China tends to scare the shit out of me, at least in some future incarnation – they seem dormant enough now, but you get the sense that all they need is some whacked-out Messianic leader to throw the entire human race into a fantastic tailspin.

One such abject, stupid, cruel act of the Chinese is their preference for boy babies. Through ultrasounds and abortions, they have 129 boys for every 100 girls in that country, stemming from some ancient ideas about boys carrying the family name, being able to support the parents, and some other such shit. For second kids (and the poorer families), the rate is more like 147 males to every 100 females. Girls that do make it to their birthday can find themselves summarily drowned in the hopes of better luck next time.

Anybody with a long view of history knows how violent nature reacts to any manmade meddling in a perfectly good game of chance. Pack any country full of too many people and nature will invent a disease that will kill off exactly the right number. In this case, China is going to murder itself with testosterone.

What do you think will happen when all of these boys come of age with no chance of love, tenderness or redemption in their lives? In China itself, they will rove the country in lawless packs, living by their own rules, perpetuating a crime wave that will rival the Old American West (itself a victim of too few females in the population).

Outside the country, young Chinese men will roam other countries looking for a way to couple – and, I predict, will become the most unpopular archetypical suitor in the history of social demographics. The future will have a name for these Chinese men, something that will spawn a bestselling humor book in the year 2015 or so. I won’t even venture a guess.

Why do I bring this up? Many of you know that Tessa and I decided not to know the gender of our baby until it was born. This, of course, was met with the usual warm smiles of “how quaint” and an appreciation for how Old Skool we were being. Mostly, I didn’t want to know because I didn’t want to give this unborn baby a gender, a name and a personality before it had a chance to offer its own.

So we got to the eighth month without figuring it out. And when we switched doctors to Brooklyn, we were given our “chart,” which showed the results of the amnio, the ultrasounds and other cool stuff. I knew to leave the manila envelope closed, but the other night, my delightfully-overfunctioning wife pored through the details of our baby’s chart. Not realizing, of course, that it might be fairly easy to “stumble” across the sex of our baby whilst doing so.

In her defense, we were so adamant about not knowing gender that it seemed like it wouldn’t be in those pages anyway. She even read the results of the amnio three times before she realized she was looking straight at the gender of our baby. Apparently, she dropped the chart on the living room floor, realizing what she had just done.

Sheepishly, she came up to our bedroom, and told me the whole story. She asked me: did I want to know what we were going to have? I reckoned that it made our relationship bizarrely unequal not to, and so she told me.

The Chinese may be having billions and billions of boys, but let’s just say that in our tiny little corner of the world, we are bucking the trend. Get ready for our little girl.

0 thoughts on “XX-XY

  1. XTCIAN Reader

    Remember now, you’re the guy that wrote this:
    “My daughters are going to fuck, bless their hearts, and by God, they’re going to know what they’re doing.”
    Still feel that way?

  2. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    As a mother of a daughter, all I can say is, “Girls Rock!” Of course, I am a little biased. Congratulations! In this age of immediate gratification, gotta-know-now, technological advances, etc., I am amazed that you and Tessa lasted this long without finding out the gender of Peanut.
    XTCIAN Reader voiced one of my initial thoughts exactly, but I won’t even go there for now. . . you need to get your bearings first before your readers can start firing your words back at you!
    I am so excited for this little girl because her parents ROCK, and you, Ian, particularly ROCK in the arena of being in touch with the emotional side of life (the good, bad, and ugly). I have a feeling that you will be the antithesis of the Emotionally Distant Father. Peanut will be able to get guidance and emotional support from both of her parents during her awkward years, her moody pre-teen years — you have been there, done that, and more importantly, you can articulate how to cope and how to come out on the other end of childhood disappointments and teenage angst. Peanut is a lucky little girl.

  3. scruggs

    Congrats indeed. Now you get to endure constant input as to “the name.” I vote for Carolina Williams (alas, Jawad and Roy are already taken and Gary and Sheldon are verboten), but that would be too predictable. Of course, you could always list the naming rights on Ebay a la Golden Palace and earn some extra $$$ for her education.
    As a control freak, I had to find out the gender as early as possible. There were too many unknowns to deal with already, and I didn’t want a single outfit or gift to go unused. So it brought great relief. We had a small selection of names ready to go, and just waited to see what he looked like to set it in stone. As he came out with his fists up and always looked like he was wanting to kick someone’s ass, Nick was the obvious choice.
    Good luck on the home stretch.

  4. cullen

    How bout:
    Wilomena Williams
    Wilma Williams
    Winnie Williams
    3 cheers for alliteration. Find a ‘w’ middle name and you’ve got your own dubya-dubya-dubya URL and lil bundle of joy; the girls’ game is rocking my friend.
    I hereby dub ya–Winifred Windex Williams. Sweep that glass Cinderella.
    Seriously, God Bless and foot massages.

