Match the Length

Match the Length

We believe that world is as it appears, but that isn’t always the case. Our perspective may be wrong. Try this out in a simple way, with nothing but two match sticks.

Guide lines
Ready, Steady, Go!

Show someone the two intact matches.


How good is your eyesight, want to test it?

Lend me your ears

Now get them to turn away as you bite or cut the heads off the matches. Make sure that one match is slightly shorter than the other, by a good few millimeters. Place the matches on a table in front of the person in the shape of a T, with the horizontal line facing away from them.


Now, very simply, and for money if you like… are those two matches the same length?

Seal the Deal and Reveal

They look the same length, so they should agree that they’re the same length. If they don’t agree, continue anyway.


The human brain does something weird when it sees this shape, even when…

Slide the matches alongside one another, revealing that one is shorter.


One match is shorter than the other… yet they look the same.

Some extra lines you can try

  • They’re called matches, but they don’t match.
  • Don’t blame your eyes, blame your brain.
  • That also happens to be the world’s cheapest puzzle.
Alternative ending

Prep two more matches beforehand, both exactly the same length. Ask them to do it again - to keep them guessing.

Anticipated responses and retorts

Have you finally found your matches?

Prepare for some heat!

Do you go to great lengths here?

Just a wee bit.

Wood you show me that again?

I wood love too. This is getting a bit wooden though.
Good follow ups
When & where
When to use it
  • When you want to match make.
  • When you want to strike up a conversation.
  • When you need to spark people’s interest.
Where to use it
  • the canteen
  • informal gatherings
  • team building events
  • mentoring
  • customer visits
  • cocktail functions
  • socializing at the bar
Getting ready
Items required
  • Two matches
  • Cut the heads off the matches and make sure that one match is slightly shorter afterwards.
Training required
  • Prepare the matches once and will be a match maker for life.
Watch out (potential unexpected effects)
  • Don’t get burned.

type type

Do It Yourself (DIY)

material material

a couple of matches

size size

will fit in your pocket

durability durability

matches break – you may need some spares

source source

the ether

time to impact time to impact

pretty much there and then

size of audience size of audience

one-on-one or a small group

possible health risk possible health risk

don’t pee in your bed

reusable how many times you can use it

a few times

training needed training needed

do it once on your own to get a feel for it

Leave your comments and see what others say

We would be happy to hear from you.
Login and leave your comments below. How easy is that?


0 total
Be the first to leave a comment