The Lottery and The “Numbers” Argument

This is it! This is the one! I can feel it!

I despise the lottery. No wait, I don’t despise the lottery. I despise the people who throw money away on Lotto tickets. My aunt, bless her heart, ALWAYS plays and I ALWAYS judge her (don’t worry, I do it to her face). A dollar here, five dollars there. All for the unlikely chance of winning the big one.

“You never know. I could win it. And then what would you say?”

“I’d tell you to wake the hell up cause you’re dreaming again.”

It has always seemed like a big waste of money to me because the odds are clear as day. I’ve got a better chance of making that kind of money by becoming a prostitute in Antarctica (true story). All of this comes back to the fact that I’m a pretty risk-averse person when it comes to certain areas of my life, including my money. (Being risk-averse is not being cheap or stingy. Some people confuse the two.) I don’t do high-risk, high-reward. I’d rather go for the more certain outcome, even if it seems less rewarding. It’s a positive trait at times and a negative one at times. I’m working on taking more risks in certain areas in my life though. Getting in my own way is not the business.

In other news, why are some women so eager to dangle on the metaphorical sack of this “numbers” argument? Yes, the raw number of “eligible” black men vs. “eligible” black women is in favor of the guys, but I’m not so convinced that it significantly increases our chance of finding someone to settle down with. I can understand the argument that it helps because men have more options to choose from. However, having more options doesn’t necessarily translate into a greater probability of a long-term relationship.

Let me put it this way: the people who play the Powerball and always play one ticket every now and then have a lower chance of winning a prize than the people who play multiple tickets frequently. However, the truth is that the odds of winning the Powerball grand prize are in the ballpark of 1 in 200 million. With odds like that, buying more tickets to increase your chances of winning would be a proverbial drop in the ocean. Sure, having more options gives men a better chance at having sex, getting a date, or even finding a girlfriend (i.e. one of the smaller prizes) because the odds of getting those things are already decent. However, the “numbers” argument doesn’t hold a lot of water when you understand how inconsequential it is to a person’s overall chances of finding someone they want to settle down with (i.e. winning the jackpot), especially when considering all the other factors involved.

And for anyone who’s thinking about rebutting what I said:

-TDA

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16 thoughts on “The Lottery and The “Numbers” Argument

  1. You’re quite obviously using some kinda scientific trickery and snake oil salesman talk to confuse me into finding logic in your argument…I’m not happy about it, but you SEEM to make sense. Maybe after sleep I’ll have a more cogent rebuttal…

    Also, that picture makes me wanna get in my car, drive to Pittsburgh and punch you in your effin face as erupting in laughter further distracted me from forming a counterpoint.

    One more thing, while reading “TDA” at the end of the post jumped of the screen as “TAW-DUH!” ala magicians at the end of their ILLUSION.

    I’m so confused, scared and cold…
    *rocks in a corner*

    • Ok, I’ve slept on it and while you make a great argument about the severity of the advantage being blown out of proportion; if they were giving out freebies at the job and all the women were given a lotto ticket, and all men were given 15 lotto tickets, even though odds are none of us would win the jackpot, yes I’d still be Salt Disney up in that bish.

      And please don’t underestimate the “smaller” prizes: quality chex, decent dates, and a couple meaningful relationships that didn’t go the distance sound pretty good to me .

      So put that on your feet and pedal it. 😉

      • “And please don’t underestimate the “smaller” prizes”

        You’re right. I didn’t want to underestimate the “smaller” prizes, but just point out that they’re more affected by the numbers. Men are definitely winning there.

      • And please don’t underestimate the “smaller” prizes: quality chex, decent dates, and a couple meaningful relationships that didn’t go the distance sound pretty good to me .

        i think this is pretty significant too.

        though, i do recognize that men and women value different things when it comes to dating. a meaningful relationship to us women may be different from a meaningful relationship to men.

    • “Also, that picture makes me wanna get in my car, drive to Pittsburgh and punch you in your effin face”

      If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that…

      “One more thing, while reading “TDA” at the end of the post jumped of the screen as “TAW-DUH!” ala magicians at the end of their ILLUSION.”

