On the quest to find true love, it is a well-used adage that one must kiss a few frogs before meeting a prince.
And it would appear this theory is accurate, after a mathematician came up with a formula to find a perfect mate.
Dr Hannah Fry, a mathematician at University College London, has developed a practical theory for love that involves ruling out anyone you meet in the first 37 per cent of your dating life. The theory suggests if someone began dating at the age of 15, and hoped to stop at 40 at the latest, they should not plan to find true love before 24.
It suggests that people "get a feel for the marketplace" when they are young before settling down with the "next person that comes along who is better than everyone they have met before".
Dr Fry has publishing a 116-page book entitled The Mathematics of Love. Some of her statistically proven tips include always being prepared to approach a would-be mate, finding a similar-looking but slightly less attractive "wingman", and never cropping one's faults out of a photograph on an online dating profile.
Speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival, Dr Fry said that looks were not proven to make a difference in finding love.
At a party, she said, "ultimately, no one cares if you look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. All they care about is how you look compared to everybody else. Thus, she suggested finding a similar looking, slightly less attractive friend was the best strategy.
Proven tips to romantic success
Rip up your checklist of the "ideal partner" - You are less likely to find a partner the more essential criteria you have.
Beauty isn't everything - But it's still worth having uglier friends, as comparison counts.
Put yourself out there - Those who make the first move are more likely to find a match.
Reject everyone in the first 37 per cent of your dating life - get to know the market then select next person who is better than all those who came before.
Don't edit flaws online - Those with 'debatable' looks do best.