Monday, June 06, 2005

Pareto's Principle in Attraction

Sometime around the 1940s, Dr. Joseph Juran proposed that 20 percent of a distribution could be responsible for 80 percent of the results. He named this the Pareto Principle after the Vilfredo Pareto. Pareto had developed a mathematical formula in 1906 to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in Italy, stating that 20 percent of the people owned 80 percent of the wealth. (It is a coincidence that 80 and 20 add up to 100, because the principle would be just as valid as a 80-10: 10 percent of people owning 80 percent of the wealth.)

Two (of many) complaints women at church direct against men are:
  1. Men are too passive. They are immature; they are not embracing their God-ordained initiative for marriage.
  2. Men are too aggressive. They come on too strong; they cannot read subtle hints; they do not leave women alone.
While such complaints seem initially contradictory, they are resolved through Pareto's principle: twenty percent of the single women receive eighty percent of the attention. The selection of the few is an indictment against men, as they favor the outgoing and physically beautiful. A woman also receives bonus points for being new. Thus, attractive female visitors often can be found surrounded by a pack of feral bachelors. This phenomenon is easily observed at social gatherings.

In response, women overvalue their outward appearance. They listen to media propaganda, and they see what snares men. Basic grooming is not a problem. But in an age of tanning beds and hair highlights and eyebrow waxing, one wonders whether their priorities are misguided.

Then there remains the undervalued majority: those not beholden to mirror the larger society, those walking with quiet confidence, those finding their true worth in an almighty God. It is these hidden jewels that we ought to search for, for they are the pearls of great worth.


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