How to tell the difference between a man and a woman…

by Stephanie Chasteen on July 29, 2008

In this modern world, it gets tougher and tougher to figure out if someone is a Jim or a Jane. Whatever happened to the easy era of codpieces and corsets? Without those to fall back on, here’s a bit of physics you can use to figure it out in a pinch.

Have the person in question fold a small piece of paper into a little tent. Kneel on the floor and put the paper between their fingers, as in prayer, with their hands at their forehead. Have them bend forward at the waist and place the paper in front of them on the floor, and sit back up. Now, they should put their hands behind their back, and lean forward and try to touch the paper with their nose, while keeping their balance.

If they fall forward, it’s a man. If they keep their balance, it’s a woman. (Note, this doesn’t always work, choose your test subjects carefully).

What’s going on? Women have a lower center of gravity, we’ve got short torsos, long legs, and those nice wide hips. So if you were able to balance a woman lengthwise on your arm, her balance point would be somewhere around her belly. Men, on the other hand, have long torsos and a lot of weight in their chests. So when he tries to lean forward to touch the paper, he can’t do it because it brings his center of mass too far forward in front of his knees and he falls over.

Another way to see this biological difference between men and woman is this. Find a man and woman of equal height and have them stand next to each other. Her legs will be longer than his, and his torso will be longer than hers It’s quite striking. Or, find a man who’s a bit taller than a woman. Chances are their legs will be of equal length!

And an insightful addendum from Swans on Tea

Add “Can I balance you lengthwise on my arm” to the list of “things likely to get me slapped”

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jimmy May 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm

A mans index finger is shorter than his ring finger. a womans index finger is longer than her ring finger.

avatar Keisha May 20, 2009 at 9:03 am

uh, my index finger is shorter than my ring finger and im definitely not a guy…so how true is that cause people are different.

avatar Grake August 11, 2009 at 3:56 pm

The fingers are as reliable as any other method. Several of the women I know are that way too includeing my Grandma who had 3 kids so I am definately sure that the Index/Ring finger is true, as for the Balance, I haven’t tried this yet.

avatar Grake August 11, 2009 at 3:57 pm



avatar B. February 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

My index and ring finger are exactly the same so what does that make me??? The Last time I checked I was a guy but you never know, right???

avatar Zora March 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

A man will have a brow bone. A woman does not. They are catching on to this and having their brow bones shaved, though. Pretty sick.

avatar Katey March 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm

My index finger is not longer than my ring finger so stop making up stuff…

avatar sciencegeekgirl March 23, 2011 at 1:37 am

This post has nothing about index fingers — I don’t know about that metric at all!

avatar Jane April 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I’ve heard of the index/ring finger rule, and I think you have to look at your fingers with your palm facing you. It makes a difference to me, and for everyone’s hands I’ve looked at so far (friends/family) it seems to be right.. but I also agree with Grake; this rule is as probably as reliable as any other method used to tell the difference.

avatar jess March 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm

the index thing was on manswers but its not true im 100% a women and mine is the same if not a little shorter so dont go by this its not true at all as other comments might have already proved

avatar OOO April 7, 2012 at 6:14 am


I’m a male with a small torso and long legs, then my finger ratio in feminine too.

avatar anonymous September 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm

well i am a guy and i was able to keep balance and my feet are far taller than my torso so it is not really right

avatar anonymous September 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm

well i am a guy and i was able to keep balance and my legs are far taller than my torso so it is not really right

avatar anonymous September 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm

i meant legs not feet sorry!!!!!

avatar JD September 18, 2012 at 4:17 am

I give up, as long as there a girl now i guess :(

avatar John March 14, 2013 at 6:38 pm

If you need to look at your hands to determine your sex, you are in more trouble than you think, I’m afraid. Try looking down the front of your pants. The testosterone to estrogen exposure percentages in the womb has been shown to effect digit ratio’s.

avatar Razz January 22, 2014 at 11:36 am

Im thinking about the adams apple???? can someone just tell me if there is a sure way to tell if my ste mom is a dude????

avatar ELUDZ August 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm

hey idiots.. for the finger thing.. you have to FULLY open your hand.. if you half ass it the fingers won’t be right.. put your palm down on a table and fully open your hand… and i bet all you women on here that said it wasn’t right.. will be wrong.

avatar Crispy August 9, 2014 at 12:32 am

It’s all from perspective and Eludz you couldn’t be more wrong. If you keep your fingers straight n’ next to each other and measure your index & ring finger from the knuckle or base to the end of the finger a lot of times your ring finger will measure out longer. However sometimes it will flip, other times they’ll measure out to be the same. Just Google; Wood Jones’s “Human Digital Formula”.

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