How Hemlines Predict the Economy: Explanations, Rationalizations, and Theories on Everything

How Hemlines Predict the Economy: Explanations, Rationalizations, and Theories on Everything

by Peter FitzSimons

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A funny collection of quirky observations and modern folk wisdom—that may or may not be true.
Why does the dominant partner in any sexual relationship usually sleep on the side of the bed nearest the door? Is there a direct relationship between the length of hemlines and the state of the national economy? Are odd numbers evil? And why do drivers with hats drive twenty miles per hour slower than those without?
Author, broadcaster, and columnist Peter FitzSimons is the ideal guide to the weird world of the popular theory, the urban myth, and the land of “did you know?” His offbeat, insightful, and painfully funny takes on our world—and topics ranging from relationship phenomena to street traffic—will have readers laughing out loud about human behavior and beliefs, and our ongoing struggle to make sense of life’s mysteries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626367180
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 02/25/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 177
Sales rank: 349,893
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Peter FitzSimons is the bestselling author of seventeen books, a well-respected columnist for the Sydney
Morning Herald and Sun Herald, and a radio broadcaster. He is an ex-Wallaby, a television presenter, and a regular contributor to the International
Herald Tribune and the London Daily Telegraph.

Read an Excerpt




All else being equal, the dominant partner in any sexual relationship will always sleep on the side of the bed nearest to the most likely source of danger.

So if the bedroom door is closer to the left side of the bed, the dominant partner will always sleep on that left side, and the opposite if the door is on the right.

Now, if the door opens to the foot of the bed and the most likely source of danger is thus not on the flanks, then look to the windows ...

In my own experience, this theory is almost infallible when the direction of the most likely source of danger is as clear as whom the dominant partner is. The only exception seems to be when there are young children in the family — in which case the dominant partner ensures that the submissive partner will sleep closer to the wailers.

If the theory works for you, I take a bow. If it doesn't, re-examine your first premise — are you really the dominant partner? No, Mr. Mitty, I really didn't think so.

Another theory along these lines maintains that sexual partners always lie on the side of the bed that corresponds to the side of the car where they would normally sit when driving together, with the habitual driver on the left side of the bed and on the other side in the right-hand-driving countries. I prefer the first theory, not only because it includes a lot more sex and violence, but, more important, because I find it is correct far more often.


Of course, the problem with the preceding theory is that while it may give couples themselves a better clue about who is winning the war of the sexes, the rest of us will have no clue whom the dominant partner is simply by glancing at them, unless we have access to their bedrooms at midnight. But there is another way ...

Another theory holds that for two right-handed people, the dominant partner will always be on the left side when they walk along holding hands, thus using his or her marginally more comfortable right hand to hold with.

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base.

Dave Barry


Women will always notice that the bedroom ceiling needs painting before their husbands do.

Housepainters — who are in the perfect position to know who thinks what should be done in couples' houses — maintain that this is absolutely gospel. It is one of the great mysteries of our time as to why this should be so, but in the housepainting fraternity it is a well-documented phenomenon.


British, Australian, and New Zealand lovers generally kiss with their heads tilted to the right, while American and Canadian lovers tilt their heads to the left (and the French and Italians have a bet each way, twenty times a day).

I wish I could claim originality for this little earthshaker, but I can't; it came to me from a friend who has long noted the phenomenon. But for my own part I can verify its truth, based on those oh-so-rare occasions I got lucky while living in Ohio in the late seventies.

Americans do kiss with their heads tilted to the left, which can be verified by watching American and Canadian movies and soap operas. The reason for this is obvious once it is stated: Most first kisses are performed in cars, and from a physical point of view it is natural that those who drive left-hand-drive vehicles should incline their heads to the left (think about it now) when they kiss somebody on their right. The reverse of course applies in those countries where the steering wheel is on the right side.

Once this pattern has been established in the habits of kissing participants, it also becomes the norm for situations outside cars. These habits then continue outside the car as a matter of course ...


No, of course it doesn't work 100 percent of the time, but we're also well above the realms of the ol' 51 percent for all that ...

If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.

Margaret Thatcher


This one sounds stupid, looks stupid, smells stupid, and feels stupid, and normally I would reject it as in fact being stupid. But on a whim, I checked it out and found it remarkably accurate. The theory is that men are happiest living with women whose eyes are the opposite in general color to those of their mother. If a man's mother's eyes are dark, he will marry a light-eyed woman. If she is a light-eyed woman, he will marry a dark-eyed woman.