  5. jordana

    who says these chinese guys will be lonely? maybe they will just pair off and begin shtupping one another with great abandon, thereby getting china’s population under control. and the few women will be revered as godesses.
    i can’t wait to meet your daughter!

  6. Andy

    I still stand by my earlier suggestion of “Jawadette Williams”. Especially if the boys are cutting down the nets in St. Louis.

  7. Dave

    Yesterday I became an Uncle for the 8th time over. Another girl. Four girls, four boys. 50-50 so far. Little Ianetta should find a good ratio of genders here during her lifetime if my family is any judge.

  8. Bud

    What worries me about China is their ability to act collectively, combined with their unparalleled skill at long-term thinking and planning–and their rock-solid sense of innate superiority (I mean, did you see “Hero”? C’mon).
    They know what’s coming, they have a plan for it, they’ll devote all their energies to the plan, and it will work out very, very well for China. But what about for us? /end paranoia
    MUCH more importantly:
    Yay! Girls really DO rock. Congratulations!

  9. Annie

    Wow! How totally trippy and amazing! I cannot wait!
    Hm–what about Ruby Dean Blake-Williams? I stole that from another devotee of Dean Smith, but I think it’s just the greatest name– “Ruby Dean.”

  10. hilary

    so psyched. everyone seems to be having boys; jy and i have felt, actually, really “special” that we’re having a girl. i must say i kinda thought tessa was carrying a girl…well, i hoped she was. and yes, i’ve been thinking a lot about china too. i also remember, when we had first learned the gender of our baby, watching “the godfather” and both glancing at each other nervously after luca brasi said to michael corleone, “and may your first child be a masculine child.” whatever. thank heaven for little girls. congrats you guys.

  11. Piglet

    The Chinese excess of males serves to keep the population from growing even faster. I expect most of the surplus males will be “utilized” as factory machinery with a high, um, depreciation rate. The American CEOs who run the factories will be delighted.
    Enjoy your new daughter. Jen and I will find out the gender of our little one, probably in the next couple of weeks, at its birth. Any time people ask if we’re having a boy or a girl, we just tell them, “yes.” (the stepdaughter wants a puppy, but I expect she’ll be disappointed).

  12. Ian

    Love the name ideas, especially “Ruby Dean”! We’re hyphenating, so we have to avoid making her sound like a lawyer firm, like Madison Chelsea Blake-Williams or something. I asked Tessa about Jawadette, and I don’t know if I made much headway.
    As for my earlier blog about my future daughters, it can be found here:
    and I stand by every word!

  13. Josie

    How cool for you both! Although ours was gender-unknown before delivery, regardless of how hard we may have tried to not sex-type little Mia, the rest of the world had her wrapped in pink and bows within 6 weeks; And, we went along with it giddily.
    One perk – all of those gender-neutral green, yellow and bug-print clothes we got before delivery will come in handy in a few short weeks….

  14. Chad

    Congrats on the daughter, but how on earth does China sustain the world’s largest population with a 129-to-1 male-to-female ratio? Assuming little in-migration, each woman would have to give birth to about 130 babies for the population to remain static.

  15. mom

    Hyphen is good, alliteration… um… maybe. But I was innoculated against the more alliterative names at an early age, when I discovered that my paternal grandfather (your great grandfather) was one William Wallace Worsley. It always sounded to me like it was being spoken by Elmer Fudd.
    I’m sure you will pick something great. Can’t wait!

  16. leftcoasttype

    Girls are glorious, and never pretend that anything that you do is going to save her from gender stereotypes. I recently wrote an entry at my blog about the hyper-feminine creature that I have raised, and I am convinced that I have just barely enough estrogen to qualify as female, so it’s clearly neither nature or nature. They will be what they will be.
    Which is the lesson in every human interaction, as near as I can tell.

  17. db

    awesome. we thought we were having a girl and had names picked out… which is why it took a month to name zb. but I think you love what you have. fb reaaaaaaly wanted a girl but loves our boy. very psyched for you two and for hilary and jy…

  18. Killian

    Fabulous! The blessed Peanut already has so much going for her in her two phenomenal parents–the world craves strong baby girls, and here she comes–hurray!!!

  19. Salem

    Cool! Your heart will melt and Lillie-Anne will have a new friend at the farm. Personally I think you should name her Salem. I like Lindsay as well, but I think you should remove Bud from consideration.

  20. susannah

    please don’t name her after a season, a day of the week, or a color that sounds like a porn star’s name (amber, for instance). however be the man you are, with all your advice and help. you may disparage yourself but you never disparage your good friends. at least not to their faces. you helped me so much that last college year. you have a certain instinct. i love your daughter already. and rick and i knew it! no way would your first child be a boy.


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