August 14, 2007

At last! Proof of the notorious "Rule of Three"

Jessica: “If a guy tells you how many girls he's hooked up with, it's not even close to that. You take that number and divide it by three, then you get the real total. OK, so if Kevin is saying it's been three girls it's more like one or none.”
Vicky: “None?”
Jessica: “The rule of three. It's an exact science. Consistent as gravity.”

At last, the knowledge brought to us six years ago by American Pie 2 rings true ... sort of.

Wikipedia describes the “rule of three” as "the generalization that men multiply their true number of sexual encounters by three in order to boast, while women divide their true number of sexual encounters by three in order to fulfill societal expectations of female propriety.”

It has long been found in surveys of both sexes that men have more sex partners than females. The latest U.S. report by the National Center for Health Statistics shows men average 7 partners in their lifetimes, while women average 4.

A story by the New York Times, however, reports that mathmeticians find these results statistically impossible.

Bottom line: Somebody’s lyin’.

A U.C. Berkley professor interviewed in the story uses this example:

“By way of dramatization, we change the context slightly and will prove what will be called the High School Prom Theorem.

We suppose that on the day after the prom, each girl is asked to give the number of boys she danced with. These numbers are then added up giving a number G.

The same information is then obtained from the boys, giving a number B.

Theorem: G=B
Proof: Both G and B are equal to C, the number of couples who danced together at the prom.”


So perhaps a version of the rule of three exists -- either men are ADDING three extra partners to their lists of conquests, or women are SUBTRACTING three partners from theirs.

The mathmeticians say that if men really do have more partners than women, the question is where are these extra partners coming from?

They would have to be from outside the survey population (prostitutes) or outside the country (foriegn exchange students). But even these extra mystery women couldn’t explain the huge gap between men and women’s reported partners.

I think one professor at the University of California, San Diego, has the right idea:

“Some might be imaginary. Maybe two are in the man’s mind and one really exists.”

1 comment:

Amanda said...

could it just be that some men forgot to mention that some of their partners were men? ;) just kidding. or am i?