## "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

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sourmìlk
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### "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

The problem is that both the equation "y = x", which just maps age over time, and "y = x / 2 + 7", the dating-range formula, are each linear, an so at a certain point the lines grow unrealistically far apart, like where a 60 year old can date a 37 year old.

When thinking about it, I figured what you'd want is some kind of curve that had an asymptote parallel to y = x, that way ages wouldn't become unrealistically far apart.

I came up with this:

Code: Select all

y = sqrt(x^2 + 1000) - 20

The distance between y = x and the asymptote is about 10 years, meaning a 40 year old can date a 33 year old, but a 50 year old can only date a 40 year old. I think this works. If you have an improvement, please share!
Last edited by sourmìlk on Fri May 07, 2010 7:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

What's wrong with a 60 year old dating a 37 year old?

I mean, I agree that the forumla is flawed, but I disagree on where the flaws start. I think the flaws start well out of what normal human lifespan is.. like, around 150 or so. If someone who's 110 wants to date someone who's 62, I'm sure as fuck not going to stop them. People who've reached 110 can pretty much do whatever the fuck they want, provided they aren't breaking any laws outside of drug ones. If someone 110 wants to continue doing coke every day, I'm not going to stop it. The shock'll probably kill'em.
Last edited by SecondTalon on Fri May 07, 2010 5:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Yeah, it's flawed, but not in the way you think.

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

I don't have a problem with a 50 year old dating a 32 year old. But then i also don't have a problem with a 50 year old dating a 20 year old, so maybe my view is just skewed in general. :-/
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

The formula is about "creepiness". As in, determining if the older party is acting in a potentially predatory manor based on the naivety of the younger. So the fact that the range gets pretty large starting somewhere around is based on people past their mid-30s having enough life under their belt to make good decisions for themselves.

Now there may need to be a secondary function for those marrying the geriatric for inheritance purposes, but I don't think that's a factor in the 1/2 + 7 formula.

And I also like that the current formula does work at the bottom edge of the range where anything that is actually "dating" typically starts; basically "13 is too young, and 14-15 should keep more or less in their grade level."
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

the (age/2)+7 rule isn't ideal, personally I'd suggest using it until the holder of attribute=age is 22, after which the simpler rule of "over 18's only" kicks in.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Spambot5546 wrote:I don't have a problem with a 50 year old dating a 32 year old. But then i also don't have a problem with a 50 year old dating a 20 year old, so maybe my view is just skewed in general. :-/

My problem with a 50 year old dating a 20 year old is then they're competing with me for the attractive ladies in my age group.
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Kewangji
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Solution: Not to see people as prizes you compete for?

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

SecondTalon wrote:What's wrong with a 60 year old dating a 37 year old?

I mean, I agree that the forumla is flawed, but I disagree on where the flaws start. I think the flaws start well out of what normal human lifespan is.. like, around 150 or so. If someone who's 110 wants to date someone who's 62, I'm sure as fuck not going to stop them. People who've reached 110 can pretty much do whatever the fuck they want, provided they aren't breaking any laws outside of drug ones. If someone 110 wants to continue doing coke every day, I'm not going to stop it. The shock'll probably kill'em.

Ahem...
his second wife, Simone Rethel (born 1949),

As he was born in 1903 himself, that's a 46 year age difference.

O well, as long as they're happy together I'm perfectly ok with it.

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Kewangji wrote:Solution: Not to see people as prizes you compete for?

This.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Aaeriele wrote:This.

Yay! Do I win someonething?

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Sadly, no. Because you have achieved, against all possible odds, the mindset of a normal rational human being. You haven't done anything worthy of a prize.

To reiterate something said by a certain banned person :

It's like "I could've raped my girlfriend, but I didn't! That makes me a nice person! Moneyzplz!"

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sourmìlk
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

This is about creepiness factor. For me, at least, dating 10 years past your age is a little bit odd. with some adjustments I could change it so that it asymptotes at 15 or so, but w/e
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

ID: I, uhm, think your definition of normal is wrong. That mindset is definitely not the norm.

EDIT: Oh wait. Nevermind, I'm bad at grammar!

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sje46
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

So this is kinda unclear to me...do all of you saying "what's wrong with a 120 year old dating a 40 year old?" or whatever think it's not creepy for a, say, 65 year old to date an 18 year old (or whatever you think the age of consent is, whether 16 or 22)? Keep in mind that this formula is to find creepiness, not legality. As long as it's not illegal, it's not creepy for anyone to date anyone?

Please keep in mind that I'm not putting forward a point of view or attacking anyone's elses. I'm just asking if creepiness is irrelevant to the age, as long as it's past the age of consent.

