Endangered: The Male Specie

Once upon a time I worked at a publishing company. One of the more interesting books we printed was  Boys Adrift: the five factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys, by Leonard Sax.

Sax basically takes something we all know – too many boys these days are total losers – and gives five reasons why, ranging from computer games to PCBs. I found this interesting because I’ve always assumed that guys were always losers, but nobody noticed it until they were in direct competition with women. But according to people who are older, wiser, and have seen more generations of males pass under the crook, men were once pretty good stuff.

The editors (predominantly female) had some good fun with the marketing department (predominantly male) over this book. But then the senior editor said that she was going to “smooth away” some of the “weird edgy” stuff about PCBs. After all, a book that tells people to keep their boys away from plastic is bound to get made fun of.

What he said about PCBs was basically that it fiddles with hormones so men these days may have more female hormones in them and less male. (Results seem contradictory on how PCBs affect females.)

I never read the entire book (I was gone by the time it came out, so no free copy), but I was reminded of it because the PCB thing is no longer “weird” and “edgy.”  There are a number of recent articles about “gender bender” chemicals, and I’ve found dozens of papers on the subject in the college database with reams of weird side-effects listed. The side-effect of interest here is the fact that women exposed to PCBs during pregnancy are 1/3 less likely to have a baby boy, and PCBs are found in most of our food.

This popped into my head because Michelle just posted about NASI, the shidduch initiative, which is based on the idea that there are an equal number of girls and guys in every age bracket, and if they’d just marry each other the crisis would go away.

In actually, there are supposed to be more males than females in any given age bracket, but if the PCB business is true, that is a very dated statistic.

In a mysterious shift in sex ratios worldwide, areas heavily polluted with gender-benders in Canada, Russia and Italy [Bad4 – Japan and USA in other studies] have given birth to twice as many girls than boys, which may offer a clue to the reason.

…The ratio [of boys to girls] is lowering. It is calculated that 250,000 babies who would have been boys have been born as girls instead in the US and Japan alone.

With this in mind, I think it may be time we thought about some more heavy handed ways to deal with this crisis. Polygamy has already been boo’d down, as practical as it is. How about drawing lots? Or, even better, a merit system? You know, we’d have people rated for physical, emotional, and cognitive characteristics, and those who score the highest are allowed to date, and the rest become the babysitters?

There are distinct advantages to this. First of all, there’s no uncertainty. People destined to be single won’t have to date and won’t have their hopes being constantly dashed. Plus, they’ll be freed from saving money for their future nuptials, family, and children’s college funds, so they’ll get high flying careers that aren’t family friendly and donate the proceeds to charity, in between Caribbean vacations.

You know, it could be nice…


29 thoughts on “Endangered: The Male Specie

  1. I vote for a massive effort to attract Chinese men to Judaism, since they have the opposite problem and have way more guys than girls.

    Also, I was going to comment about polygamy not being so practical if a man has to support 2 wives, but actually, in your society where the girl works while the guy learns and girl’s parents are also expected to support the couple, having 2 wives supporting one husband in kollel actually would be more practical.

  2. Unfortunately, under such a system, the poor nebbachs who are consigned to perpetual singledom will likely end up being eternally looked down upon, scorned, pitied, patronized, etc. What’s to keep them from leaving a society that treats them like second-class citizens?

  3. Marrying “within the bracket” is aproblem. Let’s propose that the bracket is 2 years.

    There are 100 guys in those two years and 100 gals but there are 45 guys and girls in the top half of the bracket (hence 55 in the second).

    The 45 guys in the top half quickly marry 45 out of the bottom half and 10 guys from the bottom half marry girls their exact age and maybe another 10 marry girls older than them.

    Now we need to FORCE the remaining 35 guys to marry girls older than them. I vote bad4 as the forcing police. Go ahead make narrower brackets, narrow it down to birth month if you will. There is no “solution”.

    I do think, though, that in the past couple of years the few ads and articles commenting on the situation and presenting the statistics had an impact and people really ARE trying to narrow it down when they make suggestions it’s just not always practicle.