The reason why men get very sleepy after an orgasm, while women often perk up, is apparently this ...

Evolution has deemed it such that, generally, the male will be endowed with the aggression necessary to hunt down the female and have his wicked way with her ...

Of course, we humans are now more or less civilized, and aggression should have no part in the pursuit of one's sexual urges, but in the animal kingdom — whose laws we often still obey in spite of ourselves — this instinctive aggression is essential for procreation. After the sexual act is performed, the aggression of the male, which has powered him up to this point, can now become a liability for her and it is necessary to knock him out so the female can make her escape.

By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy.If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

Socrates, Greek philosopher (469-399 B.C.)


The author does not subscribe to this theory, mind you, but it is too much fun to leave out of the book. Of unknown origin (though I suspect it emerged from somewhere in Australia), the theory starts with a new couple putting a single jelly bean in a jar every time they have sex. Once married, they must continue to do so for the first year. After twelve months of wedded bliss, however, they must take out a jelly bean every time they have sex.

If followed faithfully, the theory has it that they will never reach the bottom of the jar because the enthusiastic frequency of that first flush of a new relationship will always be greater than the frequency for the rest of the relationship.

One of my theories is that men love with their eyes; women love with their ears.

Zsa Zsa Gabor

If all the girls who attended the Harvard-Yale game were laid end to end ... I wouldn't be at all surprised ...

Dorothy Parker



What follows are, if I do say so myself, some of the truly great questions of our time ...


Why do they put expiration dates on cartons of sour cream?

How does medicine know where to go?

How come mosquitoes sound louder in the dark?

Why is the fluff that catches in your belly button always blue?

What did Jehovah see, anyway?


At pedestrian crossings and elevators, why do people frantically press the button in the manner of laboratory rats pressing levers in experiments in the hope of getting a piece of cheese? Do they really believe that the sensors are rigged so that ten presses in five seconds will program the light to change or the elevator to come sooner?


In movies, why do actors who get hung up on immediately get a dial tone, when this never happens in real life?

And speaking of movies, how come in every film you ever saw, the good guy firing shots at fifty bad guys always makes his shot, while for the life of them, the fifty bad guys can't bring off more than minor flesh wounds on the good guy? The rough equivalent of this in martial arts fights in movies is that for some reason the bad guys are always kind enough to attack the good guy one at a time instead of rushing him all at once.

How is it that when villains fire bullets at Superman, the bullets bounce off, and yet when they then throw the empty gun at him ... he ducks?


Why do people run over a piece of string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that if you actually look like your passport photo, then you are obviously too sick to travel?

Why is it that when you work out how much your renovations could possibly cost, the final bill is always exactly double?


Why, all over the world, does the railway gate not lift until a good thirty seconds after the train has passed through?

Why? What atavistic urge within us makes the barriers remain down long after all possible danger has passed?

As a child, I have a very clear memory of once being forced to retrieve a baseball from between the railroad tracks. Just as I arrived on the embankment, a huge freight train appeared and whooshed ... over my baseball. Of course, I stood and watched in great fear until it had passed, and it was a good thirty seconds before I had the courage to quickly dart out, get it, and scurry back ... even though I could see for a mile in each direction that the track was quite clear.

What interests me is how the adults who program the gates in all the many countries to which I have been all surrender to the same built-in fear, even when, logically, they must appreciate that it's quite safe to cross the instant the train has passed.


How come the most miserable-looking people you ever saw are those who claim to have found the joy of knowing Christ?

And how is it that the visions of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary and so on occur only in Christian countries, while the visits from Allah are heard of only in Islamic countries? It's really so convenient it's incredible. Imagine the confusion if Jesus Christ chose to make an appearance in someone's cereal in Mecca or Muhammad himself turned up in someone's oatmeal in Dublin. On the other hand, are their images appearing and just being wolfed down merely because they are not being recognized?


Why do so many people with the initials MM rise to positions of rather enigmatic guruness in various fields?

Just for starters, there are Marshall McLuhan, Malcolm McLaren, and Mickey Mouse, not necessarily in order of importance.


How can it be that every paste manufacturer you ever heard of — Elmer's, Avery, etc. — is so totally incapable of constructing a paste brush that will reach the bottom of the container?


