Chicago dad ponders the value of boysTuesday, February 04, 2014
White Dad Problems
This week's blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster (his non-white, non-dad wife), and their daughter, Viva, who is, thank goodness, a girl.
Much ink has been spilled in the past several years about the crisis facing the boys of America: They're more likely to be expelled, they lag behind in literacy, and despite preferential admission, soon only 40 percent of college graduate will be male. There is also the commonly held belief that they are made of "snips and snails, and puppy dog tails," and while I haven't a clue what "snips" are, snails and puppy dog tails are disgusting.
If my wife and I choose to grow our family any more, we face a terrifying possibility: What if we have another baby ... and it is a boy?
As the father of a girl, and as a (graying) boy myself, I have to look around at the boys I see in playgroups and schools and my friends' homes and ask myself the painful questions, "Is the long history of male hegemony over, and what role can males play in a civilized, technocratic, feminized world?"
The answer to Question One: Yes.
And Question Two: None, because we are dumb.
Males have long held the reins of power in this world because, since we first crawled out of the primordial ooze, the most useful skill most animals could hone is the ability to beat their competition to death with old femur bones in front of black obelisks. Fight, eat, screw - things most men are at least interested in, if not good at. Times have changed, and now the world requires things like rational focus, patience, and rational thought - areas in which boys are lagging behind.
Look at your male child - ask him to stop running around the family room in circles with his Minecraft toy for a second - and look at him! From birth to grade school, he'll be a mewling, mumbling, rammy mess - behind the girls his age in every measurable way: height, communicating, behavior, hygiene.
Places that allow children (park districts, schools, restaurants with Ski-Ball machines) are miserable places and not because of the girls in their pink high tops and "One Direction" T-shirts, but because of the screaming, running, fighting boys. Unstoppable juggernauts of flatulence and karate chops.
And once your son reaches an age where he stops crying every time Mommy is out of sight, letting snot drip all over his stupid blue overalls, he becomes a bully and a tyrant. He will drive his teachers to drink and prevent the girls in the classroom from any kind of effective learning by singing songs about how "Batman smells," leaving them to doodle hearts on their Lisa Frank notebooks and wish they'd gone to Catholic school.
(It is said that "No Child Left Behind" has been especially hard on boys, because it focuses on things like sitting still, keeping quiet, listening, and remembering. In other words, it requires children not to be stupid jerks. Not being a stupid jerk is an almost impossible task for a boy.)
This continues through college, by which time your son will have become beer-swilling, Urban Dictionary slang generating machine who spends most of his time sleeping, shaving other dudes' heads over dorm sinks, and laughing about "the Schocker" while listening to Nickelback.
Then there is a brief post college period in which, if you're lucky, your son will behave like a second-rate David Mamet character: golfing, drinking whiskey infused with the moldy, earthy funk of burned peat, and going bald.
And after a few years of this stage he will drop dead over a paper bowl of Caribbean Jerk flavored chicken parts at Buffalo Wild Wings, leaving his wife to spend the next 50 years attending matinee performance of Jerry Herman musicals with the other widows. That's what men are better at than women: dying.
Of course there is no place for boys in modern society, because the long arc of civilization bends towards justice, and there is no justice in letting the male gender thrive. You know what I'm thinking about right now? Your boobs. Well, sometimes I'm running the G.I. Joe theme song in my head over and over, but most of the time I'm thinking about your boobs. And I'm one of the good guys.
If the British are to be trusted (and they aren't - these are the people who forced Russell Brand on us), their scientists have even come up with a way to grow sperm cells from stem cells, meaning men are now officially obsolete, unless you need a jar opened and didn't buy some kind of vice grip off of QVC.
So what's a couple to do when wondering whether or not to procreate? Pay exorbitant fees to have the male embryos dropped into the fires of Mount Doom, or knowingly release more boys into the world - helping society only by stimulating the economy with more sales of Spider Man pajamas?
I wish I had an answer, but I'm a boy, and I mostly just want to go outside and jump off the swings.
Boy, Viva Rocco (Age 2), Marker on White Board, 2014
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