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Home --> Risqué Business --> Penile Pranks --> The Size of Things to Come

The Size of Things to Come

Claim:   The size of a man's nose, hands, or feet is a reliable indicator of the size of his penis.

Status:   False.

Origins:   A long-lived mistaken belief relates penis size to a visible body part: hand, foot, or nose. Among those who consider there might be something to such a correlation, some say masculine length directly relates to a man's shoe size, while others assert the measurement of the subject's hand from wrist to fingertip will reveal his exact personal dimensions. Still more believe a man's proboscis tells the tale when measured from the Foot middle of his eyebrows to the tip, making his masculine information as plain as the nose on his face. Others who have been romanced by the belief opt for more generalized comparisons, avowing that large hands, feet, or noses correspond to larger equipment below.

Until only recently, the only refutation of this hypothesis was anecdotal — for every supposed relative measurement, menfolk could always be found whose vitals defied the supposed wisdom. ("I used to believe your theory until I met my ex-husband whose hands were large, but he was hung like a mouse. My current spouse has small, narrow hands and all I need to say is that I'm keeping this one!"). However, in a study published in the October 2002 issue of the British Journal of Urology International, researchers found the size of man's feet does not correlate to the size of his penis.

Urologists at St. Mary's Hospital and University College Hospital in London recorded the penile length of 104 men with foot sizes 8 through 13. For the purposes of the study, the men's organs were "gently stretched" while in the flaccid state and measured. When analyzed, the data so collected yielded no link between the size of the male organ and a man's feet. "A common misconception," the researchers reported, concluding, "There is no scientific support for this relationship."

The St. Mary's study was not the first attempt to test the theory, but it was the first to adhere to a scientific standard. Although previous tests had appeared to show at least a mild correlation, the studies themselves were seriously flawed, as they relied upon the subjects to accurately report their personal information. The St. Mary's study took the self-reporting aspect out of the equation; both shoe size and penile length were ascertained by those collecting the data, not volunteered by the men being evaluated.

That the study disproves the relationship doesn't mean belief in it is likely to wane. We want to believe a link exists between the size of the penis and some other appendage
because our desire to see patterns where none exist leads us to assume the human body is built on a precise scale, that our creator fashioned everything in exact proportion. For all our posturing about our passion for new frontiers, new knowledge, and boldly going where no man has gone before, we humans very much want to live in an orderly universe where everything clearly relates to everything else and is easily understandable. Nature, however, has other ideas. Even individuals differ from side to side — on the same person, one hand will always be bigger, as will one foot. One testicle will always hang lower (almost always the left), and with women one breast will always be larger than its mate. Proportioning is chaotic within a single body; across two or more people it is less consistent. Yet still we persist in attempting to isolate reliable patterns because our need for comfort forces us to search for a gestalt even where we know none can exist.

Yet it's not all desire for order: we also delight in the theory of penile endowment relating to hand, foot, or nose size because, if true, such relationship would give us insight into a very private aspect of folks we might want to know more about. It's the mental equivalent of "I've seen you naked!" in all its smugly superior juvenility. A hated boss becomes less fearsome if one can imagine him with a small penis, just as an admired sports figure becomes less daunting when pictured the same way.

Although penis size has no bearing on sexual satisfaction, we live in a society which deals a consumeristic lesson of "bigger is better." Some of this carries over to color males' perception of themselves, convincing many a) they are undersized, and b) this is a terrible thing. Here are some penile facts that may prove helpful for those who spend more time than they should worrying about size:
  • The average Caucasian's penis is 3.5 inches long when flaccid and 5.1 inches long when erect.
  • Many men are unhappy with the size of their equipment, but research shows most of those who request penile-enhancement surgery are actually average-sized.
  • The penis doesn't grow significantly until the first stages of puberty, normally starting between the ages of 10 and 14.
  • During puberty the penis becomes longer and thicker and should reach adult size during the 16th year, after which no further growth occurs — indeed, there is some evidence that it starts to shrink after middle age.
  • Surgery is the only technique that can make a flaccid penis longer or thicker.
Barbara "willy wonka'd" Mikkelson

Last updated:   11 July 2007

Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson.
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
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  Sources Sources:
    Bain, Jerald.   "Do Big Feet Mean More Than Just a Large Shoe Size?"
    Maclean's.   5 April 1999   (Health Digest; p. 38).

    Ebenkamp, Becky.   "Out of the Box: Shoe Size is No Shoo-In."
    Brandweek.   14 October 2002.

    Gibson, Valerie.   "Column About a New Medical Study on Manhood Draws Lively Response."
    The Toronto Sun.   20 October 2002   (p. 44).

    Porter, Mark.   "How Big Is Your Love?"
    Radio Times.   5 October 2002   (p. 40).

    Shah, J. & Christopher, N.   "Can Shoe Size Predict Penile Length?"
    British Journal of Urology International.   October 2002   (Vol. 90, Issue 6; p. 586).