Eager to see how Chicago’s demographics are working for me, I hit up Rob Paral and Associates, a Chicago-based consulting firm that specializes in the statistical study of human populations. His findings: According to 2009–2011 data from the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, my pool of datable men in Chicago is 43,439 (ages 35–44, single and college-educated). But if (like the Harvard guys) I’d find only 20 percent attractive, that reduces it to 8,688. In a city of 2.7 million.
And how many women am I competing with? Applying the same criteria, Paral found there are 50,386, which means for every 100 men, there are 116 women. Only a slight imbalance if all of these men are only seeking women their own age. Factor in women ages 25–34 and that’s an additional 89,852 women, which means for every 100 men, there are 323 women. Yes, I could level the playing field and also pursue men 25–34, but I’m not interested in dating down more than five years. I hit it off well with younger guys, but common ground and emotional maturity mean a lot to me in a partner. Plus, down the road, they may decide they want children after it’s too late for me.
So, now what? Are we single ladies supposed to get all Hunger Games on one another? Punch a girl in the ovaries if she’s about to hook the last eligible man? It’d make killer reality TV but, truthfully, there’s a great camaraderie among my single friends. When one of us gets a boyfriend (and it’s happening, in spite of all these stats), the rest of us are happy for her.