Heater, Mother of Lance

Coming to Terms with the Y Chromosome

So here’s the thing about men: the thing is, all men are airheads.

And I’m not trying to pick a fight or necessarily make a sweeping generalization, it’s just a conclusion I’ve come to after years and years of empirical study. My husband is an airhead, all of his male friends are airheads, all of my friends’ husbands and boyfriends are airheads. I’ve never met an exception.

Granted, everyone has their moments of airheadedness, of misplacing wallets and getting lost and mistaking the salt for the sugar. But the airhead gene that is carried on the Y chromosome is far more pronounced and ferocious than the airhead gene carried on the X chromosome. Women may misplace keys, but a man will walk around the house for twenty fucking minutes looking for his keys only to realize that he’s had them in his hand the whole time.

And I’m not saying that being an airhead is such a bad thing, it’s just something I’ve had to learn to deal with. I’ve had to learn that men will most likely lose track of time while they are sitting on the toilet, and when I say lose track of time I mean that they will not realize that they have been reading Macworld for over 90 minutes while sitting bare-bottomed on a cold porcelain pot. My husband often wonders why he has a permanent red indentation around his upper thighs.

Men will forget that the dog is a living, breathing being, and when you point out that the dog has had an empty water bowl for over 12 hours a man will say, “But he had a drink this morning, I don’t see the problem.” When you ask if he’s fed the dog he’ll say, “He ate yesterday. You mean he has to eat everyday?”

Men will put in their contact lenses, forget they have put in their contact lenses, put on their glasses and wonder why everything is so blurry.

A man will fill the teapot to the brim with water, turn on the stove and walk away. 5 minutes later in the middle of a riveting article on G4 upgrade cards and their relative installation times, he’ll wonder from the safety of the commode what the hell that screaming, hissing noise is and why the dog is howling. 10 minutes later, after the hissing has turned into sizzling and the fire alarm has sounded, he’ll muse to himself, “I really like the PowerForce G4 Series 100 1GHz, I wonder how fast they could ship it?”

And just when I think I’ve learned everything, when I think the airheadedness had reached it’s most ridiculous form, my husband will walk up to me, look at me with those lovely hazel eyes through his trendy Isaac Mizrahi glasses and ask with pained seriousness, “Have you see my glasses?”

  • Dave

    2003/02/27 at 11:01 am

    Guilty as charged.

  • Amanda Lew

    2003/02/27 at 11:06 am

    Amen, sister. A-fucking-men.

  • the husband

    2003/02/27 at 11:06 am

    We also have a kind of selective amnesia.

  • helenjane

    2003/02/27 at 11:08 am

    oh sweet baby jesus, that sounds like me…

    am i a man?

  • Faybert

    2003/02/27 at 11:09 am

    I am positive anyone that has worn glasses since they were old enough to read has looked for their glasses while they were on their face. But only the true airheads walk around for anything more than .3 seconds looking for the keys in their hand.

    The toilet thing, yeah, I think we have all lost track of time, but 90 minutes is just plain out of control, you need to curb that =p.

  • Chip Tijuana

    2003/02/27 at 11:11 am

    I think being an airhead combined with the selective amnesia is what keeps us sane. There’s no figuring women, so why bother, and while we’re at it, why bother figuring anything out. It’s easier to live in a bubble of ignorant bliss.

  • Marie

    2003/02/27 at 11:11 am

    My personal favorite is their comple inability to find anything in the fucking kitchen; not in the fridge, pantry or cabinets. And you tell them, “it’s on the 3rd shelf, sorta to the left” (mentally visualizing EXACTLY where it is)–they whine that they can’t find it, so you get up and promply find whatever-it-is, exactly where you said it would be!!!!!!!! ugghhhh

  • jenb

    2003/02/27 at 11:12 am

    My husband once called his mom (while he was still single) 4000 KM away to see if she might have an idea of where his wallet was. 4000 KM away.

  • Evan

    2003/02/27 at 11:17 am

    The husband has a point. The selective amnesia thing is definitely a biological mechanism developed by males in order to compensate for the…..uhhh….I’m sorry, what was I saying?

  • brunette_with_class

    2003/02/27 at 11:18 am

    I call the problem “man syndrome”. This is when a man is staring at something RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR FACE, (usually tends to be something in the fridge they can’t find) and yell “Hunny, where is the _______”?!?!?

    Right in front of your face dumbass! lmao

  • Beerzie Boy

    2003/02/27 at 11:23 am

    You forgot NOT LISTENING! That’s the whole thing; we NEVER LISTEN!

    Now what was it you were saying?

  • David

    2003/02/27 at 11:29 am

    You’ve just reminded me, I’ve left the kettle on…

  • mbc

    2003/02/27 at 11:30 am

    the porcelain is only cold for the first 30 seconds.

