Friday, May 23, 2008

Something So Very Y

It's that little something we girls don't have.

For such a small chromosome, it carries a lot of information. There's the usual stuff like testosterone and all the equipment that is required for maleness, and then there's the hardwiring that makes guys feel uncomfortable with pastel colors, arty films and light dinners that are salad and soup. These unspoken extras that come with the transfer of a Y chromosome from Man to conceived man, are part of a world that we as women, lacking that essential "Y"ness, can't quite grasp.

This otherness is best explained by example. The Y ensures that men eschew the mall, buy things in bulk like three 20 quart bottles of Ragu packaged together and can listen to sports other than baseball on the radio without the assistance of chemical stimulants.

Y also carries with it, the secrets of the humor of the three stooges, successful war strategies for games online, and how to watch movies about people on submarines with enthusiasm. People with Y chromosomes bought Iron Man comic books before the movie was even considered.

Lest anyone think I'm stereotyping, I have been told, by those in the Y club, that I'd make a pretty good candidate if I weren't a girl. I'm more comfortable at a football stadium than an art museum and have been apparently, though I'm not admitting anything, witnessed to accidentally nod off at a symphony but never a ball game.

Still, the Y chromosome carries with it unknown elements. Free radical personality traits that latch onto perfectly reasonable males and thus render individuals incomprehensible to those lacking this essential bit of DNA sequencing with Yness before maturation, perhaps the most confusing of all.

A young Y owning human can wear the same shirt to bed he wore for the day and then come down saying "I'm dressed." still wearing the same wardrobe. A young Y can come home with a bad grade and five minutes after snack ask, "Can I go see a movie tonight? It's the opening for the latest...insert summer blockbuster Y movie here of your choice" A young Y is puzzled that bacon is not served daily, or that women folk get irritated when the carton of orange juice is put back in the refrigerator with a measurable two teaspoons left. "I put the juice away Mom." they volunteer helpfully.

Still, we love these genetically different creatures of the same genotype. They remove mice and mow the lawns and even hall screaming toddlers off to bed. They offer to grill food and have been known to organize games of Capture the flag and sometimes the sub movies are watchable. I go upstairs to turn off the stereo of my oldest Y offspring. It is blaring James Bond instrumentals for the Trombone. Walking in, I see his sleeping form and smile. Turning off the stereo, I spot a large three gallon bottle of Deer Park in the middle of the floor.

I shouldn't be surprised. This has happened before. We have had discussions about leaving large vats of H20 in the middle of the room when he has his own private bathroom with a working sink just five feet away.

"Y son? Y?" is all I can think.

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