To be fair the concept of the graph is a bit special, I also struggled to get it.
As one can read in the source, the author takes number of "likes" on Tinder as a proxy for attractiveness. This way they can rank men and women separately by how attractive they are: that's what the two axes represent.
If one accepts a few questionable assumptions such as:
- equating "relationship wealth" with "proportion of people of the opposite gender attracted"
- the more a person is attractive the more they go for the top attractive people of the opposite gender,
Then for each gender the average number of likes received by level of attractiveness is calculated, for example:
In average a woman who has say 50% of attractiveness "likes" only 10% of the men, and we assume that she's going to like only the top 10% attractive men. Since this implies that the top 50% women are interested only in the top 10% men, it can be deduced by contrapositive that only the other 50% least attractive women can be interested by the 90% remaining (least attractive) men.
Another example from the other side: a man who has a level of 50% attractiveness likes all the women with more than 5% attractiveness in average. Again it is assumed that a woman who can attract a man in the top 50% will not be interested in the top bottom 50%, therefore the bottom 50% men can only "access" the bottom 5% of the women.
The whole graph is based on this assumption: if somebody at a particular level of attractiveness can attract the N% most attractive of the opposite gender, then anybody below this level of attractiveness is stuck with the remaining proportion. In other words it's not about how many people of the opposite gender one likes, it's about which level of attractiveness one can "afford" given their own level of attractiveness. That's what the graph shows: for example the 80% least attractive men can only afford the 22% least attractive women. By contrast the 78% most attractive women can afford to take their pick among the 20% top attractive men.
Beyond the caveats, my personal conclusion is: all you need is love... but can you afford it?