Do his fingers hold clues to his behavior?

handHold your hands in front of you. Notice if your ring finger is longer than your index (pointing) finger. Are they the same size? If so, or if your ring finger is shorter, you’re a typical woman. If the ring finger is longer, you’re atypical.

Ask your next date to do this test. The size of a man’s, er, digits, may tell you a lot.

“Who cares? you say. “Is this a silly parlor game?”

In a “Salon” article called “Cupid’s Science,” reporter Rebecca Traister interviewed creator, anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D. Dr. Fisher is also the author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love and Anatomy of Love: The Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. In a discussion about the site’s profile assessment and one unusual question, she divulged a little-known fact: your fingers can speak volumes.

No, not just that one digit you raise in anger.

But your index and ring fingers. At least their ratio to each other’s length.

Dr. Fisher explains that “digit ratio” is related to the estrogen/testosterone ratio that begins before birth. “In the womb, the brain is washed over by estrogen and testosterone. If you have a lot more testosterone than estrogen in the womb, it is going to build a longer fourth finger than second finger. If you’ve got a lot more estrogen in the womb, the pointer finger will be longer.

“There are three testosterone bursts: one in the womb, one in infancy and a giant spurt in puberty. But if you have more testosterone in the womb and you have a longer fourth finger, you’re more likely to have musical ability, mathematical abilities, to be an engineer or architect or good at computer programming. You tend to have poorer social skills but be direct, decisive, ambitious, competitive. What they call ‘extreme male brain’ is when you’re overly flooded with testosterone and are pushed into the autistic spectrum. And football players are very high on testosterone and estrogen. So you can be high in both.

“[If you have more estrogen, you usually] have good verbal skills, can find the right word rapidly, are good at remembering, better at compassion, nurturing, patience, have good people skills, and are better at reading posture, gesture, tone of voice and facial features.”

Now I’m not here to argue if male/female stereotypes are, in fact, based on science, or that one can be decisive, direct, competitive and ambitious even with a puny ring finger. These are mostly skills that can be learned, just as can compassion, memory, verbal and people skills. She’s talking about natural inclinations, not learned skills here.

So experiment with this one. Notice the finger ratio on your next date. Then see he fits Dr. Fisher’s findings or if he has great people skills despite his handicap of a longer ring finger. Report back to us what you find.

(BTW, my ring finger is slightly longer.)

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7 responses to “Do his fingers hold clues to his behavior?”

  1. Strblonde Avatar

    Which way should you hold your hand up to look? With your palm facing AWAY from you or TOWARD you? Because with mine facing AWAY, the ring finger is longer. With it facing TOWARD me, the ring finger is shorter!

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar

    That’s interesting. Mine measure the same both ways. You also have to make sure your fingers are out straight, not slanted.

  3. Strblonde Avatar

    Yes, I am definitely holding them straight, including my whole hand. Guess I’m really an anomoly then!? Has anyone else out there found this pattern?

    I have musical ability, but am lousy in math. I can’t always find the right word right away, but like to use big words. I am good at remembering certain things (have to in my job) but I don’t always read people very well. Maybe I’m a bit of both, but I’m definitely female! No mixed preferences there.

  4. Barry Avatar

    I love this stuff. Thanks. Is this only for women? Are all guys ring fingers longer? I wonder if this has any association with where a person’s Venus and Moon are in their natal astrology charts. For example, Venus in the sign Aries (very male/yang/fire/Mars) tends to give a person a quick in, very direct approach to relationships, in general. Or, maybe the general trend of a person’s chart would corollate will with the ring finger thing. Then there is the question of which chi meridian runs down the ring finger and which down the index finger. (And, what’s this about a finger being raised in anger – seems like a stereotype that misses the point like many stereotypes. ) Thanks.

  5. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi Barry:

    Yes, the same research applies to both sexes. Since most of my readers are women, I slanted it that way.

    If your ring finger is longer, that is traditional male. Depending on how much longer than your index finger shows how much testosterone. I found a pic on the web of a tracing of Michael Jordon’s hand, but I couldn’t determine the ratio, so didn’t post it here.

  6. sdl Avatar

    I have exactly the same problem with directional lengths.

    I CAN say that it is considerably more difficult to hold my fingers AND HAND straight up and down when pointing my palm away from my face, however, which makes measuring that way difficult.

    So, facing towards me, very slightly longer index finger on left, 1/4″ or less longer index finger on right, and I am lefthanded.
    Reverse that, with 1/4″ and 1/2″ longer ring fingers than above, when facing away.

    I work with numbers and am comfortable with them on logical and instinctual levels but the math book-theory part makes me crazy, I am very interested in architectural things and would have done that if it was possible, I love modern, ancient, and archeological history and noting whats and whys about it all, I read everything from romance novels to murder mysteries and the local and international news, I am very nurturing and protective with my kids and all their friends and they seem happy to take my advice (which is half reading the situation rather than their words most of the time), I was a preschool teacher when younger, I talk (A LOT!) and have a large vocabulary but have trouble shaking certain mispronounced words, I have an almost uncontrollable urge to proof-read things, I have a strong ability with tarot readings and similar, and am often the person at work someone confides in and asks advice of because I will NEVER tell anyone about what you said and I try and be level headed and give possilble ‘other’ perspectives in my advice instead of just sympathy.
    I have virtually no musical abilities- other than liking a broad range of styles and types- and can barely hold a note after much coaching, and have trouble recognizing when something is being played ‘off’ unless it is truly horrible.
    I will say that I am in no way competitive or physical-sports-inclined, and tend to be less direct in my approach outside of straightforward business discussions where I am both open to new ideas and very decisive once on track.
    But I can and will be extremely aggressive in dealing with threats of any kind to me and mine, and will not hesitate to confront someone in public that is being abusive to their child or animal until I feel same is safe- usually a loud scolding of WHY it is wrong and the threat of the law being called- and telling them I have noted their info and can follow up on them (funny how many people fall for that!) and report them later if they do it again.
    I have a ‘video tape’ memory- like photographic, but add movement, sound, and background notes- and can remember a vast amount of useful and useless data.
    I was, and in many ways still am, a tomboy with a strong interest in racing as well as liking and having an affinity with most animals outside of reptiles, but somehow seem to give the first impression of being a fragile girl… never got that.
    I will dress up for an event and like it, and I love high heels and have always had naturally long nails, but am most comfortable in jeans with no make up and such.

    Now that I sound completely schizophrenic…. it’s like depending on which way my hand is pointing I have different traits, which is just silly!

    Probably just being a Gemini, right?

  7. Strblonde Avatar

    SDL, I relate very much to what you are saying, except for being good with numbers and I DO know music (play piano & clarinet & sing in choir). I am surprised you AREN’T musical being left-handed or more artistic in some way. Most lefties are (my daughter is one.) But yes, that is how my fingers measure too. I’m also not confrontational. I can’t blame my two sides on being a Gemini though, as I am a Virgo.