  4. Pitied? Maybe. But nobody is scorning you when you buy their kids cute outfits and obnoxious electronic toys that are supposed to be educational. I dunno – I think I’d welcome the lack of uncertainty, whichever side of eugenics I landed on – Katrina’s, or the married side. [/evilgrin] Besides, we/they could set up our own society. I’ve heard, somewhere (forget where) of some community of single women (it died out, for obvious reasons). It was supposed to be a very peaceful place – not as catty as you’d think it would be.

  5. bad4, could you be thinking of the amazon women?
    according to your theory that PCBs are the cause of the predominance of male loserism in our day (i love making up words btw), then in third world countries where they arent affected by PCBs, the men should be that much manlier. meaning to say if your hypothesis were true, then people from africa or certain parts of india would be much less loserish, if anything they should be the ones that ultimately run the show,(the “winners”) since the rest of the male population is more feminine and according to you that means more loserish. am i wrong with my assessment? your basicly saying that the decline in male chauvinism is a bad thing right?

  6. Ich zug dir, I’m really suffering from the shidduch crisis. Finding one’s bashert in today’s society is just SO hard! I make hundreds of phone calls to shadchanim, begging everyone not to forget about me – but so many of them tend to brush me off with silly excuses like they have no time for me, they can’t think of anyone for me, they’re too busy with other things Even when they do find a few free moments to ‘red’ me a shidduch, they just never come up with anything decent! It’s a shanda, I tell you.

    No, don’t be ridiculous – of course I’m not a 19-year-old girl!

    I’m not a 24-year-old bochur, either.

    I’m the MOTHER of a shidduch-age yingel – and he’s the best boy in the yeshiva!

    Oy, I hate krechtzing in public, but the truth is, it’s a shrekliche matziv out there for us future mother in laws.

    I asked my son a few months ago what kind of girl he’s looking for. You know what he answered me? He said, “Ma, I just want a good girl.” Ha! What does he know? So I’m making it my business to find him what I know he really needs. In fact, a shadchan called me just last week:

    “Hello, Mrs. Vichtigmacher? I have a great girl for your son.”

    “You do? Terrific. What size is she?”


    “I asked, what size is she? My son doesn’t want to go out with anyone bigger than a 2. A size nothing – an absolute 0 – would be perfect.”

    “Oh, well I don’t know ”

    “And how tall is she?”

    “Oh, she’s average hei-”

    “What do you mean by ‘average?’ My son doesn’t want to go out with anyone shorter than 5’3, but of course he won’t consider anyone taller than 5’5. She might make him look small and stumpy, especially if she wears heels. So this girl needs to fall within a three-inch radius for her to be acceptable.”

    “Ok. I just-”

    “What does she look like?”

    “What? Oh, she’ a really nice looking girl.”

    “Nice looking? That’s it? A new pair of shoes is ‘nice looking.’ A matching pocketbook is ‘nice looking.’ A good haircut is ‘nice looking.’ The girl my son is going to marry has to be more than just ‘nice looking!'”

    “This girl is pretty.”

    “Pretty – but not beautiful or stunning or gorgeous or extraordinary?”

    “Yes, she’s very-”

    “How old is she? Anyone under age 19 is most likely too immature for my Gemarakup. Marrying someone that young would almost be like cradle snatching! 20 is just right. In my opinion – and I’m right about just about everything – any girl over 21 is already too settled in her ways to make a good spouse. My son won’t be able to mould her personality anymore. He won’t be able to properly train her to have a five course supper ready on the table by 5pm, or else. Or to iron and starch and fold his cashmere socks into perfect little 4-inch squares. You understand?”

    “No, I’m not sure I-”

    “And how many years can this girl’s parents support my boy in kollel? My son doesn’t want to go out with anyone who can’t support him for at least the first decade. I mean, after all, a boy who sits and shvitzes and hureves in kollel deserves to get everything he wants, doesn’t he? My son simply refuses to go out with anyone who doesn’t come along with a house. And he’s partial to BMW’s.”

    “Oh. I didn’t-”

    “How many kids are in the family? My son doesn’t want to go out with anyone who’s the oldest in a large family, because then the girl is already burned out and overstressed by the time she gets married. The youngest in a large family is usually way too spoiled, so forget about that. And a middle child, nebach, a middle child is usually neglected. On the other hand, an ONLY child never learns to share with others or build sibling relationships, so my son would never consider that either. If this girl is, say, the third child in a family of 12 – that would be perfect.”

