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If you love pina coladas and getting caught in the pouring rain, do you want to find love? | Songs |

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ou’ll understand tune. That loping 70s riff, common from childhood, a father or mother’s mixtape or even the Magic FM playlist. The singer’s brilliant, breezy delivery. Following the attractive hook: „If you like pina coladas, and obtaining caught in the rain. If You Are perhaps not into pilates, and you’ve got half a brain … ”

I rediscovered
Avoid (The Pina Colada Track)
in 2014 while you’re watching Guardians for the Galaxy. I found myself much more enraptured from the sound recording as compared to film. This certain track – an United States No 1 on its release in 1979 (though it recharted in 1980, making it truly the only pop tune to carry the utmost effective spot in various many years) – quickly wormed the way into my psyche, to some extent given that it had been therefore snappy, partly because it ended up being thus frustrating.

If, just like me, you’re the type of individual who sings along to a tune despite having only the vaguest grasp in the lyrics („Na-na-na PINA COLADA!”), it’s possible the intricate plotline of Rupert Holmes’s success has gone by you by. So allow me to summarise: Holmes sings of being bored with their gf, and reading the lonely hearts adverts in bed as she rests alongside him (we are able to keep apart the callousness of the until later). One ad captures their vision: a mystery woman is seeking men which likes pina coladas, obtaining caught in the pouring rain, who isn’t in to yoga, and „has half a brain”. She also, acquiring particular, wishes somebody who „likes having sex at nighttime, in dunes of this cape”. Any guy matching these demands, she claims, should create to her „and escape”.

Our very own protagonist, deciding this description meets him completely, locations a personal ad in response, indicating they satisfy at a club at noon. Not surprisingly unusual time for a first big date, she walks in – and, exactly what do you are sure that, it’s „his very own lovely lady”. Rather than busting into a flurry of common recrimination, they laugh during the happenstance and explore all the passions they never realized they contributed – such as an affair, presumably.

This story first maddened and then intrigued me personally. I will be a data reporter and discovered it hard getting beyond the absolute unlikeliness within this series of activities. Not only really does Holmes’s protagonist accidentally see their sweetheart’s secret advertising in an area report, but he is the

initial

to see it and organize a conference (we can believe, because she is nevertheless offered). And when they uncover each other’s infidelity, they simply have a good laugh it well. We wondered, just what happened to be the chances?

I have invested yesteryear decade as an investigative reporter, searching through the numbers behind many techniques from offshore economic records into the intelligence agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Imagine if we used my analytical abilities to this question? OK, set up pina colada couple will have answered each other’s adverts – then reconciled – may not be more pressing issue on the planet, but as soon as the idea happened, i discovered it hard so that get.

My look for solutions started with trying to work-out how many men and women may be eligible for the song’s „lovely woman”. This was made a little challenging by Holmes’s choice and additionally where the song is placed at any reason for the lyrics. Considering the lack of information for the contrary, we opted for Holmes’s home town of Northwich,
a little community in Cheshire dating back to Roman occasions
. A pedant might remember that Holmes gone to live in a suburb of New York as a child, nevertheless the song subject – avoid – had always evoked smalltown England, about in my opinion. I was raised multiple dozen kilometers from Northwich. We understood exactly why, residing there, the appeal of pina coladas and a fumble on a far-flung beach might be enticing. Plus, great britain features definitely better archival data.

Initial, I needed understand what amount of men and women may have heard of private ad and exactly how lots of might complement it. My kick off point was the UK Census – an across the country energy, every decade, which every citizen is actually legally obliged to offer government entities information on on their own: their age, location as well as other demographic information.

Escape was released in 1979, just couple of years ahead of the 1981 national census, in accordance with which 17,098 folks lived in the township of Northwich. After removing ladies and kids – we could believe the secret ad was getting men – the census met with the numbers I had to develop.
In regards to 21% of populace during the time happened to be 15 and under, and about 18per cent had been pensioners
, leaving 10,430 working get older grownups. Of those, somewhat not even half could be guys: while much more male children tend to be produced than female, a man populace in 1981 was still afflicted by another world combat and women live more than males. My number of men focused by the ad dropped to 4,902.

There was even more i possibly could do in order to thin completely this group. While a bisexual guy could nevertheless fit the pina colada-loving girl, a gay guy sadly wouldn’t. There was little to aid the commonly thrown-around figure that about one out of 10 in the population is actually gay.
Conventional studies produce far lower figures, of about 3per cent
, though these are generally more likely underestimates – far higher costs are observed among more youthful grownups who’ve grown-up with less stigma. We had been speaing frankly about 1981, however, so I excluded 3% of men, getting us to 4,755 prospects.





Pictures: Getty; Alamy. Composite: Guardian design team

To be able to study a personal advertising in a paper, you have to be your readers of the newspaper. As Holmes inconsiderately does not label the paper – it really is very nearly just as if he had been purposely making this tough – I needed to-do some investigator work.

Private adverts make more sense in a nearby newsprint than a nationwide one; who wants to take a trip 200 miles to connection over a common hatred of pilates? So I needed to know-how many regional papers were sold whenever tune arrived on the scene – a figure which, usefully, is obtained and printed on-line of the
Globe Advertising Analysis Center
. Websites could be destroying news media, but it does be useful sometimes.

