There are three hundred 13-year olds in India who use Facebook and are ‘in a relationship’. And are presumably not lying about their relationship status.
When I was 13, I was in a relationship as well, with the amazingly talented girl-detective Nancy Drew. On whom I cheated at regular intervals with that chick from Blossom. In DD Metro. Sigh.
It was while doing some actual work for which I’m paid for by my paymasters that I stumbled upon this data. And as you well know, one of the several principles by which I lead my life is “Never ignore irrelevant data. Pursue it until it’s time for dinner.”
Therefore, I sat there and spent the rest of the afternoon data-mining in Facebook. Which is absolutely simple if you use the Facebook Beacon tool.
Let me present a few of my findings here –
Look carefully at the first image. X-axis represents age while Y-axis represents percentage. So from the ‘Relationship’ graph, it can be seen that just more than 3% of Indian 18-year olds in Facebook are in a relationship.
It is evident that this percentage dips sharply from ages 18-19 and then again from 21-22. Why?
So dating couples in schools are more often than not faced with the prospect of continuing their relationships via telephone and g-talk, and this happens at the age of 18. The first sharp dip can be thus explained. The similar sharp dip from 21-22 happens when couples complete their graduation.
Now let me direct your attention to the ‘Engaged’ graph. This one is a beautiful bell curve as one would expect and we can delight at the fact that social norms are clearly being followed here at least.
From the age of 18, more and more Indians get engaged, and this number peaks at 26. And from then on, the number starts falling as Marriage comes and imprisons most of these engaged souls. But there is something to discuss in this graph as well. Even though, the number of engaged couples sharply drop from 26, it can be seen that this number remains the same for ages 29 and 30. Why so?
This can be explained by what I call the ‘Great Depression of Thirty’.
Regular souls, happily in a relationship, often wake up one fine morning to find that they have turned the dreaded three-oh.
“Blimey! I am no longer a young chick in her 20s! Should I shift to Olay!?”, would be the initial reaction of such a 30-year old woman, and soon she starts pondering about her personal life which seems to be going nowhere.
And she calls up her boyfriend and asks him to ponder about her personal life which seems to be going nowhere.
After several days of pondering, they decide not to wait any further and get engaged.
So a lot more couples shift to the engagement pool than should be the norm, driven by the sheer panic of turning 30. These extra couples bump up our graph slightly, causing that aberration from 29-30.
And finally, we come to the ‘Married’ chart.
Almost immediately, your eyes would be diverted to the extremely strange dip from ages 33 to 34. Indians start getting married steadily from the age of 23, but what happens at 33 which causes this intriguing pause?
The ‘Great Depression of Thirty‘ is behind them and at 33, they would be well-adjusted, earning well and in the case of men, finally looking good.
This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the manifestation of what is popularly known as the ‘7-year itch’. Most Indians get married when they are 26 or 27 and by the time these couples turn 33, a lot of them start experiencing this itch. This is generally characterized by arguments on who left the pickle jar open, who sneaked out of the bedroom at night and watched football etc..
And when the pickle jar mystery remains unsolved and football remains unaccepted as equivalent to one’s spouse, many of these marriages end in divorce. Which is what is signified by the dip in the number of married Indians from ages 33 to 34.
Moral of the story? Pickle Jars, though trivial, are quite important.
Oh, and stay active in Facebook.