    “Actually, she’s-”

    “Oh. Very important. What does her father do for a living? My son would never go out with a girl whose father or grandfather, up to four generations back, worked in a butcher shop or a fish store. Anyone who can stand to witness the sight of that much blood obviously has no midas harachamim. And we won’t take any truck drivers or used car salesmen either.”

    “Mrs. Vichtigmacher, I think-”

    “Now hold on, I know exactly what you’re going to say.”

    “You do?”

    “Uh huh. You’re going to tell me that this girl is everything I could possibly hope for in a girl. And that may be true. But I’m not finished getting information from you yet. I forgot to ask: On Shabbos, does her family eat on fine China or on paper plates?”

    “Why does that matter?”

    “Well, it’s obvious. If they eat on fine China, they’re probably feinshmekkers. On the other hand, if they eat on paper plates, they’re probably practical people, down to earth, but they don’t respect the kedusha of Shabbos as much as they should.”

    “Well then, what should they eat on?”

    “Good question. And there’s something else I need to know. Is the girl quiet, or is she loud?”

    “She’s not too quiet”

    “Aha! She’s not too quiet, you say! I know your shadchan euphemisms. That’s a very subtle way of saying she has no eidelkeit. She’s brash, loud, and way out of control, right? Her teachers probably couldn’t handle her all throughout her 12 years of school. Her parents are probably desperate to get her married, just so she can settle down, right? Tell me the truth.”

    “No! The truth is that she’s really pretty quiet, but-”

    “She’s quiet? You mean she’s timid, shy, tzurikgeshtannen? Doesn’t she have any friends? What are you redding my son, a mouse?!”

    “Of course not, she’s-”

    “What will she wear on her head?”

    “Excuse me?”

    “On her head. A snood, a pony sheitel, a fall, a custom, a hat, a shpitzel? Which is it?”

    “Um. I assume she’ll just wear a regular-”

    “Regular? There’s no such thing as ‘regular.’ What a woman wears on her head tells a lot about what’s going on INSIDE her head. Is she ‘modern,’ ‘yeshivish,’ litvish,’ ‘chassidish’ or ‘Meah Shearimdig?’ Is she a rebel or a rebbetzin?”

    “She’s a frum, wonderful, tzniusdige young lady! A really great baalas middos tovos, with a kind heart and derech eretz! Mrs. Vichtigmacher, she’s just a good gir-”

    “Did she go to camp?”

    “Huh? Yes. She went to camp for a few summers, and some summers she stayed home.”

    “She stayed home? Why? Are her parents too poor to afford camp? Is she too attached to her mommy to leave home for a couple of weeks? Does she have some embarrassing problem that she doesn’t want her bunkmates or counselors to know? Does she snore or drool in her sleep? My son will never go out with a girl who hasn’t been to camp.”

    “I told you. She went to camp. Just not every sum-”

    “Did she go to seminary in Israel? You know, girls just don’t come out right these days unless they go to seminary in Israel. My son won’t go out with any girl who hasn’t been to-”

    “I get the point. You know what? I don’t think this shidduch is going to work out after all. I don’t have the time for you, I can’t think o f anyone for you, and I’m too busy with other things. Good luck marrying off your son.”

    Oy, it’s a shanda, I tell you. Vey iz mir! How I suffer from the shidduch crisis!

