“Men are idiots, and idiots do stupid things.” This is the essence of Male Idiot Theory (MIT) as explained in a tongue-in-cheek scientific article in the British Medical Journal. The finding is that men are disproportionately more likely to win a Darwin Award than women.
Never heard of the Darwins!? Oh, delight. That’s the infamous award given each year to the person who removes themselves from the gene pool by offing themselves in the most idiotic way. Past nominees and winners include the genius who “shot himself in the head with a ‘spy pen’ weapon to show his friend that it was real,” “the thief attempting [to steel an elevator part], who unbolted the hawser while standing in the lift which then plummeted to the ground, killing its occupant,” and my personal favorite, “the terrorist who posted a letter bomb with insufficient postage stamps and who, on its return, unthinkingly opened his own letter.” Sometimes the award must be shared as it was among the “three men who played a variation on Russian roulette alternately taking shots of alcohol and then stamping on an unexploded Cambodian land mine. (Spoiler alert: the mine eventually exploded, demolishing the bar and killing all three men.)”
It’s not that women don’t win Darwin Awards. They just don’t win them nearly as much as men. Maybe women don’t drink enough. Maybe they are just more risk-averse. Maybe less competitive. Actually, the competitiveness gap is an interesting phenomenon. I listened to a cool podcast featuring research into competitiveness in deeply patriarchal societies and one of the few matriarchal societies. I talked about it in more depth here. My favorite finding is that matriarchal societies are incredibly “nice”.
But those of us who’ve reared a typical daughter through the toddler years and then seen twin boys go through the same years already know there’s something up. My daughter will very often look at some too-big-not-to-fail climbing concoction her brothers are attempting to scale and circle her finger around her head in the international sign for “cuckoo”. The reward is so slim, the chance of disaster so enormous, and yet the testosterone says, “Meh. It’ll probably be fine.”
Which is why when you take your son to the emergency room for his broken bone/toy up the nose/split lip/cheese grater face and the nurse asks, “What happened?” the first reply should be, “He was born with a Y chromosome.”