I stumbled upon some conversation on the TV show Desperate Housewives (Season 4, Episode 10) and I do not understand what the "nines" and "a three" indicate in the following context.

Well, then you just have to fix him up with someone. Give him back his will to work.

Yeah, about that. Most of our friends are nines, and Walter, we love him, but, kind of a three. And in the gay world, three does not go into nine.

Well, we'll just have to find him someone who's not good at gay math.

  • 1
    On a scale of 1-10. See the film "10." And 3 into 9 is not a math hint. Mar 27, 2023 at 16:45
  • 1
    Then that would be "a nine". "Being nine" means being 9 years of age. Mar 27, 2023 at 18:43
  • @JohnLawler But the sentence needs a verb. What kind of verb is in a nine? Oct 18, 2023 at 20:33
  • Are is a verb (in this case, a 3rd person plural present tense verb). Be is the auxiliary verb for predicate adjectives and predicate nouns, like a nine. Oct 18, 2023 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


It's common to rate people's qualities (beauty, wealth, personality, etc.) on a 10 point scale, with 10 being perfection and 0 or 1 being least desirable.

A "nine" is someone who is almost perfect, while a "three" is significantly worse than average.

"three does not go into nine" is a joke. In mathematics, "goes into" refers to being evenly divisible: since 9 is a multiple of 3, 3 goes into 9. But in reference to humans, they're using it as a euphemism for compatibility or sex: their beautiful friends aren't going to want to go out with a troll.

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