Thursday, 19 September 2013

Dads need balls


Just not, perhaps, as large as those who don't take such an active role in bringing up their children.

Here's a story you might have missed last week, but one I can't let pass without comment. As US (where else?) study suggests that the size of a man's testicles may indicate his aptitude for childcare. Tell us something we don't already know, I scoffed as I read the headline.

And it did. Because the correlation (correlation, people - not cause/effect) between lunchbox size and the likelihood of being a hands-on dad isn't what you think. Or certainly wasn't what I thought.

Far from showing that we active fathers are more generously endowed than the rest of the male population (and why wouldn't we be, so clearly comfortable in our own skin?) the rather hairy fact of the matter is this: men with larger testes are less likely to bath their kids, get up to comfort them, cook their meals or generally do any of the 'hands-on' parenting tasks. Which means those of us who do...

Like I said, if you're secure in who you are and comfortable in your own skin, such things shouldn't matter. So why am I just a tiny respectable-enough-but-not-baboon-sized bit bothered?

Face? Bovvered? Yes it is. And it's not the size per se that matters. No, really it isn't. (It's what you do with it anyway, as everybody knows.)

No. What bothers me is the evolutionary explanation that's been given for this otherwise inexplicable correlation. (Correlation, folks. Nappy-changing doesn't shrink 'em, right?) Because the same scientists who discovered this disturbing fact (how they discovered it I'll leave to your imagination; why they wanted to discover it remains a mystery) have postulated this as a possible explanation, which I have taken the liberty of re-writing:

Big balls men don't need to care for their kids because they've got big balls and big balls are going to get them plenty of bedroom action. 

And the unavoidable implication of that conclusion is that the rest of us have to look after what we've made and why the hell wouldn't we be getting up in the night to comfort a crying child because, hey, there's not a lot else else happening, is there?

Well, that might be true. Every parent knows how knackering young children can be. Actually, an awful thought has just occurred to me. We all know that correlation street isn't the same as cause and effect. One of the academics who was wheeled out to comment on the findings stressed, 'It is important to recognise that these data are only correlatory, and no cause and effect are demonstrated.'

But you know what?

That's a load of bollocks.

I'll tell you why hands-on dads have smaller... you-know-whats. It's nature's handy way of protecting them.

There can't be many dads who haven't felt the excruciating pain that a collision with a small child can cause. It can't be good for our abilities, can it? So Mother Nature - recognising our true worth as genuine co-parents - has devised this as a means of protecting our 'vital assets' for future use.

The same thing happens when you go swimming in the sea. (So I'm told.) The bigger they are, the harder they fall as the saying goes. Or in this case, the more vulnerable they are. And the more painful they will be.

No wonder big balls won't go near his kids.

He's scared!

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