Oxford Mathematician Reveals Formula for a Perfect Marriage Proposal

The same Oxford University mathematician who this past fall calculated that young children were most likely to pitch a tantrum exactly 27 minutes and 48 seconds into a flight, has revealed his newest formula — this one for a perfect proposal.

The 34-year-old Dr. Tom Crawford, who is widely known by his YouTube handle @TomRocksMaths, cooked up a way to quantify whether a marriage proposal is likely to be a roaring success or an embarrassing bust.

His methodology, which is based on an Asda engagement survey of 2,000 Brits, establishes an individual's "proposal score" (S) out of possible 100 points.

"If you follow this recipe for success," he told the Daily Mail, "you'll be giving yourself the best possible chance of getting that 'Yes.'"

Here's how it works…

Dr. Crawford's formula rewards points in four areas and then adds bonus points for superior behavior and subtracts points for each thoughtless faux pas.

Assuming the proposal will be taking place during a home-prepared dinner, the four key factors include the exact time of the meal (M), the staging of the proposal (T), the amount of advance planning (P) and the cost of the engagement ring (C). Each one of these is worth 20 points.

Dr. Crawford calculated that the optimum time to start the momentous meal is exactly 8:06 pm, with the proposal set to occur after the main course, but before the dessert.

The mathematician noted that the suitor should have been planning for this special moment for 68 days and that the ring's value should reflect 2.5 months' salary.

Proposers can supplement their point totals (and thereby increase their chances of a "Yes" response) by delivering a heartfelt engagement speech (+8 points), setting an attractive environment with mood lighting and flowers (+7 points) and queuing up a romantic playlist (+5 points).

These same suitors needed to be mindful of potential score busters…

Checking one's phone is a definite "no-no." If it happens, deduct 20 points.

Leaving the TV on in the background is a distraction that will cost an additional 14 points.

Burning the dinner is a 10-point deduction, and having kids in the house when popping the question is a negative-6 on the score card.

"In terms of things to avoid," Crawford told the Daily Mail, "keep those phones switched off and out of sight, drop the kids off with a babysitter, and don't burn the food!"

Dr. Crawford, a self-proclaimed numberphile, began teaching at the University of Oxford in the 2017. His Tom Rocks Maths YouTube channel claims more than 178,000 subscribers.

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com / TomRocksMaths.