It seems that there’s an XKCD comic for every life situation that we run in to. One of my favorites, by far, is the comic titled “Dating pools.” This comic highlighted the Standard Creepiness Rule, a.k.a.
the “half-your-age-plus-seven” rule, which states that no person should date someone under (age / 2 7), otherwise they will look like a creeper.
In its first known appearances (in the book Her Royal Highness Woman by Max O'Rell, "The little shepherd of Kingdom Come" by John Fox, and the 1951 play The Moon is Blue by F.
Hugh Herbert), it's stated or implied that at the beginning of a relationship or marriage, the woman's age "is supposed to be half the man's age, plus seven", which gives a different (asymmetrical) interpretation to the rule.
As you can see, the comic mentions some analysis involving census bureau data and dating pools.
Our goal in this post is to replicate the analysis that leads to these curves.
We proceed in two parts: As explained in the comic, the "standard creepiness rule" implies that you can't date people below a certain age that depends on your own age.
Assuming this applies to everyone in the population or society you live in, this means that there also is an upper age bound over which people can't date you because you're too young for them.
From another point of view, the chart can be interpreted as saying that there should not be an age disparity of as much as five years unless the younger person has an age of 19 or more, a ten-year disparity should exist only if the younger person has an age of 24 or more, and a twenty-year disparity should occur only if the younger person has an age of 34 or more.
(And people only slightly older than 14 should only be involved with those almost exactly the same age as themselves.) To read the chart, go to the position along the x-axis which corresponds to your age, and the green range (between the black and red lines) directly above that position corresponds to the range of your partner's ages which is deemed acceptable by the rule.
A common rule of thumb, at least on the internet, is that it’s okay to be interested in someone “half your age plus seven” years.
According to this rule, it would not be creepy for a 30 year old to date a 22 year-old, but an 18 year-old would be off-limits.
Downloading the excel file at A1-all.xls, we can continue the analysis and replicate Randall's findings.