommy?'"

"I should've ditched class today!"

"Help me, Mommy!"

And then the professor told us to start "mingling".

It would've been easy to figure out what number I had by elimination, but I was too stressed. Besides, a tenth of those million thoughts told me that this was real, so I didn't want to disappoint myself by knowing my own number.

I looked around and saw the low numbers talking to the high numbers thinking "Pfft! they don't have a chance!"

I slowly inched my way to number 9 who wasn't talking to anyone for whatever reason, and she looked at me, or my forehead rather, and didn't seem disinterested.

Seeing that she is number 9 and I know there's no way I'm a higher number than her, I remembered that she didn't know she was 9.

I approached her the only way I knew how:

I shrugged. "Eh?"


She said yes! She said yes! I asked her to marry me and she said yes! Take that, inner thoughts! I'll be all right in the real scenario! Wow! Who knew primitive culture was so complex?

When it was time to reveal the numbers we had, I had 8 and she had 9. Haha, I married up! And that means 10 got stuck with 7 or lower!

I thought this experiment was really helpful in understanding class and stature. Most people coupled with their neighboring number, but there were some upsets too.

Thinking back to this experiment, I figured out some strategies if I didn't get such a high number. Like, I would've told number 10 that she was actually number 4 or something and convince her that she is marrying up. It would win the game, but being a metaphor for reality, I would never do that in real life. But it would work. Is that what people actually do?

And what about the 4's who act like 10's? We all know they're 4 but they don't believe anyone. Who are they fooling? Unless they're in denial.

I guess in reality no one is given a set number and nobody can see it, just an approximation.

No wonder 9 wasn't being approached by suitors, she was so high she intimidated everyone. She looked at my high number and thought, "not too bad". As far as I'm concerned, I think that's my best chance in life.

Man, this self-worth thing is hard to get used to!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Follow Me
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
bottom of page