Thursday, April 01, 2010

Chocolate and Y-Chromosome Deficiency

Just over 45 years ago it was my great good fortune to marry. My wife, like me a newly-qualified medical student, was widely acknowledged to be among the most able of our year, and a beauty too. She has a robust Scottish Presbyterian philosophy of life, tempered by a fundamental saintliness, which has increased with the passing years.
It all makes me a most fortunate man. Saints are sometimes difficult to live with, but they have an infuriating tendency to be proven right in the end.

But she has a secret addiction, of which I  became aware only in the past few years. Chocolate is a necessity for her, not an optional treat. I discovered her cache of chocolate bars in the pantry, and the reality was made clear.

An unexpected consequence is that Lent is a problem. Her austere presbyterian instinct is to give up something special during the fast, and this means chocolate. It means that as chocolate deprivation increases, so she complains of fatigue, and takes to shutting herself away with detective stories or romantic comedies on DVD. A benefit for me is that she tends to wake earlier than usual, so she makes the morning tea.
I have learnt to look forward to Easter Sunday morning, when the chocolate Easter egg brings relief, rejoicing and revitalisation.

Discrete enquiries lead me to believe chocolate addiction is prevalent, at least among the wives and daughters of friends and colleagues. I hear tales of chocolate hidden in wardrobes, under beds, in cars, and in kitchens. A craving for chocolate may be nearly universal in women. It is obvious in my little grand-daughters.

Of course men enjoy chocolate too, but for men it is an option. This need for chocolate does seem to be distinctive of the XX genetic endowment.
Which raises the immediate question: does the Y chromosome induce production of something important in brain metabolism, something which chocolate contains and provides for the Y chromosome deficiency state?

Does chocolate give women some of the qualities which men take for granted? For example, does it make them feel well, increase vigour, increase self-confidence? It's time women told us about it.

And a further thought. Chocolate has become relatively cheaper and much more available in the past half-century, with big increases in consumption, especially, no doubt, consumption per woman. And in this time feminism has flourished. Women increasingly want to dress like men, look like men, behave like men. They aspire to be bishops, generals, prime ministers, transplant surgeons, captains of industry.
Measures of women's chocolate consumption and feminism have both increased, and no doubt are correlated. Can we conclude this is cause and effect?
Can men counter feminist militancy by rationing chocolate?

Maybe - but it's not an experiment I would dare in my household.

Happy Easter!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chocolate is one of the basic food groups, the others being carbohydrate, grease, beer and salt.

I thought everyone knew that?