I don’t consider myself to have a “type.” Demographically, I could see myself dating anyone between the ages of 25 and 40 who isn’t already married, earns at least $45,000 a year (not too unreasonable for New York City, I think) and is 5-foot-8 or taller. No racial or weight preferences. But according to something called the “Female Delusion Calculator,” my odds of finding a man who fits this profile are only 13.6 percent.
Should I dare to be more selective, wanting someone who’s at least 6-feet tall and makes $75,000 a year or more (but otherwise meets the same criteria above), my chances fall to a depressingly slim 1.6 percent. This figure is also paired with an insult: Thanks to such statistical improbability, the calculator gives me a “delusion score” of four out of five bags of cat litter and the unfortunate title of “Cat Enthusiast.”
Fortunately, I’m neither single nor a cat owner. Nevertheless, the calculator is evidence of the obsession some men have with the belief that women’s standards are far too high. The data is sourced from the census and surveys from the National Center for Health Statistics. As the “About” section for the online calculator reads, it was created by a man in “North America” who “couldn’t help noticing that women often have unrealistic expectations about the man they are looking for. Below-average women expect their high-quality men to stick around. They don’t realize these guys are in high demand.”
In other words, it was created by a guy who was tired of being turned down by women he deemed “below average,” and felt scorned enough to take the time to design an entire web tool about it. Really makes you wonder why women didn’t wanna date this dude.
When the tool was first introduced in July on Twitter, a few dozen men rallied around it as a valuable way of showing us gals how gosh darn stupid we are for not wanting to date them. Many also asked that further features be added, like IQ or whether a guy already has children. “You should add a slide for the size a guy’s packing in his pants,” a dude who probably has a humiliation fetish wrote. “That would make it even more hilarious.”
I had some of my female friends mess around with the calculator, many of whom were awarded similar titles like “Aspiring Cat Lady.” One friend put in the details of her own husband and got a score of 0.12 percent. Another kept her expectations wide, stating she’d be fine with anyone over 5-foot-7 who makes $45,000 or more a year, and who’s between the ages of 26 and 45. Even then, she only scored 15 percent. The only way a third girl could manage to get the calculator to tell her she was “easy to please” is when she listed her only qualification as being at least 5-foot-8.
As many of my friends and the people discussing the calculator on places like r/PurplePillDebate and the women’s-oriented forum Lipstick Alley have pointed out, it’s really the calculator that seems more delusional than anything else. For example, you could open up the parameters of the search to include any man above the age of 18, and have the only caveat be that he isn’t already married. In that scenario, the calculator spits out a statistical probability of 45.5 percent, and two out of five bags of cat litter. In other words, you’re still kinda delusional if your only standards are that your mate be a single adult.
Even so, the calculator has become a sort of rebuttal for men to use in situations where they think a woman’s standards are too high. “Good luck,” they’ll say, linking out to the site in a reply to a woman’s tweet.
Understandably, most women scoff at guys like that. “Men who whip out the Female Delusion Calculator act like it’s an indictment of women, when in fact, it’s an indictment of men for being generally low quality and not meeting women’s perfectly reasonable standards,” says Lilith, host of the Female Dating Strategy podcast. Female Dating Strategy is a subreddit where the polarizing dynamics of dating and gender are often pushed to extremes.
“It’s normal for women to want a man who earns the same or more than them,” she continues. “For instance, if she wants to have a child someday and needs to take a year or two off for pregnancy and nursing, a lower-income man wouldn’t be able to financially support her.” And considering that child rearing is something many people consider socially compulsory, it’s not exactly “delusional” to want to be in a relationship that can accommodate that. “At the end, it gave me a delusion score of three out of five, an Aspiring Cat Lady,” says Lilith. “Cats are awesome, and it’s an indictment of men that their company is less valuable than a literal animal.”
What this calculator seems to really disregard is, well, reality. It’s not as though real-life dating requires a woman to sift through the entire male population when seeking a partner. Likewise, dating apps, despite what the calculator seems to suggest, aren’t equally filled with married men over 45 as they are single men in their 20s and 30s. The calculator also has a mechanical flaw: The age range portion is entirely arbitrary. When you remove all specifications except a specific age range, you’re told you have a 100 percent chance of meeting someone within that age range. Therefore, the calculator isn’t meant to tell you what portion of the male population fits that age demographic, but what portion of that age demographic fits your other standards.
So ultimately, the calculator disregards the very nature by which people meet, or how dating pools of single people interact regardless of age, race, income or height. Despite the calculator telling me I have a 45-percent chance of encountering a man who isn’t married (in what context, exactly? I don’t know), it’s not normal to want to date one out of every two men you see in the world. The same goes for men. I’m quite certain they don’t want to date women at that rate, either — no matter the cultural idea that men will fuck anything that moves.
Most importantly, though, it’s not things like precise height or income that determines whether someone is a worthy partner. “Most women look for more than that, such as a man who respects women and treats her well,” says Lilith. “For the men who don’t meet women’s physical standards, it would behoove them if they unlearned their misogyny and started treating women better. Instead, the sort of men who share this calculator seem to be going in the complete opposite direction, and are doubling down on their hatred of women.”
While I might put a preference for 6-feet-tall men into the calculator, the truth is, I prioritize personality above all else. Something like that isn’t exactly quantifiable, but I do know this: If he’s sending me the Female Delusion Calculator, I’m certainly not interested.