The Y Chromosome

The Y Chromosome

The other day I mistook the dog medicine for my cough medicine. I realised my error after the second teaspoon.

Panicked, I barked at my wife, ‘What’s the dog medicine for?’

‘The dog.’

‘Yeah, I know that, but why does the dog need it? I’ve just had two teaspoonfuls of it.’

‘Why did you do that? If you knew it was for the dog.’

‘Why the fuck do you think I did it? To be more dog? It was a mistake. I’m a man; men make mistakes. You know that.’

Other than taking off down the street a couple of hours later in pursuit of a tortoiseshell cat and then cocking my leg at a street lamp, there were no immediately noticeable side effects.

The bigger concern is the possibility that this incident could be further evidence of natural selection at work. What with the declining sperm count in men and the continual atrophy of the Y chromosome, there has been some speculation that within 5,000 generations the male of the human species will become extinct.

I think it could happen a little sooner than that.

Men are disappearing. My company has gone from being 100% male when it started ten years ago to 50:50 at the end of last year. Three months and six female hires later, the women have taken over, and our corporate testosterone count is down to 43%. It’s the same story at home where the equilibrium between the sexes was lost when my son decamped to Durham, leaving me in an uncomfortable minority of one.

I’m surrounded by women.

Even the dog is a bitch.

The only two places where men outnumber women seem to be the Conservative front bench and the bicycle lanes of London. This is probably Darwinism at work. Men are ending up in those places where any reasonably intelligent person would know not to venture.

My wife certainly plays on my deficient male cognitive ability.

A few years ago, I announced that I was considering shaving all my remaining hair off to become completely bald. ‘You can’t do that’, I was told, ‘You have a funny shaped head’. I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant by this but accepted it anyway. It was a conversation that has repeated itself several occasions since.

Only recently, when sitting in the barber’s chair having my regular ‘number one’ all over, did I have a rare opportunity to examine my head in the mirror. I realised I have so little hair, and cut the little I have so short, that the contours of my head are clear for anyone to see, whether I shave the last few remaining follicles off or not. I had been duped by my wife, who took advantage of my little brain. When I challenged her on it she said, ‘I like you better with longer hair’.

‘Well, so do I’, I thought. I like me better with longer hair, but sadly it’s not an option. She might as well have said, ‘I like you better when you are a virile twentysomething that is not hard of hearing and can read menus in dimly lit restaurants.’ That version of me is long gone.

Decline and fall. Me, the brotherhood and the Y chromosome are on our way out.

I wonder if the Dodo entertained similar thoughts before that final fateful leap into the unknown.

March 2014

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