Most of us have wondered about the likelihood of striking it rich, being audited by the IRS, or living to be a hundred years old. But how many of us have actually sat down and calculated the chances that we could marry a millionaire? Or that the earth could be destroyed by an asteroid?
Now, with Gregory Baer's Life: The Odds, you can find out the answers to these questions and more in a fun, freewheeling, and compulsively readable book. Baer not only gives startling statistics, but also advice for nudging fate in your favor. Readers will discover the odds of:
Catching a ball at a Major League baseball game
Being canonized as a saint
Picking a winning stock
Surviving a train crash
Getting away with murder
Reaching the summit of Mount Everest
Life: The Odds is the lowdown on life's most intriguing possibilities.
Determining the odds of dating a supermodel begins with two vexing questions: how does one define a supermodel, and how many are there? Most experts (including a lot of very strange, lonely men who have established websites for this purpose) identify the factors that allow a regular model to claim supermodel status:
an exclusive contract with a major beauty company like Estée Lauder (a position held by Elizabeth Hurley, and now by Carolyn Murphy)
regular appearances in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (the bikini-clad Elle McPherson, Paulina Porizkova, and Kathy Ireland)
regular cover shots in the major fashion magazines
a regular, prominent role in the Victoria's Secret catalogue (the very naughty Stephanie Seymour, Tyra Banks, and Heidi Klum)
By most estimates, there are approximately twenty-five supermodels operating at any given time. These are the models who invade the public's consciousness, are profiled in "behind the scenes" cable television shows, and give disastrous performances in movies. While race, hair color, height, and general "look" may vary, there are two constants among the crème de la crème of the modeling industry: they are all thin, and they are all vapid. (Of course, you would be vapid, too, if you had dropped out of school at age fifteen and spent all of your time in makeup rooms, airplanes, and nightclubs.) But for many men, anorexia and vapidity are a good place to start, so the search for supermodelis ignoramus is a common dream.
What are the odds? On the most elemental level, let's assume there are twenty-five supermodels, all of whom appear to be heterosexual or at least bisexual, and also there are 110 million adult men in America (as of the 2000 census), and that each supermodel will "date" five different American men per year (some fewer, and some dramatically more), and that the average male will be searching for a supermodel for ten years. The odds then work out to around 88,000 to 1.
Improving the Odds
These odds are misleading, though, as they assume that all men are equally well positioned to date a supermodel. In fact, occupation and geography skew those odds wildly.
Supermodels tend to date only certain types of men. To determine which types, the author conducted a search of the established supermodel literature (the tabloids) and was able to track the dating habits of forty-four supermodels, past and present. The occupation of each boyfriend or husband was identified. Obviously, one- night stands were not reported or recorded, but it is a fair assumption that the cohort of one-night stands would have a similar distribution of occupations as the cohort of boyfriends and husbands.
Here are the results:
As the chart shows, actors, musicians, and athletes represent a majority of supermodel boyfriends and husbands. Leonardo DiCaprio himself represents a cottage industry in supermodel dating. But he is hardly the only actor to make the list Mickey Rourke, Johnny Depp, Jason Patric, Sylvester Stallone, and even some guy named Norman Reedus have dipped their toes in supermodel waters over the last decade. Rock singers (Axl Rose, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Ric Ocasek of the Cars) are not far behind.
Yet there is still hope for those who bothered to get a graduate degree. At least one lawyer and one doctor have broken through to the chamber of supermodel secrets. It also helps to put forth a little effort. One gentleman founded the Fashion Café and ended up with supermodel Daniela Pestova. Photographers do well, as one might expect. Wealth doesn't hurt either. A "gallery owner" named Tim Jefferies has dated Claudia Schiffer and Elle McPherson, as well as porn star Koo Stark.
Occupation alone is not determinative, however. As with real estate, supermodel dating is heavily dependent on location, location, location. Practically every supermodel lives in one of two places: New York or Paris. You might have expected to see some California supermodels, but California is too far away from Europe, where most fashion shows are held.* So, if you aren't in one of the chosen industries and are looking to meet a supermodel, think about flying first class on Virgin Atlantic or one of the other transatlantic luxury airlines. (Surprisingly, given the travel required of supermodels, there is no record of any supermodel ever having dated a pilot.)
Adjusting our odds a bit, it's fair to say that if you are a star actor or the front man for a band based on the East Coast, then your odds are probably closer to 10 to 1. If you drive a truck in Minneapolis well, keep on truckin'.
* California, however, is home to the pornography industry; while there are no hard data on the subject, the odds there presumably are better.