How is it that there is a very strongly held conviction out there that men generally make love all the time, always have affairs on the side, and are generally infinitely the more horny of the two sexes ... when in fact (in the heterosexual world, at least), the sum total of acts of intercourse committed by men since the beginning of time, is exactly equal to the number committed by women?

We're not talking more or less equal here, or giveor-take-one equal ... we're talking right on the pupil of the bull's-eye equal. So exactly equal that no other equation in the history of the world even comes close for equalness.


We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgment;
more experts but more problems;
more medicines but less healthiness.
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble in crossing the street to meet our new neighbor.
We built more computers to hold more copies than ever,
but have less real communication.
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion;
tall men but short characters;
steep profits but shallow relationships.
It's a time when there is too much in the window but nothing in the room.

The 14th Dalai Lama


How can it be that every boxer you've ever heard of — I mean every boxer you've ever heard of — always has a for-and-against record that is flattering to him, with always more victories than losses?

Even on the lowliest undercards of the most abysmal fights, the two boxers always have more victories than losses to their credit. In the red corner ... Johnny Pug with a record of 16-11, 4 by knockout, and in the blue corner ... Sammy My-Nothe-Ith-Broke, currently on 19-4.

As to the champions, they always have records like 61- 2 and 38-4. The only possible explanation for this is that there must be five or six boxers out there, as yet unheard of, who currently have records of 2-614 and 3947.


How is it that when you mix clothing of different colors in the washing machine, the colors start to run (as in the red from your red shirt runs into your white shirt), but when you wash the white shirt again on its own, nothing — and I mean nothing — will convince the red that it's time to leave your white shirt? Why is it so, Julius?


Why is it so that in the whole history of the world, no one has ever marked a lottery card 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6? That sequence of numbers is just as likely to occur as any other group of numbers — say, 3, 5, 19, 21, 28, 30 — yet the 1-6 sequence has the added advantage that if it does come up, you will be the only person to have marked the Lotto card as such and thus won't have to share the prize.



Pseudo-pscientific is as close to science as this book gets. These are the sort of theories people often repeat to one another with the sort of breathless air of "... and it's actually true." In fact, they are all at least 51 percent true.


The theory goes that if right-handed people are asked a searching question — "Darling, where did this receipt for a room at the Midnight Love Motel come from?" — and they wish to lie, then they will have to rely on the left hemisphere of their brains, where imagination resides.

Consequently, they will generally look to the right while pondering their reply. If they wish to tell the truth, however — "Oh, that? Let me see ... I think that was the day I first started seeing Molly" — they will delve into the right side of their brains, where memory resides, and thus will look out to the left.

The reverse is true for left-handed people. If they are lying, they will look out to the left.


People who constantly had dirty diapers as children are the ones who are now pathologically untidy.

(Sincere apologies to Sigmund Freud on this one, because I think it was originally his theory.) The theory goes that if as a baby your diaper was changed twenty times a day (as in immediately after it got wet or soiled) or if as soon as you got a little dirt on you, or some ice cream on your cheek, your mother or father quickly washed it off, then your tolerance for dirt and untidiness will be very low. Ergo, for the rest of your life you will be physically, mentally, and emotionally uncomfortable when confronted with dirt or untidiness. You're known as anal-retentive and you are the sort of people who wash their cars three times a week, make your beds in the morning, actually do the dishes right after dinner, and just generally drive us anally expletive people nuts.

We anally expletive people, on the other hand, are the ones (often the youngest in large families, as I was) whose mothers never had time to get to their diapers right away, nor even had the inclination to wipe away that slather of ice cream spread all over our cheeks and all down our fronts. Our threshold of tolerance for dirt and untidiness therefore came to be as tall as the Eiffel Tower and arguably is worthy of similar awe.

Personally, I bow to no man in my ability to wear dirty socks for months on end and, to be frank the only reason I ever change my socks at all is not because I have any personal desire to be clean so much as because of reluctant deference to the far more anal-retentive sensibilities of my fellow man and — more particularly — woman.


Should you want to know what height a child will be when it is an adult, take its height at age two (not a day before or a day after) and double it.

I was born and brought up on this one and in my own case it was accurate to the nearest millimeter. Even the highbrow doctors generally concede the correctness of this theory.


You can determine the sex of your child by timing intercourse precisely.

For a girl, couples should have intercourse two or three days before ovulation. For a boy, couples should have intercourse on the day of ovulation or soon after.


Excerpted from "How Hemlines Predict The Economy"
by .
Copyright © 2009 Peter FitzSimons.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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