Marry Mr. Goodenough!

We need more data to justify the hypothesis (and we can’t do anything better in the age of data deluge than to believe in the power of collecting and processing data, but I can already hear the critical voices protesting) that people living in long-term relationships are happier than the singletons.
In any case, in her provocative bestseller Mr Good Enough: The case for choosing a Real
Man over holding out for Mr Perfect, Lori Gottlieb argues that marrying a guy that satisfices is better than to waiting forever for Mr. Right. She believes that it is not a good idea to have unreasonably high expectations about the features of one’s dream guy. It is not difficult to prepare a fixed list of several dozen characteristics you may be seeking, from hobbies to eye color. To make things more difficult, even when we have a list, the importance of the elements are not the same. What has more weight for you, a sense of humor or financial stability? (My choice is the first, but this is for a different story.)
Maximizers have a fixed list, and they are probably able to assign specific weights to the
individual features of their dream guy. They are also able to rate the real world candidates as well. If the features of two objects (or subjects) are compared, the question is whether or not they are “sufficiently close” to each other. By adopting a somewhat more technical terminology the question is whether or not the deviation is smaller or larger than a predefined threshold. If it is smaller, the real world candidate is “good enough.” The advice is that at a certain age, it is worthwhile to increase the threshold, so that you may let pass and marry Mr. Goodenough!

4 thoughts on “Marry Mr. Goodenough!”

  1. To put it another way, she has to choose between Mr Boring, who earns enough and keeps his eyes on her children, and Mr Exciting, who is daring, humorous, but is less interested in everyday problems.

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  2. Closely related is this well known math riddle. The sultan is about to choose a wife. The rule is that 100 candidates will pass and the one he likes best can be selected. The catch is that (much as in real life) you cannot go back to candidates who already left. You are the sultan, so what do you do? Allegedly there is a numerical solution that also reflect common sense. Common sense dictates let’s see a few, so you must let a few go (despite the fact that Ms Right can be among them.) Then after you get an idea of the pool, select the next good one.

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