      LMAO I’m glad you made the distinction that they do illusions and not tricks. 😉

  2. THAT CLOSING ARGUMENT PICTURE DOE.

    Anyway. This is actually a good argument. I think it’s more ratio, though. Like that Single Ladies show on Vh1 (that’s gonna be terrible of course) said that there’s what… 7 or 8 guys for every one chick in Atlanta? I mean, in general, anyone is going to believe that a guy with 8 choices of women is gonna have a better chance at finding something substantial than the 8 women vying for the one guy.

    But as far as mass numbers, folks tend to exaggerate (which, Champ touched on at VSB. I KNOW ya’ll know each other so um… what that about?! *wink*) and dramatize. This was a great post. Makes ya go hmmmmm.

    • Yeah, I’m not refuting that men have a better chance, but I just think it’s exaggerated.

      “But as far as mass numbers, folks tend to exaggerate (which, Champ touched on at VSB. I KNOW ya’ll know each other so um… what that about?! *wink*) and dramatize.”

      LOL I actually started thinking about this because of something Champ and I were talking about. Oh, and just because he touched on it before, that means I can’t? I don’t see his name written on it! Hmph.

      • “Oh, and just because he touched on it before, that means I can’t? I don’t see his name written on it! Hmph.”

        That’s exactly right. He’s a Champ… you’re a damn African.

  3. “having more options doesn’t necessarily translate into a greater probability of a long-term relationship.”

    Maybe not, but why is it so hard for people? I mean what does a woman have to have to be “the one.” There doesn’t need to be this long list. I think the list is what messes folks up. Are brothers looking for the same “chemistry” that sisters are looking for. I think folks are confused as to how chemistry actually works and as a result never give it a chance to develop. That topic may be for a different post.

    I’m not sure the lottery analogy works here because everyone is playing the lottery giving everyone the SAME probability to win. With dating, there is a shift. Black men will date any race, whereas most black woman are waiting for that strong, educated, financially secure brother to swoop in and wife them up. Still the probability of you finding a life partner is better than for the average black woman. I say all this to say, while I am not a big believer in the numbers argument, brothers are still winning.

    • “Are brothers looking for the same “chemistry” that sisters are looking for.”

      That’s a great question. How chemistry works is definitely something that I don’t feel I have a great grasp on.

      And by all means, the lottery analogy isn’t perfect. I realized as much when I used it. But I thought it was the best illustration for my point that there are a number of different things that affect someone’s chances of being in a long-term relationship, least of which are the raw numbers of men and women.

      “I say all this to say, while I am not a big believer in the numbers argument, brothers are still winning.”

      Agreed.

  4. Great Post. I agree with Ivy St. The odds that for the lottery are the same for everyone where as the odds for finding a significant other are different based on the person looking.

    I loathe when someone says that there is a 8:1 black women to black men because it may be true in theory, but its not a “law”. Look at it this way, probably more than half of those women don’t have a core ideal and/or phyiscal feature that you would be looking for or vice versa. Then maybe one of those females aren’t looking for a relationship right now. So now you have 3:1(which isn’t bad)

    In all honest, I don’t need 8 different females to choose from, I can only date and be in a relationship with one.

  5. hmmm while you’re totally speaking my language talking about risk averse, i dont know if i completely buy this argument.

    though the odds in playing the lotto aren’t favorable, but thats because theres only ONE prize so only ONE wins (in theory). but EVERYONE can play since there is no shortage of lotto tickets. this doesnt match up with male-female relationships–where multiple people can “win” (2 at a time, in theory) but there is a limit on available “players”. if all men settled down with a woman, there would still be women left over. so all women arent going to get what they want.

    so do the outnumbered men have more options and chances at finding Mrs. Right than the outnumbering women do finding Mr. Right? yes. does this mean the process of dating is EASIER for men as a result? not necessarily.

    the numbers that are a mystery? how many men on average does a woman date before she settles down? and how many women does a man date before he settles down?

    and then of course there are all sorts of other qualitative data that are missing.

    in the end, i think relationships are more than numbers and probabilities. and any person thinking their dating woes are a result of such is in denial.

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