Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X & Y=?

I’m not sure if anyone else can relate to this but school had a way of tangling my brain like a kitten in a yarn shop, especially regarding sex and the opposite sex. My example has less to do with the how and more to do with why.

In history class, the teacher said that tribes broke into warfare to protect the women and children. Basically, war was about courtship, security and sex? Saints preserve us!! Guess that explained the Sunday night movies where adults kissed and suddenly there was a family to protect.  Okay... but why?

During English class the teacher said most poetry was part of the oral tradition used to lure unsuspecting virgins into bed. Naughty boys like Chaucer and Shakespeare, committed some of those stories to writing and the tales are full of corset-busting sexy scenes but the only thing my inquisitive, adolescent mind wanted to know was why? (We studied homophones too—which made sense--Why and Y?)

In biology class, the teacher told us that the factors determining whether a person becomes a boy or a girl depended on the XX or XY chromosomes. The double XX for girls held the attention of the boys in the class but something told me I was being hornswoggled, because there was nothing sexy in his discussion about conception and zygotes. In fact, if it related to sex, the teacher made it sound gross.

Algebra!!! Where do I start? Especially, when they asked about X+ Y. The previous class they had taught us that Y is a male chromosome and here they were asking what happens when Y is missing from the equation. Didn't the teachers talk in the lounge? Why did they expect innocent students to tell the math teachers the dirty truth! Why was the Y missing anyway? More importantly, why would anyone care?

I took my homework home and asked my dad about it. He was an engineer and was willing to help. He sat me down and began somewhere after the Stone Age. There was the wheel and then some pulleys, gears and finally ball bearings. He told me ball bearings worked a lot like my joints. I yawned and yawned and after four hours, my math homework was still blank. He told me to go brush my teeth and said I was adorable before saying goodnight.

 I had one more question. “Dad, is the missing Y a boy?” “A boy?” He asked, looking surprised. He smiled and searched the room for my mother’s eyes. “I think she’s ready for the talk,” he said, sounding serious. Mom laughed and told him she wasn't up to it and asked him why he thought it was time?

That night as I slipped into my pajamas I thought about what he meant by ‘the talk’—and in my heart I mistakenly knew-- I knew it had to do with sex, chromosomes, wars, poetry and lots of kissing. Which proved my inconclusive theory that Y stood for various boys and as a member of the crowd, I would always be asking why!

How about you--does any of this sound familiar?


  1. Haha, fun post :) Says a lot that when I was studying literature, they explained everything with death, instead of sex... The truth is probably both, and then some.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

  2. I find myself reminded of English lessons and a really lousy battleaxe of a teacher who had us go through Romeo and Juliet. Nothing more uncomfortable than watching Romeo & Juliet and the not so lucky couple shagging than having Mrs. Diamond in the room.

  3. Great post Eve!! I remember algebra class and not believing that it was even possible to add letters together. I still suck big time at math, but luckily I have never been in a circumstance in all my adult life where I had to 'find x' or 'add x+y'...but I still ask 'why' many times in regards to those 'y's' in my life!

  4. I love algebra. I get to help my kids with their homework. Yeah algebra!

    Stephen Tremp
    A-Z Co-host
    X is for Xenoglossy

  5. I picked up on Algebra pretty quickly. Health education, not so much. I always got confused with the X and Y chromosomes being boy and girl and why it was that the Y determined the sex of the baby. I think X determines the sex as well, because when there's an X after the X, that's a girl. That mean's X determined the sex of that girl!

  6. That was hilarious!
    And I never liked Algebra.

  7. I can relate--especially to the whys of algebra. I still haven't figured it out!