The bill for our drinks came, and Sara and Mia simultaneously popped out of their seats and reached for their cell phones.
“What are you gals doing?”
“Trying to figure out what each of us needs to chip in,” Sara said as her fingers wildly pressed her iPhone screen.
“On a calculator? Geez, it’s not that hard. There are only three of us,” I said.
“I’m a girl: I suck at math.”
“I hate to break it to you, honey, but you haven’t been a ‘girl’ in about 45 years. And don’t say that!”
“That girls suck at math.”
“But we do,” Mia chimed in.
“Remember when Harvard’s president said women weren’t cut out for science and math?”
“You’re not listening to that idiot!”
“Yeah, well, didn’t you hear about those new studies saying he may be right?”
Yes, I had heard about them, along with the studies that said girls may get math anxiety from their female teachers and even their moms. Why can’t they ever leave the mothers out of things?
Excuse me, but, isn’t math something that we learn? It may be harder for some and easier for others, and, sure, developmentally boys and girls may experience leaps and bursts at different times. Still, I’m not buying that we women can’t “do math” just because we’re women.
Actually, I think women are exceptionally gifted in math — we just use it differently than men. We use honest-to-goodness practical math:
- Like when we buy something on sale. If it’s normally, say $100 and it’s now 50 percent off, we suddenly have an extra $50 in our wallet, so we are ahead $50 that we can spend on something else. The true math geeks among is, however, don’t; still, they’ll insist that they “saved money” while spending.
- When it comes to food, we are always doing the math; do we go for the 380-calorie slice of double-chocolate cake or do we use those 380 calories for a glass of red wine and a Cobb salad?
- We are naturally inclined to make adjustments in recipes — who hasn’t doubled or halved one, as needed? — and in cocktail mixing. And we often create wonderful new mathematical equations by addition — throwing an extra handful of chips in the chocolate chip cookie batter, say.
- We grasp the power of three when it comes to finding The One, whether third-date sex, waiting three days for a guy to call or the Third Month Dating Syndrome (as in, are we dating or in a relationship)
- We are constantly figuring out the best time for a bikini wax, using highly complex computations so we get maximum benefits — aka how many times we’ll be seen naked — for the $60, plus tips. Ditto with leg shaving.
- We excel at word problems. Here’s one I use all the time: If I have 9 pairs of black shoes and I see a pair of black shoes that I like in a style I don’t have, how many pairs of shoes will I have at the end of the day?
- We tend to be quite skilled at computing and instantaneously reciting all the times our sweetie did something that just pissed us off (aka keeping score). And we don’t even have to write it down; it’s all in our head!
- We know that vanity sizing has made a mess of our closets let alone our heads. What size are we if we can wear a size 4, 6 and 8? This is a case where math fails us and we revert to logic; if it fits, wear it.
- Finally, one of the all-time practical uses for math is when it comes to penis size. As you know, men worry quite a bit about the size of their dick, wondering if it’s “big enough.” But whether it’s 6 inches, 9 inches, 11 inches — we really don’t care. If it feels good and does what it should and provides us with all that we need, then, well, that’s what’s known as a perfect number, and certainly no less beautiful than Euler’s Identity.
Now who can’t do math?
- Where do you fall on the “women can’t do math” spectrum?
- And, feel free to add your own creative uses of math.