An Extra Bit: The Boyfriend Graph

While backpacking I started to notice a bizarre phenomenon. Within a few minutes of talking to a girl they would mention their boyfriends quite randomly in the conversation. On noticing this trend I decided to record the data and analyse the results for future use by young male backpackers.

Forty seven girls took part in the research over a period of 217 days. Twelve of the girls (»25%) sampled did not mention the presence of a boyfriend whereas 35 (»75%) did. As can be observed from the graph below, 27 girls mentioned their boyfriends on the first meeting with a peak occurring between 7 to 8 minutes from the start of conversation. As expected this follows a normal Gaussian distribution. However, during a second meeting a further 8 girls mentioned their boyfriends with a left skewed graph peaking at 2 minutes. After consideration, the skewed nature of the graph can be explained by the girls’ thinking about the first meeting and deciding that they should mention a boyfriend as soon as possible so I
the person would not get the wrong impression.

It is clear from the data that a person cannot be certain that a girl, who has not mentioned her boyfriend, is boyfriend free after the first meeting as there is still a 40% chance that that he may exist. Although this is better than the figure from the start of the first meeting which is 75%. However, during the second meeting this quickly reduces to 20% after 3 minutes and 5% after 4 minutes. In conclusion it is clear from the graph that after 5 minutes of the second meeting the girl will not have a boyfriend, this will occur in one in four meetings, this should be taken as a sign to advance.
To be Published: Nature (human)

OK, that’s a bit creepy, but it really happens!

Day 217: Narrowing The Mind

Day 217. I arrived at Heathrow at 9:35am on what was a wet, cold and miserable Tuesday morning. Waiting in the queue for passport control I started to think about what I’ve just done, what I’ve achieved, what I’ve seen. What were all the people who I’d met en-route be doing right at this moment, the Nepalese confidence trickster in Calcutta India, who was he talking to now over Tiffin, would it be another unsuspecting tourist he was trying to extract money from? In Nepal would the manager of the hotel in Kathmandu still be cowering behind the metal grill of the door, hiding from the Maoist rebels? In Hong Kong what would the child who asked me why the British left be doing? In Vietnam would the minibus driver be stuck at the roadside with another group of unsuspecting tourists trying to fix his minibus with another tube of superglue? While in Cambodia, would people still be trying to transport outrageous amounts of material into the county balanced precariously on a moped? In Thailand would another young boy be all but sold to the waiting arms of an old European guy while at the same time in a Malaysian market would another chicken be losing its head while the others looked on? Will women on the Riverside in Singapore be prowling the bars looking for affluent westerners to pounce on and in Australia will there be some drunken British backpackers trying to mount anything with a pulse? Actually, that’s not a question, that’s a given! In New Zealand is someone having their first Bungy experience, jumping into the night sky over Queenstown and in Argentina are the duo of South American singers waking up the morning after giving tourists a rendition of a song about love lost over a coffee roaster? In Uruguay is the rubbish collector waking up ready to take his horse and cart into town to clean the city’s streets and in Chile would my old travelling companion Jack the Ripper be eyeing up women and making rude gestures on his return journey to Santiago? Would a captain of a little boat in Peru be showing a whole new bunch of tourists the delights of his Pusi and in Bolivia would the bus agent be rushing around trying to put another tourist on a bus he said he had but didn’t? In Paraguay, is someone being made to pay the police for a bit of ‘help’ and finally in Brazil is some poor sod getting an eyeful from a wrinkly old lady on Ipanima beach?

It’s amazing just to think how many different people I’ve met with so many different ways of life, what would they all be doing now. Travelling has made me realise how diverse the world is, something I thought I knew but clearly didn’t, but I also have a worry. I’d always been told that travel broadens the mind, but of this I’m no longer sure. I’ve seen snapshots of seventeen countries and yes I may have been lucky enough to see more than most will see in a lifetime, but these small snapshots of places and the people I’ve met has focused my thoughts on each of the countries through which I’ve travelled. This I believe has narrowed my mind. Ask me about Paraguay and I will tell you that all of the police are corrupt, Hong Kong and everyone is out to rip you off, and in Australia, Aussie girls get their breasts out for a dollar. All of these statements are not true, well apart from the last one, although everyone knows it’s actually ten dollars, but these opinions are just from my own personal limited experiences.

“Next”, the guy shouted to me at passport control. He asked how long I’d been away for to which I relied “Two hundred and seventeen days.” He looked up and raised an eyebrow and said, “Holiday?” “Sort of,” I said while thinking that a better description would have been the opportunity and experience of a lifetime. I smiled and he just nodded and replied welcome back Mr Cutts. “Thank you.” As I walked into the arrivals hall my hopes that someone would be there to meet me were dashed, everything seemed in slow motion with people rushing past to embrace loved ones at the barrier. I had told people not to come, but although it’s only been a little over seven months, I’ve seen and done a lot more than many who travel for a year or more and now realise that I was going through a form of culture shock in reverse, real life was about to take over. But now at least I know that if any friends do the same, no matter what they say I will do my best to meet them.
I only had a short journey to finish off my trip going from London to Guildford the hard way, so I headed outside to catch the Heathrow to Woking link bus and then the two short stops on the train to Guildford. While waiting I couldn’t help but think that if I’d just walked out of the tube station and straight onto the bus all those months ago it would have been a lot easier. As the driver picked up my bag to put into the hold he asked where I’d been, I said “Around the world in two hundred and seventeen days.” With typical British understatement he replied “That’s nothing, Phileas Fog did it in eighty, and without a bloody jet plane.” He has a point!’

UK: Beer Football And Fags

Approximately nine thousand years ago at the end of the Pleistocene ice age Great Britain was formed when sea levels rose. When this happened, the island was cut off from the European mainland. The iron age Celtic inhabitants of Britain were called Brythons, latter becoming the Ancient Roman province of Britannia, well up to Hadrian’s Wall anyway. Then in 1066 there was the Norman Conquest, the Normans who were actually north-men, Vikings, and not French as most think, loved the place so much that they became assimilated into English society and actually made Normandy an English possession. This pissed off the French as they had just ‘loaned it’ to the Normans! It created what was to become one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe and started a rivalry with France which continued until the 19th century. On the 20th October 1604 King James VI proclaimed himself as ‘King of Great Britain, France and Ireland’ and then in 1707, upsetting many Scots, the Act of Union joined both English and Scottish parliaments. That Act used two different terms to describe the new all island nation, a ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’. In 1801 a new Act of Union merged Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland………………… I used to think that I knew everything about this place, its history, its identity, what people thought of us, how the British behave. Now seeing other parts of the world and the people I’ve met I figure I know very little.