  • Lively Lady

    2003/02/27 at 11:30 am

    Amen to that. However, the Y chromosome has another weakness as well: the “I shoulda” syndrome. I have sworn to have this engraved on hubbies’ tombstone.

  • Alex

    2003/02/27 at 11:31 am

    Classic y-chromosome moment:

    A few years back, a bad snowstorm made it almost impossible to find a parking space. There was a pseudo spot not too far from our apartment ñ I say pseudo, because really only a Yugo or Mini-Cooper would have fit.

    “Here’s a spot” the husband says.

    “You won’t fit” I say.

    “Yes I will” he says.

    “You’ll get stuck.”

    “No I won’t.”

    After about 5 minutes backing up, pulling out, backing up, pulling out, the wheels of our car begin spinning, we stop moving and he says incredulously, “Hey, we got stuck!”

  • abby

    2003/02/27 at 11:36 am

    my boyfriend conveniently can’t find ANYTHING when i send him to the grocery store. Soup? “They didn’t have it.” “Did you look in the canned aisle?” “Uhhh….” Mushrooms? “They didn’t have them.” “Did you look in the produce section?” “………………….No.”
    All of which leads me to suspect that the airheadedness is just a calculated method of getting us to do all the work.
    Think about it, ladies.

  • Heather #2

    2003/02/27 at 11:41 am

    My husband was completely opposite. HE would remind ME of things I did during my childhood, where I left my shoes, or the three things I forgot to do. One time we spent twenty minutes looking for my keys, which were normally in the side pocket of my purse. So then he found them – in the side pocket of my purse.

    My Y chromosome problem had to due with libido, fucking ass. He just couldn’t keep “it” in his pants. Which I never understood because IT WAS TINY!

  • Heather #2

    2003/02/27 at 11:42 am

    Um….yeah. “Due”. Right.

  • Filter

    2003/02/27 at 11:43 am

    Step 1 is identifying the problem.

    Step 2 is using it to your advantage.

    I can be as dumb (airheaded) as a fox when I can gain an advantage from it.

  • mark

    2003/02/27 at 11:43 am

    I am forever forgeting where i left my glass. There are half-full glasses of water all over my apartment because I forget where I left them and immediately pour another one.

    and I bought black glasses so I could find them more easily.

  • Anne

    2003/02/27 at 11:46 am

    My boyfriend has chronic “my – imaginary – directions – are – better – than – those – printed – on – the – box.” Last night, for example, the brownies called for one egg, 1/3 water, 1/3 oil. Well, we ended up with 2/3 water (he couldn’t decide between olive or vegetable, so we went without), 2 eggs, and twice the temperature to halve the baking time.

    When I asked if he followed the directions, he looked at me like I was crazy for even suggesting that he wouldn’t.

  • drew

    2003/02/27 at 11:46 am

    i hate it when my legs fall asleep because my elbows cut off the blood to them while i’m reading.

  • zchamu

    2003/02/27 at 11:49 am


    Don’t forget lacking the ability to comprehend where anything goes in their house they have lived in for ages. “Where does the frying pan go?” In the cupboard, with ALL THE OTHER frying pans, where they went LAST WEEK when you asked me the same question, where they have ALWAYS gone.

    It’s an amazing thing.

  • * Jen *

    2003/02/27 at 11:53 am

    They also forget how to fold laundry,empty the dishwasher, close drawers and cabinets, throw away empty booze bottles, rinse their stubble out of the sink and….oh jesus. It’s useless.

    And by the way, I am SO BUMMED that Mr. Rogers died.

  • Wayne

    2003/02/27 at 12:05 pm

    goodbye, dooce…

  • hartwell

    2003/02/27 at 12:05 pm

    I am printing this post right now and bringing it home for my XY to read.

    Just yesterday, I emailed him twice and called him once to remind him to bring something very important home from work. When he walked in the door at 6pm, he said “You’re going to kill me.” And to think that I placed the reminder call at 5:15pm – only 45 minutes earlier. 45 minutes!!

  • da

    2003/02/27 at 12:07 pm

    it’s not that we are airheads, we just have something else on our minds. (britany’s breasts usually)

  • Carrie

    2003/02/27 at 12:14 pm

    Everything you just said – and more! My lovely, sweet b/f just moved, and when he opened his old microwave in front of me and murmured that he ought to clean it, he followed up that thought by admitting to me that he didn’t know what to clean it with. He’s had this thing for at least 5 years – do the math with me.

    Although I have to admit that whenever I wear contacts, I still have a nervous habit of pushing up my glasses – which aren’t really there – so I end up poking myself in the bridge of the nose for no apparent reason. So, we do weird things, too. LOTS of them.

  • Zan

    2003/02/27 at 12:20 pm

    Where the heck ARE my keys anyway?

