Sunday, February 01, 2009


The Mechanics of Gender Differences

Upon hearing that I would become a parent, I began informing friends and familial acquaintances of the fact. At first, their responses expressed their elation and amazement as to the creation of new life, but this soon gave way to their queries.

“Were you planning this?” was among their speculative inquiries. To this, I responded in the negative, pointing out that many of life’s most superlative outcomes, like discovering the law of gravity and chewing gum, took place wholly by accident.

“What did you do?” was a question asked of me by a pair of vicenarian Korean women where I attend church. You may take me as serious in reporting that I was, in fact asked this a pair of times; though I must also report my uncertainty as to their seriousness in inquiring of it.

My response to them was, in both occasions, to inform them that it had been the responsibility of their parents to explain the mechanics of the process. If said parents had not met this mandate, I informed them, I was not about to fulfill it in their stead.

“What do you prefer, boy or girl?” is the query I have been asked most often since we discovered the baby’s presence. I suspect it will be a recurring question, at least until we can tell them what, preferences aside, the gender status is.

The short, simple answer of “Both are fine” has gone a long way in satisfying their thirst for knowledge. That does not mean, however, that both are of equal standing. Let’s explore the advantages of both male and female offspring, at least from the standpoint and experience of male parentage.

The Advantages of Having a Boy: An adult male can understand the instincts and desires of his male progeny more easily than he can female offspring. He can also more readily impart upon a boy the knowledge necessary to fulfill his masculine impulses and help them develop in a positive way.

The Advantages of Having a Girl: Girls lack the masculine impulses that make their male counterparts fascinated with bodily functions and cause them to assume that others will be similarly impressed. Prepubescent females are also far less likely to have the impulse which causes young boys to consider violence directed at small animals a hobby.

Let’s now move on to the drawbacks involved in the rearing of both genders; at least, those disadvantages that especially come into consideration from a male parent’s view.

The Disadvantages of Having a Boy: A male parent can recall the insecurities that a young man face when it is revealed that, among his peers, he is not the most naturally athletic, scholastically gifted, charismatic or pleasing in appearance. If he attends a high school of more than 1,000 people, the odds suggest that he will be none of those things, meaning he’ll have to work harder to establish a niche in life. It will be your responsibility as a father to impart upon him the skills and the work ethic required to do so.

The Disadvantages of Having a Girl: A male parent can recall, all-to-clearly, what his hormone-addled mind was occupying itself with in his teen years, and what similarly encumbered minds will one day be thinking when they look at your young daughter. In case you’ve never been a young male, here’s a hint: It has something to do with mechanics.

Each of these outcomes thus requires a certain response and preparation from fathers-to-be. Being the male parent in each case will require the following:

If it’s a boy you must be the wise and inspirational figure your son will turn to for knowledge. You can teach him how to fulfill his masculine impulses while showing him how to temper his more destructive and less socially acceptable tendencies. Begin reading about young male development and reflecting on what you wish you’d been told when you were growing up.

If it’s a girl you must be able to credibly and realistically threaten the safety of the young men her age. Begin weight training, studying a martial art and then practice standing at a doorway while scowling. If one or more of these options is not available, you might consider gun ownership.

The difficulty with the early part of the pregnancy is that the father cannot be sure as to whether his role will be one of enlightening or terrifying young male minds. The first few times you see the image of your child’s sonogram, its gender won’t be apparent. Even in later visits, the baby may conceal its status through careful positioning. In this case, you can take heart that, if it is a girl, then she knows how to protect herself.

Until its status becomes clear, what can the father do in order to adequately prepare for both possibilities? Do you need to start training yourself to be the enlightened male role model as well as the guardian or your daughter’s purity?

Yes you do, actually. After all, just because you’ll have one of the two types now doesn’t mean you won’t have the other later, so get to work.

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