EDIT: or, perhaps, does the age of consent (not legal) go up as the age of the partner goes up? Most people already seem to agree that it's alright for a 16 year old to date a 15 year old, but no one will agree it's alright for a 40 year old to date a 15 year old.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

sourmìlk wrote:For me, at least, dating 10 years past your age is a little bit odd.

Now I might be wrong, but I'd guess that you haven't yet reached an age where the "age/2 + 7" formula suggests that it's okay to date 10 years past your age. This might go some way to explaining your reluctance.
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sourmìlk
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Goldstein wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:For me, at least, dating 10 years past your age is a little bit odd.

Now I might be wrong, but I'd guess that you haven't yet reached an age where the "age/2 + 7" formula suggests that it's okay to date 10 years past your age. This might go some way to explaining your reluctance.

Definitely, but even with older married couples it seems quite a difference. Most I've come across are about 4 years apart, not 10.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

I know a first order approximation gone awry when I see one.

Try 7 + x/2 + x^2/750

A 20-year old can still date a 17-year old, but moves a 60 year old up to 42
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

So here's the thing. After you're past the age of about 25 or 30, honestly I think you know better than some formula what is or is not a good idea.

It makes sense for society to frown on a 36 year old dating an 18 year old, because the 18 year old will likely not have had enough life experience yet to know whether or not they're being taken advantage of, etc, etc. For a 72 year old to date a 36 year old? Well uh. No one's getting into anything they should be unfamiliar with.

And man, if someone is really attractive enough, mentally and physically (I'm guessing emotionally they're likely doing pretty well) at 72 to end up in a relationship with a 36 year old, I'm kind of thinking, "hey, good for them," more so than "oh, that poor 36 year old."
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

You, sir, name? wrote:I know a first order approximation gone awry when I see one.

Try 7 + x/2 + x^2/750

A 20-year old can still date a 17-year old, but moves a 60 year old up to 42

So it's always wrong for people over 360 to date? Ageist.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Goldstein wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:I know a first order approximation gone awry when I see one.

Try 7 + x/2 + x^2/750

A 20-year old can still date a 17-year old, but moves a 60 year old up to 42

So it's always wrong for people over 360 to date? Ageist.

Above a certain age, higher order approximation is required to adequately describe dating age.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Yeah, that's what they always say.
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sourmìlk
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

You, sir, name? wrote:I know a first order approximation gone awry when I see one.

Try 7 + x/2 + x^2/750

A 20-year old can still date a 17-year old, but moves a 60 year old up to 42

A parabola? I think we need something asymptotic, which will be at least close to y=x
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Sandry wrote:So here's the thing. After you're past the age of about 25 or 30, honestly I think you know better than some formula what is or is not a good idea.

It makes sense for society to frown on a 36 year old dating an 18 year old, because the 18 year old will likely not have had enough life experience yet to know whether or not they're being taken advantage of, etc, etc. For a 72 year old to date a 36 year old? Well uh. No one's getting into anything they should be unfamiliar with.

And man, if someone is really attractive enough, mentally and physically (I'm guessing emotionally they're likely doing pretty well) at 72 to end up in a relationship with a 36 year old, I'm kind of thinking, "hey, good for them," more so than "oh, that poor 36 year old."

Pretty much my take on it.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

sourmìlk wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:I know a first order approximation gone awry when I see one.

Try 7 + x/2 + x^2/750

A 20-year old can still date a 17-year old, but moves a 60 year old up to 42

A parabola? I think we need something asymptotic, which will be at least close to y=x

Why? It doesn't matter if it diverges horribly for age -> \infty, as most people are dead long before 100.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

This is what is wrong with this fora. Putting an equation as a guideline for creepiness and then primarily be concerned with that the equation is flawed *in a strict, mathematical sense( , not that there are other - harder to measure - variables out there.

I don't think that it's universally right to assume that a 16 or 17 year old isn't old enough to date. More so I don't think that the age of the other party(/parties) are that relevant.
I see why there's a need for some sort of (legislative/social/whatever) barrier, and I see no better way to address the problem; but the point is that it doesn't work for everyone!

Don't feel bad general. Compared to /b/ you are almost flawless

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Jos wrote:This is what is wrong with this fora. Putting an equation as a guideline for creepiness and then primarily be concerned with that the equation is flawed *in a strict, mathematical sense( , not that there are other - harder to measure - variables out there.

That is true for almost any mathematical model of reality, though.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Yes, you have a point there. But what i find an issue here is that at least some of the people posting in this thread do not acknowledge that fact.

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Jos wrote:Yes, you have a point there. But what i find an issue here is that at least some of the people posting in this thread do not acknowledge that fact.

