Programmed into the male DNA

Photo by Olgite

One of the byproducts of being the mommy of a little boy is that I have been able to observe first-hand how the male mentality (like a light) gets switched on. Up until now, this illuminating understanding had escaped me. There's a particular reason for that. My men (and you may feel free to consider me a Mata Hari of sorts) have all arrived in my life already lit from within by their little gender-specific idiosyncrasies.

Of course, no two guys are alike and you should keep in mind that I'm speaking in generalities only as regards the following observations. Now, in spite of the caveat, there are CERTAIN things that all men universally do and which we women RECOGNIZE as things that MEN DO, because well... men are men.

Somehow (and you'll surely find this silly), I had thought that in creating my little boy, I'd kick some rasa into his tabula. I thought, that I'd be able to circumvent (wait... strike that) that I'd be able to short-circuit - (yes... that's better, but not quite there yet), that I'd be able to surgically strike (brilliant!) at the heart of all the little quirks my collective experience of men, has categorized as UNDESIRABLE behaviors. In other words, I actually thought that my little boy, who will someday be some other woman's man (after all the hard work I've put in), would be a masterpiece of manliness without all that other crappy stuff we just know in our heart of hearts (don't deny it, this is a friendly space and we're allowed to bash here) us good womenfolk could do without.

I think that my mistake lay (no - well yes, there was a bit of hubris involved) in assuming that what I considered typical manly behavior was something that was learned, something that could only be acquired through observation and then (unfortunately) emulated into ghastly perfection. I THOUGHT (this is me laughing out loud) that I'd nip it all in the bud. Easy peasy. I mean really? How hard can it be to train one little boy into a fine specimen of the ideal man? (Did I use the word hubris already?)

Well, the joke is on me most definitely. Yesterday I witnessed how all the bad stuff comes hardwired, waiting on some sort of stealth mechanism mode to just surface at a point where a mother like me, who prides herself on all the lovely manners she thinks she is somehow managing to teach her child, can't help but realize that no matter what, I will NEVER SUCCEED in my endeavors.

This is what took place: I took my son out to the pool, neat as a pin, swimming trunks on and inflatables on his arms. Not two minutes later, he'd managed to divest himself of both and was looking blissfully happy as he petted his frontal nether regions, pulling on his wee wee as if to reassure it that there would be no more of that uncomfortable inner netting to confine it. Next, he alternatively strutted and ran while I tried chasing him back into his trunks. Once he realized however that I had given up and that au naturel pool bathing had won out, the bottom scratching began. Scratch, scratch. No modesty - no care in the world.

Out of my reach, he deliberately arched his little body and peed right into our clean pool. THEN, he leaned in and inspected his handiwork. I didn't say a word. There was challenge in his eyes. I opted not to rise to it. Finally, coming close to where I sat, cognizant of my defeat and internally fuming, he lay down on his towel, belched, passed wind, smiled a beatific smile and eventually let the sun lull him into sleep. Sometime later, a little into his snoring, he passed wind once more. It was the final nail into the coffin of my Pavlovian dreams. I'm sure that the woman who will one day top me in the scale of his love, will surely enjoy all that his dear mother taught him.


On a completely different note: For if you didn't catch it the other day, when you should have... You may thank me later for posting it for you.


  1. I think I'm missing something here. Did he do something wrong?

  2. Thomas: Why is it that I feel like showing you off in a Vanna White-like impersonation whilst I say ta-da and add: There you have it ladies and gentlemen! A prime specimen if I ever saw one!

    So right of you to point out the obvious Thomas. Nothing wrong with the picture. The kid's adorable even when butt scratching.

  3. all I know... God gave me what he felt I could handle... i have two girls! :)

  4. Funny!!

    Definitely one of the big lessons i learned as a mother. i thought kids LEARNED all these things. But 99% of it seems to be nature not nurture.

  5. Hey, I know what you mean about those nasty habits hardwired into boys. But you know they're not exclusive to the male sex. The other day I caught my 21-month-old daughter with a naughty little grin on her face. When I looked closer I found she had stuffed the electric toothbrush down the front of her nappy and had switched it on to max. ...

  6. i am never awake that late, so i am glad you posted that jon stewart clip.
    that was funny.
    also, please please please...could you one day take a photo of Chesca Street?
    I would love to post it on my blog.
    Wait, that does not count as an act of hubris, does it?

  7. That was the most hilarious and lovely image that you painted of your little boy....now if you really want to embarass him someday, recite that story when he reaches the teen years and brings his girlfriend home to meet you for the first time....!

  8. I think I'm married to some sort of later version of your son...oh wait, that was just you're point - we're ALL married to that later version of an instinctual animal who finds nothing wrong with itching a scratch, no matter the company, no matter the anatomical location. (p.s. I'm reading Dowd's Are Men Necessary?. Your observations about the relative ineffectualness of trying to change what's innate comes at the right time for me.)

    Thanks for posting Stewart on Letterman - priceless.

  9. And yet I wouldn't care how much Jon Stewart did each of those things you described your boy doing, if he would just come and live with me and make me laugh every day.

    That's how they reel us in, you know? With laughter, and all those endorphins. With kissing. (Just one long afternoon, Jon...)

    Or with cash. (Wait, wrong century, wrong neighborhood.) :-)

    I loved every bit of this.

  10. Too funny. I was raised in a family with two sisters. I was amazed when I had my son how he instantly gravitated towards boy things. One day I went to pick him up from day care, and the serious teacher came to me and proceeded to tell me how he had gotten in trouble that day, for peeing in the sand box. I burst into laughter, before I was able to stop myself. Before we were done, she was laughing too.

  11. Carissa: Don't shortchange yourself. I'm sure you could handle more than your two adorable little girls.

    Kelcey: They come hardwired. The personalities preset. Likes and dislikes already determined. That's the way it is.

    Louise: I laughed and laughed and laughed at this image. I want to say way to go! to your little girl but ahem... I'm sure I have no idea what possibly she could have been enjoying so. ;-)

    Chesca dear: No, no act of hubris there. I'd like streets with my name on them too and I don't think there is anything whatsoever wrong with that. Soon I will send you the photo of it. Busy weekend, rainy day today. Please excuse the delay in getting it to you. Also, glad you liked the Jon Stewart clip. I love the guy.

    Suzanne: Oh Suzanne... I am sure there will be so many more good ones to choose from in the intervening years until THAT moment comes, that I'm sure I will be hard-pressed to remember this one.

    Cce: Heading over to Amazon to look for this book. Not that I need to read it to answer the question but I love this kind of hypothetical what if. So happy you enjoyed the clip also.

    Jennifer: You'll have to fight me for him. I love the guy too. Little hands and all. Have you noticed how small his hands are? I've always liked big handed guys but Jon has so much of everything else that makes life worthwhile, that like I said - It'll be between me and you sister. And he does look like he'd be a good kisser doesn't he? It's those smiley eyes of his.

    Glad to see you again. I was missing you.

    Searching within: Hi. Welcome. Loved the peeing in the sandbox story. Apparently, little boys think alike. I'm sure that if I had a sandbox, he'd be doing the deed there too. Come to think of it, some of my ferns have been looking kind of weird lately, hmmm...

  12. Oh man, funny! Right? Laughing with you.....ok maybe you are not laughing. :)

  13. Sounds all too familiar... :) I'm guessing that this phenomena crosses cultural barriers as well. Let me know when you return!


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