# Never question the age of a woman

I’ve always had the impression that no one should ask about the age of a woman. In fact, no gentleman would be caught dead contemplating the very act itself. Anyway, a childhood song rose out of my submerged memories recently and it goes like this:

How old is she, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
How old is she, charming Billy?
Three times six and four times seven,
Twenty eight and eleven.
She’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

The issue isn’t with how the song is sung. I was in primary school then (about 11 years old), and one of my more expressive classmates pointed out to the music teacher the improbability of the truthfulness of the lyrics. He proceeded to prove his point:

Three times six and four times seven,
Twenty eight and eleven.

Became
(3 * 6) + (4 * 7) + (28) + (11)

Which comes up to a grand total of *drum roll* 85!!

Being 11 years old then, 85 years old was like, ancient. Still, 85 years old wasn’t unusual. My cheeky classmate then asked, “How can 85 years be a young thing?”

My music teacher was speechless.

1. "The numbers don't tally!" - a serial counting problem | Polymath Programmer

[…] For the second question, you simply take the current year minus the year you were born in (let’s leave the exact months out of this). So I’m born in 1977, and as of this writing, it’s the year 2009, so I’m 2009 – 1977 = 32 years old. Which is correct. Wait, did I just tell you my age? […]