Dunno, if you work with mathematical models of reality often enough (i.e. if you are a physicist), and trust me, some are pretty dismal (yes, I'm talking to you, plasma physicists), you really stop worrying about the fact that the model isn't particularly good, or at least stop discussing it, and worry about it implicitly.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Jos wrote:but the point is that it doesn't work for everyone!
You appear to be under the impression anyonee has ever suggested it would. You've missed the point. This fora isn't about "hey guys let's discuss this concept, oh look it's only flaw is mathematical". It's more like "hey guys this equation attempts to approximate something observed in real life. Now, as a piece of maths, let's look at it mathematically, oh look it's maths seems to be flawed."
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

My point is that what I gather from this thread Moo's reasoning is far from universal; IE people are not looking at the problem firsthand and the mathematical implications secondly but ONLY on the mathematical implications.

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Sourmilk - I know couples with age gaps around 10 years, one of my sets of grandparents among them. I'm not old enough to experience it myself but from what I can tell, 10-20+ year age gaps don't seem remotely weird or creepy for people over the age of 40 or so. So far (I am only 25), I've found the 7+x/2 formula has been remarkably accurate, expanding at about the same rate as the age range of people I would intuitively consider dating. Obviously it is a gross generalisation, but still, it's a pretty good one.

Jos wrote:Don't feel bad general. Compared to /b/ you are almost flawless

Being referred to as 'general' irks me. Unlike /b/, who rejoice in being seen as a single homogeneous entity, I think the denizens of xkcd like to be seen as a collection of unique individuals. I certainly do.

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Jos wrote:My point is that what I gather from this thread Moo's reasoning is far from universal; IE people are not looking at the problem firsthand and the mathematical implications secondly but ONLY on the mathematical implications.

I believe people aren't "looking at the problem" here because this thread is about the "you can't date if they aren't *formula*" joke rather than a serious discussion on the dynamics of relationships where partners range in age.

Speaking of which, you've been quite vague about said problem. Don't assume we know what "the problem" is; I personally have no idea. I'd guess the social norms that look down upon relationships with a large age gap?

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Jos: this is a thread discussing an equation developed by Randall Munroe in one of his comics (or at least referenced, if he didn't make it himself), and is relevant to xkcd; where else would this discussion be? Have you seen anyone else in these use this formula, or take it seriously at all, besides this thread? Has anyone in LDR said "I'm a twenty two year old dating a a 17 year old" and anyone else responded "According to Munroe's Age-Romaticness Appropriate Scale you are a pedophile!" Nevermind the majority of people. No one is taking this formula seriously on this forum any place except, surprise, this one thread taking it seriously. Which is full of people saying this formula is a joke.

So, yeah....
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Sorry to bring this up again. I was trying to make a better rule and I got this:

lowest acceptable age of date = (3/4)yourage - 1 + 40/yourage

Does anybody have any comments on this equation?

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

It's not easily reversible, more difficult to quickly do in your head and has similar results to the age/2+7 rule.

So... what is the advantage, other than clearing 14 year olds to date 12 year olds?
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

SecondTalon wrote:It's not easily reversible, more difficult to quickly do in your head and has similar results to the age/2+7 rule.

So... what is the advantage, other than clearing 14 year olds to date 12 year olds?

If that's not important to you then I can only assume you are neither 14 nor 12.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

I also noted that if you're 90 you can date as low as 52 by the /2+7 rule, but only 66 by the new formula.

And I think that if a 90 year old can land a 52 year old, fuckin' let'em.
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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

Fair enough. Mostly it was just to let people date at younger than 14, because I'm not too much older than that myself and can assure you that 13 yr olds dating isn't creepy. The difficulty of calculation is a valid point though.

With the 90 yr old and the 52 yr old, we're not giving a formula for who we "let" people date, we're describing the point at which a relationship crosses the line from "normal" into weird, as viewed by society in general, and I'm sure most people I know would consider that totally weird.

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### Re: "age / 2 + 7" formula is flawed

TRJ wrote:I'm not too much older than that myself and can assure you that 13 yr olds dating isn't creepy.
How about eleven year olds going on dates? Creepy? (Well, that's not quite the right word, but unless I am misunderstanding what you mean by "date",
Spoiler:
a prearranged meeting of a couple, motivated by romantic or sexual attraction, to enjoy each other's company apart from other friends
there's a point somewhere around puberty where, at least in American society (which is what I'm familiar with), a "date" is not really an appropriate way to manage one's social life. Exactly where that "point" is depends on the difference between biological puberty, emotional/social readiness, and social norms, but 14 isn't a bad starting point for a broad brushstroke.

At that age, a more precise ("I'm thirteen and a half! ") formula runs into the same problem as resolving pixels.

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