  • chizantski

    2003/02/27 at 12:23 pm

    I’m not only airheaded w/selective amnesia, to top it all off, i have tunnel vision, when it comes to people getting my attention. It’s as if my brain has two mechanisms. one to sense that my attention is needed and the other to trigger my response. I think i’m missing the second and very crucial mechanism. If i am concentrating on something (computer, most of the time) and someone wants my attention, they often stammer and get pissed, and just as they are about to turn away my response mechanism turns on, and makes the situation worse. I swear to all my future girlfriends, wives and ex-wives that i am not doing this on purpose.

    i’m not sure if this is a guy thing, although I definitely inherited it from my father. any other guys have smiliar lapses? my dating career has been paltry and anemic because of this social-life threathening illness.

  • Naaman

    2003/02/27 at 12:25 pm

    Nature vs. Nurture

    Besides, the world needs balance.

  • scot-on-the-rocks

    2003/02/27 at 12:36 pm

    What you’ve described is selective disconnection rather than a lack of faculty or function.

    In most relationships the adroit man learns early to surrender to his woman’s unique drive to feel brighter about the everyday, more in touch with their proximal physical surroundings and the need to be a final authority in questions of connection to other people’s needs…including the needs of the man.

    If men pay attention, they are given the signs early, as evidenced by a common exchange during the courtship.

    he…”Where would you like to go for dinner.”

    she..”I don’t know, anywhere you want to go is just fine with me. I love every place we go. Just so we’re together”

    he..”Great, let’s have Mexican..”

    she..”Mexican! We ate Mexican last week…I want something like Greek..”

    he…”Greek! Yeah, I’d rather have that too! Greek it is!”

    Such expert conditioning helps us learn to behave like the mules you prefer us to be.

    Having been cursed with an ability to recall with crystal clarity even a person’s facial expression from conversations years before, I dare not use the skill too much. Such recall is only a curse should I make use of it during a “reasoning” session with my woman. Her defense is to accuse me of “man”ipulation. Therefore, I’ve learned the futility of using that gift in helping to decide issues between us. I’d rather just surrender than attempt to prevail in the moment by bringing up an accurate account of previous mutual understandings or decisions.

    So, I simple act stupid and give her what she wants…control being at the top of the list… Result..I appear the dunce; she can both save and improve me…and she loves it that way!

    Happiness rules…her happiness that is!

  • Libbyo

    2003/02/27 at 12:37 pm

    Hmmm, in my world I seem to be the airheaded one (if airheaded means total absentmindedness which you seem to imply) although when it comes to getting things done, my H is the airhead all the way.

  • UnderwearNinja

    2003/02/27 at 12:43 pm

    No argument from me, I’m a total space cadet. I don’t think I’ve ever spent 90 minutes in the bathroom because I forgot I was in there, but I have spent 90 minutes in the bathroom because that last little bit wouldnt drop off and I was determined to wait it out.

  • Sherm42

    2003/02/27 at 12:48 pm

    My wife is actually the one with the airhead qualities. Just around me though. In her professional life, she’s a super badass that can do anything. Personal life is another story.

    The only thing I am somewhat of an airhead about is cleaning. I generally seem to do a halfassed job so she will become frustrated and just do it herself. I don’t mean to do it on purpose, I just DON’T WANT TO CLEAN.

  • Donna

    2003/02/27 at 12:49 pm

    A few years ago I let my cousin and her boyfriend stay with me until they got their own place. Big mistake. This guy decides he wants to cook french fries in an inch of oil in a cheap pan on the stove. So he heats the oil, goes to the washroom, watches tv, and then finally remembers. Even after all that time he still throws the fries in the oil. They instantly alight, and my kitchen is on fire.
    They moved out shortly after that.

  • Lex

    2003/02/27 at 12:50 pm

    You’re onto something, Dooce. My wife has poured years of study into what she identifies as “male blindness.” See, she’s the gifted cook in the family and I’m the one who’s perfectly happy to just nuke a frozen dinner if it’ll get me into a book or a Braves game faster, so of COURSE I don’t know where the damn frying pan goes: I never use it.

    Now, OTOH, the fatal FEMALE flaw is keeping score, by which I mean remembering every little slight, insult and oversight, and BRINGING IT UP IN THE MIDDLE OF ARGUMENTS OVER SUBJECTS TO WHICH THESE SLIGHTS, INSULTS AND OVERSIGHTS ARE IRRELEVANT. (yes, I was shouting.) One reason guys often appear so disconnected is that that’s the only way NOT to keep score, because if both parties to a marriage kept score, there’d soon be no marriage. Anywhere.

  • lee

    2003/02/27 at 12:56 pm

    Mr. Rogers died?

  • Yahmdallah

    2003/02/27 at 12:58 pm

    Actually, it’s just a built-in mechanism that assures we’ll talk to you once in a while. The larger culprit is intense concentration to the exclusion of all else, so God, in His wisdom, made us airheads so we would come around and interact once in a while, e.g. “Where are my pants?” The grand scheme of things is awesome sometimes, no?

