539: Boyfriend

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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...okay, but because you said that, we're breaking up.
Title text: ...okay, but because you said that, we're breaking up.


In statistics, statistical significance is used to measure how well a set of data demonstrates a particular hypothesis or statement. In particular, it makes judgment about how likely that the observed effect is real, and not just the result of a sampling anomaly. The term significant other is used to refer to a person's intimate relation, typically a spouse or a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend. They are the "significant other" person in their life, apart from themselves.

Megan asserts her claim that Cueball is her boyfriend by presenting the time that he had spend with people in the form of a box plot, (sometimes called a box-and-whisker plot) with her data point lying far ahead of the rest of the chart, which signifies that Cueball has spent more time with Megan than anyone else. Cueball accepts her claim, and she responds with a monumental pun that combines the phrases "statistically significant" and "significant other".

The title text illustrates the low esteem in which bad puns are commonly held: even though she proved her point, Cueball takes the only option left to him, which is to break up with her. Also it is typical stereotype of men, that once they realize they have dated someone so long as to be called a boyfriend, then they break up, because they do not wish that any girl makes a claim on them.


[Megan is on the phone.]
Megan: Can my boyfriend come along?
[Cueball talks to Megan.]
Cueball: I'm not your boyfriend!
Megan: You totally are.
Cueball: I'm casually dating a number of people.
[Megan points to a chart with gray box plot with a single black dot as an outlier to the far right.]
Megan: But you spend twice as much time with me as with anyone else. I'm a clear outlier.
[Cueball puts his hand on his chin while Megan spreads out her arms.]
Cueball: Your math is irrefutable.
Megan: Face it—I'm your statistically significant other.

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