  7. ok so bad4, i just read the five factors in the book and realized that one and only one of the five factors in the book apply to the average jewish male. accordingly, jewish males are therefore much more masculine, more motivated, stronger and ultimately the best picks out there…so why are you complaining. lets go through the five steps and show how the frummer you are, the more likely you are to be a “real man”. 1) video games- ummm…in the real frumma velt, boys dont play video games. as a matter of fact, the lakewood boys should be the more outgoing ones no? 2)teaching methods- ok im not going to deeply into this, suffice it to say that the other of the book feels the way to solve this problem is segregated education…ding ding ding, frum jews do that already! 3)perscription drugs- ok this one is kind of stupid and frankly im surprised the author even mentioned this one…ok i dont know about his statistics but 90% of my guy friends are not on any kind of medication. im sure this would be true by most people and blaming a “nationwide” epidemic on the few that are on medication is frankly a stretch. 4)indocrine disrupters- this is probably the one and only factor that has any relevance at all to the frum velt. so bravo, blame it on the chemicals which make men like women, ironically though, females are over achieving…now im confused! 5)devaluation of masculinity- basicly popular culture undermines the male role in a household, homer simpson is taken as an example of this. again not applicable to the super frum.
    therefore i found a solution to your problem bad4…marry a super frum guy from an extremely sheltered home that wants to be supported in kollel for the rest of his life because non of these problems should apply to him (excepting the 4th).
    as a side point…polygamy is a great idea and i am sfradi…ill give you my email if your really interested lol

  8. Errr b4, would it be impolite to remind you that it is Chanukah right now, but that a lot of this posting reads like “Purim Torah”?

  9. No, not the Amazons. I mean a real little community formed by real women who really had no men involved (the Amazons kept some men to perpetuate the species). I think it was in the 1800s – experimental communities were very in vogue back then.

    Anon – basically, Sax says that men get all their drive from testosterone, whereas women just have character. I wasn’t complaining that my dates are losers. I was simply noting that the number of men around is dropping. I might not mind marrying a loserish guy. A career women needs a wife, so to speak, to look after the kids and house.

  10. Your last sentence in comment number 11 sounds as if you were advocating lebianism.
    (Also, didn’t you mean “In actuality . . ” (in pargraph 7) ?

    Gut Voch & Frailichen Channukoh.

  11. the suggestion for pilagshim is not new. the yaavetz writes about it for yeshiva guys so the could learn “al taharos hakodesh” roughly translated to without distraction.
    nowadays its a great idea, guys could learn in kollel longer (more father in laws), wont look at porn (or more wives, you know), and no more kids going off the derech (they could only have pilagshim if they stay frum). solves everything, right?

  12. Mord – It is very common for ambitious career women to say “I need a ‘wife’.” They are not all tiptoeing out of the closet.

    (Also, didn’t you mean “advocating lesbianism” in your first sentence?)

  13. Bad4: In comment#11 didn’t you mean to write “A career woman needs a wife” ?

    BTW, I commented on a previous post of yours(Then and Now) to a certain Ms. frustrated, where she asked why guys are such losers now. My facetious answer was they disappeared circa 1985. What I was really trying to say was that there really is a difference between the quality of most guys (and lots of girls as well) that are coming on the “market” these days. Blame it on whatever you wish, but it’s a fact of life. Any ideas out there on how to change this?

  14. davenedbydekosel refer to comment #9 where i show how most of the problems shouldnt apply to the ultra orthodox, hence there isnt anything to change…just marry a super frummy.

  15. dbdk – didn’t you mean to write “on a previous post of yours (‘Then and Now’)”

    I should know what to do about children these days…? Maybe we’re spoiled. The ascendancy of the USA is coming to an end along with rugged individualism. Maybe it’s the end of the world as we know it. And who am I to turn the tide of history just because I want to marry a quality guy?

  16. Thank you for the correcting my terrible misspelling.
    You got me. You really got me.

    (But) I still think that you should have said (in the title):
    “The Male Species” – ending with “s” – even though the word “male” is singular.
    Wikipedia says that “a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring.”

    By contrast, Wikipedia seems to indicate that the word “specie” refers only to money or metal.

    When I looked in a dictionary, I saw the same definitions.

  17. Sorry.
    I shouldn’t have done that.
    You have actually been very restrained in your objections to my misbehavior.

    So, you win.

  18. Anon: Somewhere out there is a “super frummy” shaking his/her head trying to figure out what you mean… 😉

    Bad4: I stand corrected, and maybe if you dig long enough you’ll still find your quality guy!

  19. All good. We’re all human around here, right? I shouldn’t be commenting either when it’s past my bedtime. (Guilty)

  20. Pingback: Marry Your Match « Bad for Shidduchim

  21. Pingback: My Explanations for the Shidduch Crisis « Bad for Shidduchim

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