Boys are Dumber (An Essay)

Let me drop some knowledge on you. I'll be honest (that's what this blog is all about after all), I'm an attention hog and always have been. Anything that could get me some attention, good or bad, I was down for. Whether I ended up everyone's hero (like the time in gym class I was a goalie and stopped a hockey puck with my CROTCH!), or was shamed as the worst kid picked to lead the class in the "pledge of allegiance" ever (yes, I say "one naked, undergarment, in-the-visible" ...),  I was desperate to prove myself worthy of the stuff of legends. Of course, legends are usually built on fibs, and like most kids, I was very good at fibbing, and at being stupid, and for having a groin of steel. It came easy to me, and now I know why.

The reality is that growing up male makes you dumber. That's science talking. Don't shoot the messenger here. I don't make the rules, I'm just a hapless crotch-scratching victim of them. We can be genius level IQ but pretty much universally still be pretty darn stupid about something or other. If we're not dumb in the classroom, we're dumb when it comes to relating to fellow humans. If we're not dumb when it comes to book-reading, we forget to bathe, but if we remember to bathe, we don't know how to tell if we're using too much cologne. It's always something! We either struggle to read a book, or we read a book and struggle to remember our names when pretty girls ask us. We can either recite the periodic table, or all original 150 Pokemon. We can either put our pants on the right way and flunk math, or we can ace math and forget how to zip up. We simply can not do both. Multitasking... not our strong suit.

But forget what science says about "girls maturing faster" and other things that are actually true, because as many a dude has said before me: I got one better than science. I got 90s movies to be my guide in this. Now, any casual viewing of the medium will probably confirm my thesis easily, but right off the bat you might hop off your seat exclaiming "nuh-uh, that McCaulay Culkin kid from My Girl was pretty smart!" And yes, when it came to school there's no doubt he had smarts. The glasses tell you that. The hole in the theory? He died! Here he was actually getting a girl to like him, and I mean, really like him... and then he decides to just go and die one day. Not too bright if you ask me. And then he was too dumb to even keep his glasses on at the wake! I mean, come on. He can't see without his glasses! Even in death we need pampering.

No. For this battle of wits, I realized I'm going to have to pull out the big guns, the two most intelligent movie kids from the 90s: Kevin McCallister from Home Alone, representing boys, and Matilda Wormwood from Matilda, representing girls. Now, granted on the surface they are both very intelligent. Kevin is practically a small adult who can manipulate anyone, not to mention rig a whole string of houses with traps to thwart bad guys across multiple movies. His drawback (besides, you know, not being psychokinetic) is that he's very good at luring indestructable bad guys into his traps. No matter how many electrocutions, sticky floorboards, paint tins, or toilets filled with explosives he hucks at them, there's always going to be a point where he's out of traps and the bad guys are still left standing. And who's fault is that? Besides, how smart could he be if he's constantly getting left behind by his family?

Matilda on the other hand is a math and reading savant who doesn't even need school to function in the genius level, and she can even move shit with her friggin' mind! Now that's "girl power" for you! Both Kevin and Matilda are very capable of taking care of themselves, as Matilda is basically self-taught in everything and Kevin does all his own chores and shopping. But Matilda also reads profusely, everything from classic literature to tax law, and absorbs everything, so she can figure out more mature ways to bust an opponent than Matchbox cars on the stairs. What about Kevin? He reads Playboy and watches gangster movies. Matilda's downside though is that she needs to get emotional before she can use her powers to their fullest extent. The problem is... it takes quite a torrent of Danny Davito parental abuse to charge up that battery!

So basically, you know where this is going...  In a battle royale between Kevin and Matilda, I'm still going to have to give it to the Matil-dog. She could easily out-maneuver all of the Kevlar's ingenious and psychopathic traps with just her mind, and also chuck heavy objects at him as well, without any preparation, so it's no contest. Girls rule. Case closed.

(And don't even get me started on Minkus vs. Harriet the Spy... She is a spy after all, she can sneak up on him! Case closed.)

Seriously though... the fact is, girls may do a lot of downright asinine things (like play with the Dream Phone), but at least their schemes pay off for them. Meanwhile, we boys gleefully Roshambo each other to the point of puking, and ... for what exactly? At least girls know what they're doing when they manipulate and overthink everything. Males of this species never know what they are doing, period, whether asinine or completely justified. But fear not, being dumber is not necessarily a bad thing. All those nutshot challenges and off-the-roof trampoline jumps may look dumb on our part, but it just means we take more risks. For some, it means you go off and build the first airplane or invent the first jetpack. For most, it means you get your head stuck in a chair in the 1st grade. All those idiot jokes we make, that just means we aren't so self-inhibited. For some, that means we're so unafraid about what people think of us that we lead a social movement for some worthy goal. For most though, it means that when you raise your hand in class and get called on, you will then proceed to let out a looooooong burp... loudly.

For all this, I hold myself out as the archetypal example for the entire thesis about why's it's rad to be dumb. Growing up, I could be so many personalities around so many types of people. At school, the 8-year-old me had this "class clown meets Jr. Mr. Executive" thing going on. Around the boys I wanted to be cool with, I was a rebel, a kid who'd eat the classroom fish food if it would cause a couple laughs (I don't know how fish eat that stuff). Around boys who already thought I was cool, I'd suddenly become more mysterious and entertain them with tales of the Cub Scouts I'd never witnessed (I made it sound like recruit training--like any of those all-time great war movies like Full Metal Jacket, swearing included!). I once wore an elastic band around my leg and claimed it was to show where "I'd lost a limb" in the "war games." Lies! The closest to war I'd ever come was to sit through all 90 minutes of Major Payne.

Around girls at school I liked, I basically just answered all their "what is your favorite animal"-type questions and watched them swoon whenever I randomly interjected "dolphins" (all the girls back then wanted to be marine biologists after Free Willy). They loved my sensitive sides. Around girls at school I didn't like, I was still eating the fish food, but for the opposite reason (although the little marine biologists among them might have dug my "sensitivity" for the fish). In truth though, dolphins rock. I just liked them because of the Sega game Ecco the Dolphin, where they could fly in the air in the future, beat up sharks, and attack giant squid monsters! (Ah, Medusa, we shall meet again). I guess the girls just liked them because dolphins are also an animal that is probably "smarter than boys." And they are probably right.

I was only really myself around my immediate family, which was just to say, an average kid who wasn't a pre-military adventurer, wasn't a comedian, wasn't a covert girl dipped in Lisa-Frank rainbows, and wasn't a (complete) doofus. I was a nice kid, a bit starved for attention, who liked to draw and had a bit of talent with it, who liked movies and anything creative, liked pretending that my entire life was one big movie and going around inventing scenes for it. I played a lot of different parts for sure. Unless we're talking about "family" as in my girl cousins, because they only got to see the Ace Ventura part whenever my brother and I were around. It was just too much fun not to. But they were never as impressed as I was about how I could make zany animal noises, stick things in my nose, crack good ole' penis jokes, and bend over and "talk with my rear."

But that's how it is.

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