Half plus 8? What’s that? A mathematical algorithm that will cure cancer and foster world peace? The equation to safe nuclear fission? A clue to free and unlimited power? Nah. This is even better.
One fine Saturday afternoon, I was slumming in the Melbourne Square Mall with my unusually beautiful daughter. Think Kate Upton, only two, maybe three levels hotter. Honestly, that mall scares the bejesus out of me these days. Call me paranoid, call me a wussy, call me what you will, but just don’t call me late for dinner. She had to use the, um, facilities, and couldn’t wait until I scouted out a much safer location. I waited outside the frightening hallway until she did her business. A bearded, disheveled 50-something bearded man was standing outside the ladies’ room across from me, hopefully waiting for his better half. I was packing, and I am trained, but I hope to never need to actually use it. He was snickering about something as he watched my daughter enter the ladies’ room. That made me even more uneasy.
“You did it right, my friend,” he said, in a disturbing cackle. “I’m sorry,” I replied nervously. “Can I help you?” I said. He laughed some more, pointing at me and coming into my safe space. Honestly, I was pooping my pants at this point, beginning to slowly reach my right hand around to my holster. “That girl, you got to get ’em young!” he exclaimed. “Half plus 8, right?” Now that I realized this homeless-looking guy actually had some kind of point he wanted to discuss, I was mildly eased. “Half plus 8?” I said, obviously confused, hoping to keep him laughing to avoid escalating any possible situation. “Half plus 8! How old are you?” he asked. “Forty. Five,” I said, wondering why I was sharing anything personal with this guy. “Yeah, yeah. So she’s what? Twenty something?” I realized he was referring to my daughter. “About that, yeah,” I replied, now curious, and wondering where this was going. I moved my right hand back towards my side.
“Bro, what are you talking about?” I said, as friendly as I could. “My girl, she was exactly half plus 8. I was 52, and she was 34 when I married her. Half my age, plus 8 years. It’s the perfect age for a woman – half plus 8!” Oh, sweet Jesus, I thought to myself. I did some calculations in my head, which in retrospect was pretty grotesque. I figured, according to the crazy guy’s logic, my perfect woman would then be roughly 31. Obviously, this guy needed some new glasses. I worked backwards a bit to see if his theory made any sense, or if it could actually get you in trouble. If you were, say, 18, would his theory hold without getting someone busted for statutory? Well, 9 plus 8 is 17, which technically is safe. How about a 12 year-old? Six plus 8 is an older woman. That kind of made sense too. What if you were 100? Technically, fifty-eight didn’t seem all that far out of whack either.
I thought some more, and realized, “You know, it doesn’t stay that way, right?” He looked at me funny. “What do you mean?” I was afraid to burst his bubble, but I was feeling cocky and empowered with my superior mathematics skills and eighth grade education. “It’s a moving target. Say, you’re 50, and you got a half-plus-8 woman of 33. What happens when you’re 60? Your magic number then becomes 38. The 50 year-old’s woman would then be 43. What do you do then?”
A thirty-something Asian woman, probably Filipino, she had that look, walked out of the bathroom and took his arm. He looked at her a little funny. I hoped I hadn’t unknowingly talked him into an endless sequence of upgrades. My daughter followed a few moments later. Fortunately, the crazy guy was gone by then. I snickered to myself, and told my daughter she should look for double, plus 8. I reminded her why you shouldn’t really talk to strangers.