Coffee Corner

I love trivia. The more random “useless” facts I have clogging up my brain the better. I just seem to soak them up like a sponge. I thought I would share some with you. Be that person who at the coffee break at work just throws out some random interesting fact, that I will admit sometimes gets a strange stare in response, but usually leads to a ‘huh, I had no idea, how do you know this stuff?’

Well, my love of trivia got me hooked on a show called QI: Quite Interesting. The show is a BBC comedy panel show with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies, with impossible questions where panellists get points for being interesting.

One interesting fact that has been burned into my mind was the fact that the color pink was originally used for baby boys and light blue was used for baby girls. So without further ado, here are some interesting facts from the QI episode “Girls and Boys.”:

Coffee Corner


  1. Until the late 1400s the word ”girl” meant a child of either gender. If you had to point out the difference between them, male children were called “knave girls” and females were “gay girls”. Equally, a boy could be called a “knave child” and a girl a “maiden child.”

  2. The word 'boy' also didn't used to mean ‘boy’ in the modern sense but ‘servant’. The word 'boy' meaning ‘young man’ most likely originated from the way the 'servant' meaning was used as a demeaning term. The use of the word ‘boy’ doesn’t show up to describe a male child before 1440 so before then if you wanted to talk about a boy you called them a ‘girl’.

  3. The use of ‘pink for a girl, blue for a boy’ was actually reversed until the 20th century. Toddlers of either sex were normally dressed in white. When colors were used, boys were dressed in pink. At the turn of the 20th century, Dressmaker Magazine wrote:

“The preferred color to dress young boys in is pink. Blue is reserved for girls as it is considered paler, and the more dainty of the two colours, and pink is thought to be stronger (akin to red).”

  1. As late as 1927, Time magazine exposed Princess Astrid of Belgium for giving brith to a girl, when she was hoping for a boy 'The cradle…had been optimistically outfitted in pink, the colour for boys.'

  2. Studies have shown that women asked to hold babies dressed randomly in either blue or pink showed that they would more often hold the pink ones facing towards them, and the blue ones facing out.

  3. Men tend to perform better than women in map reading tests due to the different way their brains operate, according to researchers from the University of California and the University of New Mexico.

  4. The human brain is composed of two types of tissue – grey matter and white matter. Using magnetic resonance imaging equipment, researchers scanned the brains of 26 female and 22 male volunteers. All participants had similar IQs but when they were given intelligence tests, men used 6.5 times more grey matter than the women did, and the women used nine times more white matter than the men.

  5. Grey matter helps to process information and promotes math, map-reading, and intellectual thought. White matter, on the other hand, connects the brain's processing centres and is vital for emotional thinking, use of language, and the ability to do more than one thing at once. Because women use less grey matter, which is essential for map-reading, they tend to have more difficulty with this skill than men.

  6. Women's use of white matter means girls tend to develop larger vocabularies quicker than boys.

  7. Florence Nightingale was the first popular female Florence - it was originally a name for boys.

  8. Boys used to wear dresses until the age of five to seven, when they were put in their first pair of pants.


I just found these to be so interesting.

Pick your favorite fact and share it over a coffee break. Let me know in the comments below which fact was your favorite and what conversation it sparked with your co-workers. Got a friend or coworker who is a lover of trivia, share this post.