  • Denise

    2003/02/27 at 1:14 pm

    The airheadedness comes from being taken care of by their mothers. More boys than girls are taken care of by their mothers, whereas more girls than boys are enlisted to help their mothers. And that’s one way that the sex roles are perpetuated generation after generation. And why men can’t find anything in the kitchen or clean the bathroom once in awhile.

  • GK

    2003/02/27 at 1:14 pm

    I think you’re confusing men’s inability to focus on more than one thing at a time with airheadedness. Women — who historically tended children, stoked the home fires, fed the animals, prepared the food, stroked men’s egos, &tc. while men hunted that ONE ANIMAL singlemindedly — developed the ability to think about a number of issues at once, a skill that was eventually coded into their DNA. Singleminded men just have a long way to go to catch up.

  • Myopic Joe

    2003/02/27 at 1:19 pm

    Concerning the Mac issues:

    Men are bigger boys with more expensive toys.

    Concerning 90 minutes on the potty:

    Taking a dump has gotta rank up there with one of the most relaxing momments in my day. Of course that doesn’t hold true during constipation, but oddly it’s more pleasurable with diarrhea…anyways, I find the whole experience rather meditative. Give your husband a few more years and I think he’ll transcend the superficial world of G4 upgrades and achieve enlightenment.

    Question Dooce, do you and your hubby have an Air Port card in your iBook? Wireless internet + laptop + commode = what more could you want?

  • Myopic Joe also

    2003/02/27 at 1:32 pm

    Hmm I should like to modify that formula:

    Wireless internet + laptop + commode – annoying (though still cherished, glad to have married, never live without her) family members = what more could you want?


    Ha ha sounds like your boyfriend is math/science oriented. Get him to watch Alton Brown’s Good Eats show on Food TV.

  • Brandon

    2003/02/27 at 1:49 pm

    So I’ve been missing my glasses for about a week now. They aren’t super important…I can see without them. But, needless to say, without them I get eye strain and eye strain leads to headaches.

    So I’m sitting here with a throbbing headache, wondering if I’m going to actually invest any time in attempting to find my glasses or whether it would just be more productive to go home and bitch to my significant other that I have a really bad headache and I’m not sure why.

    Thank you Y Chromosome!

  • El Guapo

    2003/02/27 at 2:25 pm

    My wife is constantly amazed at how I can perform a monotonous task (driving, mowing, etc.) without thinking of anything. She is always processing data and feelings, while I can honestly say I have spent extended periods thinking about nothing. I, like many of my gender, am also able to remember trivia, song lyrics and faces from junior high. However, I can’t remember the names of many people in my extended family nor have I a clue what you just asked me to do two minutes ago. Airhead implies that there is nothing between one’s ears. I like to think of myself as a PowerForce G4 Series 100 1GHz that is unable to multitask. I can tell you that Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest, but not while I’m matching my socks.

  • Mrs. Kennedy

    2003/02/27 at 2:26 pm

    Then my hubs and I have undergone a complete role reversal. Just wait until you’ve gone through nine months of breastfeeding, then tell me how you can’t find the dog WHEN YOU’RE HOLDING HIM IN YOUR ARMS.

  • sx70.blogspot.com

    2003/02/27 at 2:42 pm

    yesterday, i left an hour and a half early from work (in the south bay) for dinner at ita-cho, on beverly and poinsettia, maybe an hour away. i stopped off at the atm to find that they BOTH were being used by women and their respective daughters, one two years old, the other maybe 13, and all four of them were just fucking around and giggling. we’re not talking “quick cash” here, they must have been refinancing their houses or something. in any case, one of the groups finished, so i walked up and dramatically reached into my wallet and stuffed the atm machine, choking it. after seeing that i would not be able to either get cash or my card, i went to the nearest branch to get cash, only to find out that my drivers license was missing. 45 minutes of driving between the atm, the bank, and the office looking for my drivers license (so i could get cash) brought me back to the atm, where someone was servicing the atm machine.
    ‘”excuse me”, i asked gingerly, “my card got jammed in there, could i possibly get it?”
    “you know your drivers license is in here too, right?”

    airhead indeed.

  • shy

    2003/02/27 at 2:45 pm

    my fiance is ‘koko’. which is a endearing hawaiian term for ‘crazy’ which sort of means… airhead. to me at least it does.

    but he usually remembers to do something important after about 7 tunes of reminding him.

    the one thing i can’t figure out is that he never forgets to put down the toilet seat… huh.

  • EC

    2003/02/27 at 3:30 pm

    I think I’m in love with your husband…or that my sex was reversed at birth because I’m the one who gets lasted for this sort of stuff. Except for that toilet and G4 card thing.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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