Do 80% Of Single Women Really Only Want The Upper 20% Of Single Men?

John Tompson
3 min readMay 15, 2021

Whenever I experience a disappointing dating experience I usually search the internet for articles that give me some semblance of solace so I can get up, dust myself off, and move on. I’ve read several articles suggesting that 80% of single women want the “upper 20%” (socioeconomic strata/physical attractiveness, etc.) of single men. We might be relying on too much empirical data that doesn’t take into account an intangible that at least in the hetero sense applies to all single people involved: emotional availability and unavailability.

Or put another way, holding out for The Purple Unicorn. The guy who is an emotionally perfect Anthony Bourdain or the woman who (my fantasy) is Marlo Thomas’ character from “That Girl” in 1967 in perpetuity. Or whatever other fantasy human who doesn’t exist and will never exist. This is really more of a function of emotional availability. And one of the myths in American society that is being burnt to the ground is the notion that only men have a fear of commitment.

We can go down this rabbit hole in a number of ways. But something I have read repeatedly in this medium (pun intended) is the notion that emotional availability and secure attachment are the same thing, and while I am no psychologist, intuitively for me, attachment style is formed in childhood and emotional availability ebbs and flows. This just makes all the sense in the world to me, because I was raised in a stable household (my parents are in their early 80s and they’ve been married for almost 42 years — on marriage #2 for each of them) but I’ve experienced periods where I have been emotionally unavailable.

This mixing of emotional availability and attachment theory is just another dumbing/watering down a complex social construct that people don’t think about because let’s be honest as single people, we’re not nearly as self-aware or have our “shit together” as much as we think. Why? Because there’s no one there do be driven nuts by our bullshit. And this leads me back to the 80%-of-single-women-wanting-to-date-20%-of-single-men/Holding Out For The Purple Unicorn.

To me it seems like men would make the argument in the title of this argument because the level of rejection from women in 21st century dating culture is apocalyptic. Women don’t write back to our messages online. That’s fine. It used to be that women would say thanks-but-no-thanks with a shallow rejection response (shallow because you can’t make an accurate judgment of someone from photos and words unless you come off like a total ass and just say someone’s ugly) but then women got smart and just didn’t say anything. This is probably because a few too many emotionally immature men freaked out.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg with rejection, tho.

It’s when a man goes out with a woman who has already rejected him but wanted to go to that [insert place here] she’d never been to before that he suggested. Rinse. Repeat. Serial meet-and-greeting is a function of people who do not want relationships and for some reason can’t find anything entertaining on YouTube. It’s really hard to be a guy on the receiving end of so many “dates” that aren’t really dates and not take the whole thing personally. It’s also hard when a woman ends things with you and tells you you’re a great guy like you won’t have any difficulty finding someone equally, when for the average guy it doesn’t work that way. Rinse. Repeat.

Where the title might make sense is in a place like NYC where “there are no men. Only gay, married, or players.” NYC is a place you live because you want that status and importance, but from what I gather those people are a bunch of miserable snobs who flocked to where I live, Portland, Oregon in 2015 and beyond and brought that mentality here with them. If I question the validity of the statement that 80% of single women only want to date the “upper 20%” of single men, it’s the only way I can go and feel like there is some semblance of hope that I’m not doomed to be single at the age of 41 and beyond.



John Tompson

Portland, OR resident since 2002. Anonymous rock and roll god with a penchant for fretless bass. and a pleasant cacophony of useless knowledge in my brain.