Is "Two and a half men" an old saying?

My apologies if this should have been a Cafe Society thread, as it does deal with both a novel and TV series. But my question is primarily about an English idiom, so I stuck it here.

I’m working my way through Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead.” Mind you, this was published in 1943. There is one passage (bottom of page 423 of the 50th anniversary paperback edition) where Peter Keating (a mediocre but commercially successful architect) is bemoaning the fact that another architect, who he considers inferior to himself, has a nicer home. He states:

Italics are mine. The nature of this passage makes me wonder if “two and a half men” was some sort of idiomatic expression in the 1940s. And if so, does that give us any insight into the current TV series, and perhaps even into the self-destructive nature of the erstwhile star of that series?

Maybe I’m over-thinking the entire thing, but the fact remains that the phrase “two and a half men” sticks out like a sore thumb in a book that is over sixty years old! Any thoughts? Thanks!..TRM

Yes, you’re overthinking it. Try the following: Put the phrase “two and a half men” into Google Ngram:

When I do it, I get a lot of results for the past few years, nearly all of which have to do with the TV show and a small number of results for earlier years, which seem to be just random uses of the phrase.

Maybe yes, maybe no.
At school/work, when there was a short person around, and somebody asked how many people were there, some wit would always correct the total to X and 1/2, the fraction being the short person.
This scenario was at least from the 70s.
Best wishes,

Now that you mention it, I remember hearing it in restaurant scenarios years ago. As in, a couple and a child would be sent to a “table for two and a half.” Maybe it’s related to that.

I recall this phrase enjoying some use as colloquialism for large men of unrestrained appetites.