About 2.5 billion local and local everyday old newspapers had been bought in great britain every year during the time of the tune’s release, or just around eight million papers just about every day. Paper advertising research can think about 2.5 folks study each copy, which means 20 million people each and every day would look at a paper. Considering the British populace during the time was actually 56.3 million that will be 36.1%, indicating compared to all of our 4,755 possibly qualified guys, 1,689 would have heard of advertisement.

Hold on a moment, you might say. The hell will we know which ones liked pina coladas? Let-alone acquiring caught in the rain, and sense for the sea? Unfortunately, there is no historic research about Northwich that addresses these questions – leaving me personally with one recourse: a rigorous systematic poll of today’s Uk general public, in the hope that preferences haven’t shifted also radically before 39 many years.

Miraculously, I happened to be able to sway the polling company YouGov to put these concerns toward public in a way that would produce really serious solutions. This can be strong data, describes YouGov governmental specialist Chris Curtis: „Unlike the ‘polls’ you can see on Twitter, when carrying out analysis we guarantee our company is choosing a representative test of Brit public. This simply means we ask the best amount of old, younger, middle income, working-class [people].”

The guy found that women can be more inclined than males to take pleasure from pina coladas (by 44per cent to 34percent). Normally low figures for a legendary cocktail: the sweet pineapple, rum and coconut drink is also the trademark beverage of Puerto Rico, along with its own nationwide day. But, unfortunately, the polls you shouldn’t lay.

Our poll had to be split up into five different concerns, reworded from initial individual advertising, with solutions provided in arbitrary sales – generally to ensure folks offered a real a reaction to each, instead of piecing together the words for the song. Some things needed a tweak. „whilst it may seem apparent to numerous, it actually was vital we specified that by asking about having ‘half a brain’ we had been maybe not chatting practically and rather making reference to intelligence,” claims Curtis.

After that, we simply was required to observe how lots of men within test matched each facet of the track. Not merely did 34% of males like pina coladas, but in addition 27per cent liked acquiring caught in the rain. We had gotten a much better success price for not into pilates – 81percent in our sample aren’t interested – while 80% believe they are intelligent (the nearest we could can „have 1 / 2 a brain”). „Making love at nighttime in the dunes in the cape” is quite also particular to poll, however the study did establish that 34per cent of males state that they like making love on a beach (a figure considered sceptically by those individuals who have completed this).

Assuming that each one of these questions was separate through the other individuals – including, liking rain enables you to forget about apt to be into pina coladas – we calculated that just 2% of males (one out of 50) would match the non-public advertising in Holmes’s song. This gave all of us the solution to what amount of males living in Northwich and reading the paper would look at advertising and become curious: 34. Thus I had my solution: our very own track’s protagonist was averagely, yet not spectacularly, lucky are the most important person to reply to his girl’s advertisement. I realized the particular opportunities.

But this however don’t feel like the conclusion my quest. How about that improbable pleased ending? Versus becoming shocked and harmed by their common efforts at unfaithfulness, the two simply make fun of regarding it. What had been the probability of

that

?

Funnily enough, there’s no research that covers this specific scenario – but there is however research into something close. The US scholastic Dr Nancy Kalish, based at Ca State University in Sacramento, CA, provides invested many years examining why
some divorced lovers find yourself not only reconciling, but remarrying each other
.

Exactly what percentage of separated partners get back together? The answer is 6percent, or just around one out of 17 – few, but perhaps significantly more than you’d anticipate. Surprisingly, these lovers had a substantial probability of remaining together forever; at 72%, really above the average. It appears there’s a situation of second-time-lucky, or a component of forgiveness makes you stronger, which could bode really for all the figures within tune.

Therefore, around talking, I got my responses. Whenever we take-all the statistics collectively, the probability of Holmes’s tale happening as described are one in 567. That is relatively unlikely – about the same opportunity as actually produced with an additional fist or two – in a nation with thousands of people, complete stranger the unexpected happens each day.

My investigation, I happened to be forced to conclude, had roundly vindicated Holmes’s songwriting. Nonetheless it kickstarted a habit – fact-checking pop music music, and learning about the world when I performed. By way of example: a 1980s study coached me personally that after undergraduate researchers asked a stranger „Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, femme pour ce soir?” three-quarters of males mentioned yes (very little ladies did). Could you cry a river? Not: the common number of an individual rip is not fantastic, plus it would simply take massive amounts streaming every second to fit the stream regarding the Thames.

And, in answer to Beyoncé’s concern, „Just who run the whole world?” We discovered that, just last year, off all in all, 193 un countries, only 15 had a female frontrunner.

Using music more really – and much more virtually – than anybody ever have to do instructed myself that perhaps the flimsiest pop tune is a path to mastering anything deeply about the globe. Just don’t ask me personally exactly what really lovehas to-do, got to perform with it.



James Ball’s
Do I Need To Remain Or Ought I Get? And 87 Other Essential Solutions To Questions In Songs
is posted by Boxtree at £9.99.

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