A Statistical look at the likelihood of an individual being able to go out with Britney Spears

A while ago, there was the usual scene at school. Someone had produced pictures of Britney Spears in several less-than-innocent postures, either from a magazine or the Internet, and a number of teenagers were eagerly looking around to check them out (no, we're studying them for, uh, comparitive Biology).

Then I mentioned, 'You know, she's only 17.' Predictably, the reply 'Wow, that means she's our age,' came back. Cue lots of dreaming about how we might be able to go out with Britney Spears. All thoughts of alleged cosmetic enhancement disappeared from our minds as we contemplated the pure mountains of kudos such a feat would generated.

Our dreaming was brought crashing down as someone pragmatically remarked 'OK, so if she can go out with any bloke in the world, why the hell would she go out with any of us?' The room exuded a sullen silence, and then we went our separate ways to our lessons.

Listening to the Britney Spears song 'Baby one more time' (it's just for my cultural anthropology lessons, no really) got me thinking. What are the chances of an average Joe of going out with Britney Spears? I decided to approach this problem mathematically.

For the sake of simplicity, let's say half the world's population are male. And we will also assume that Britney Spears is heterosexual (my, what an assumption, especially with that pair of <cough>). Furthermore, we will say that 20% of the world's male population is within her preferred age range. Finally, we'll say that she will probably want to go out with an American, Australian or British guy (now, let's be serious, do you really think she'd go out with a French kid? No, I didn't think so). Let's say that they make up, what, 5% of the world population.

6 billion is cut into 3 billion. 3 billion is cut into 600 million. 600 million is cut into 30 million.

We will then discount the percentage of the male population who wouldn't want to go out with Britney Spears. Perhaps that is 50%. I would also conjecture that a further 30% of those remaining would not qualify the strict criteria that would comprise the Britney Spears Boyfriend regimen (i.e. look half decent, have a basic understanding of body health and how to maintain it, have more than one brain cell - but not necessary any more than two).

30 million into 15 million. 15 million into 10.5 million.

Now, we have to be ruthless in our cutting down of the ten and a half million lucky guys out there. Probably 30% of those live in areas where she is unlikely to ever go (most of Scotland, most of Australia, most of the southern USA, all of Wales). Of those remaining, you would have to assume that around 60% would be otherwise engaged with another girlfriend when the critical moment of contact with Britney Spears supposedly occurs, and so wouldn't be able to go out with her. Poor deluded fools.

10.5 million into 7.35 million. 7.35 million into 2.94 million.

Should a guy still be in the running, you would have to assume that if Britney Spears appeared in a 'go-outable' situation (e.g. disco, pub, cinema), she would be mobbed. Thus, a guy would have to have 'the moves' to equip him with a decent chance of beating off the hordes.

OK, now we're assume that you, the average Joe, does have 'the moves'. If you do indeed possess them, your chances are vastly increased, for I would presume that 90% of those still in the running would be destroyed by the 10% of the guys with 'the moves'.

2.94 into a mere 294,000.

There can't be much cutting left to do. However. Britney Spears, to put it lightly, would be expected to 'get about a lot', and I'm expanding the definition of 'go out with her' to 'get off with her'. It's not the same, but the kudos certainly is. We will thus assume that Britney Spears might get off with, say, 100 separate men in her life.

294,000 into a miniscule 2940.

Incredible! From a possible 1 in 6 billion chance, we can now see that the average Joe on the street, whose age is roughly the same as her's, fancies her, lives in a metropolitan area, is sociable and possesses 'the moves' has a huge 1 in 2940 chance of getting off with Britney Spears.

To put that into perspective, that's about the chance of, um, something with a 1 in 2940 chance.

Anyhow, in my eyes, that means that I'd better start preparing myself for the lucky day...