Modern Love: A (Likely!) Statistical Breakdown Of The Weekly 'New York Times' Column

(2010 to present. All numbers are in percentages; due to overlapping figures may total more than 100.)

  • WRITER
    • Gender: Female (98.3) Male (1.7)
    • Age: Late thirties(ish) – early forties(ish) (97)
  • TOPIC
    • Modern* (28)
    • Love (98)
  • SUBTOPICS
    • Love (Romantic) (73%)
      • Lost (57)
      • Misplaced (28)
      • Over (13)
      • Unrequited (27)
      • From afar (33)
      • From nearby (9)
      • From creepy individual on subway (4)
      • From untenured SUNY lit professor** (4)
  • LOVE OF
    • Self (61)
    • Parent (absent) [32]
    • Parent (lost) [21]
    • Parent (in room down the hall) [47]
    • Parent
      • Awkward moments with (100)
      • Estrangement from (17)
      • Things I wish I had told mother/father (46)
      • Things I wish I had texted mother/father (11)
  • LOVE OF (CON’T)
    • Sibling(s) [36]
    • Game shows (1)
    • Child (88)
    • Children (2)
    • Children given up for adoption (7)
    • Children not given up for adoption (15)
    • Children who won’t move out (22)
    • Children never had and now, you know, to be quite honest, it’s a little late. Not totally. It’s biologically possible. But you know. (41)
    • No Doubt’s second CD (2)
    • Pet (14)
      • Current (2)
      • From childhood (14)
      • Lost in custody battle (3)
        • Percentage pet is referred to as “rescued” (94)
  • JOB/ CAREER OF ROMANTIC PARTNER
    • Writer (17)
    • Director of playwright workshop (24)
    • Unemployed (17)
    • Waiter (22)
      • Full time (2)
      • Part time (20)
    • Telemarketer (6)
    • Bass player (59)
    • Student (18)
      • Undergrad (3)
      • Grad school (15)
    • Unsure (41)
  • PLACE OF FIRST MEETING
    • Friend’s apartment (14)
    • Friend’s wedding (9)
    • At a club to see friend’s band (18)
    • Online service (43)
      • Reason(s) online
        • Just, you know, as a lark… (21)
        • Friend said she knows someone whose friend met some totally cool guy online. Seriously. (22)
    • Coffee shop (3)
      • Customer (1)
      • Employee (2)
    • Work (1)
    • Bus station (6)
    • School (4)
  • LITERARY REFERENCES/ ALLUSIONS (WHEN MADE)
    • The Great Gatsby (100)
  • COMING TO GRIPS WITH/ TERMS WITH
    • Aging parents (13)
    • Aging children (12)
    • Aging bodies (yours and/or partners/spouses) (17)
    • Aging pets (4)
    • Aging appliances (16)
    • Aging subway system (2)
    • Sex (14)
    • Body image (13)
    • Body language (3)
    • Body of water (43)
    • Ex
      • Boyfriend (88)
      • Husband (3)
      • Girlfriend (9)
      • Partner (17)
      • Barista (24)
      • Apple store employee (2)
  • REALIZATIONS
    • Life is precious (1)
    • Life is short (2)
    • There’s nothing good to eat in the fridge (16)
    • I shouldn’t text when someone is standing in front of me (1)
    • The Black Keys is two guys (13)
    • Coffee doesn’t reheat well in microwaves (71)
    • Social media is confusing (1)
    • Three year olds need a lot of attention. (13)
    • Article of clothing was left in dryer too long (2)
    • NBC Sports reporter Bob Costas spends a lot of time on his hair (14)
    • Sexual awareness (realization that one is:)
      • Gay/lesbian (22)
      • Bisexual (28)
      • Transgendered (22)
      • Straight (3)
  • SEX
    • Good (2)
    • Bad (7)
    • Problematic (44)
    • Frequent (2)
    • Infrequent (2)
    • Not sure (62)
    • Not mentioned (17)
  • TONE
    • Wistful (100)
  • REGRETS (100)
    • Beginning relationship with person (48)
    • Ending relationship with person (32)
    • Affecting an Australian accent the entire summer between college and graduate school (7)
  • CHALLENGES FACED
    • Unsettling medical news (12)
    • Taking someone’s last name (17)
    • Hyphenating name (51)
    • Taking someone’s last name without asking (7)
    • Taking things for granted (44)
    • Taking the last Toll House cookie (2)
    • Remembering lyrics (22)
    • Finding a dry cleaner (6)
  • OTHER PROJECTS
    • Writing memoir (81)
    • Writing autobiographical novel (72)
    • Writing one person show (14)
    • Writing play based on life (33)
    • Blogging (82)
    • Completing online MFA (22)
  • FULL-TIME JOB
    • Memoirist (12)
    • Copy editor (62)
    • Yoga instructor (14)

* Mentions iPhone (3G or higher), iPad or Pinterest.
** In two instances, overlap with creepy individual on subway.

Bill Kelley‘s television writing credits include David Letterman, Bill Maher, Jimmy Kimmel, George Lopez and five Emmy broadcasts. He’s also written articles for The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. As a stand-up comic, he appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman.” Photo by Alexandra Lee.