Let’s face it, fellas, you suck at remembering birthdays. Anniversaries. Holidays. You can’t remember what year you were married sometimes. Not me…you. You don’t know your parents’ birthdays, you barely remember your own anniversary. You got devices designed to help you remember, but then you’re too busy playing games on it and you actually forget to check the device that’s designed to help you remember. It’s a constant struggle. Now, we’re good at remembering locations. Not necessarily addresses, but definitely locations. I have magnetic north built into my frontal lobe. I can wrestle five kodiak bears blindfolded surviving a nasty laceration to the torso, get donkey-kicked in the groin and, in three seconds, I can stand up and tell you where north is with the tip of my nose. But I cannot tell you what month my best friend’s birthday falls in. Not for the life of me.
There might be more to it than just the simple fact that we’re emotionless, spineless beings that tend to forget important celebrations or tragedies. For men, their strength is in spatial navigation. They excel at being able to successfully drive from point A to point B. When someone tells us to, “Go West, young man.” We point our compasses to the setting sun and head off. For women, it might take an hour to stress the importance of why it’s important to know your cardinal directions only to be followed by a lesson on how you can tell east from west and north from south. It’s instinctual for men. It comes easy. It’s not always the greatest and most important skill in the world, but it comes in handy. A man who gets lost easily (like my brother) has a small parietal cortex which is where this visuo-spatial processing takes place. It’s not your fault, Todd.
I was once lost in a mid-day dust storm in Albuquerque. I would contend that Albuquerque is a pretty easy city to navigate through because you have a definitive landmark to the east of the city…a range of mountains. To the west, it’s nothing but a stretching landscape. Put a dust storm on top of you, a mid-day sun and a lovely wife ridiculing you for not being able to get back to the highway, is a pressure situation very difficult to perform in, I would contend. That was a rare instance of navigational inferiority. Otherwise, I’m reliable. More reliable than your stupid GPS.
But in a world where you interact not only with the earth’s surface but with humans, it becomes more important to be able to catalog your emotional and spiritual life. Sometimes, I struggle with birthdays. I always get Labor Day and Memorial Day confused as to where on the calendar they reside. I thought my lovely daughter was born in October the other day. I’m a moron.
My lovely wife can tell you everyone’s birthday without hesitation. Sometimes when I’m struggling for how long we’ve been married, she’ll lean into me, tug on my arm and remind me, “Eight years, honey.” Yeah, eight years. I knew that. I’m good with numbers. Calculations. I can’t tell you what I read, but I can tell you how many pages I read. Women’s comprehension is so much greater. They’re memory of events, scents, sounds, sights, smells are superior to men’s. It’s called “episodic memory,” being able to remember the finer details much better than their lowly male counterparts.
Ellison’s corpus callosum (the bridge between different hemispheres of the brain) is up to 25% larger than her cousin Peyton’s so she’ll be naturally better able to recall these memories involving various storage centers in the brain. Studies have shown parts of the frontal lobe (where decisions and logic reside) and limbic cortex (where tears and smiles come from) are larger in girls compared to boys. This is likely why women remember emotional events like weddings, birthdays, accidents more vividly. And this is where girls’ capacity for remembering dates more so than boys is greater.
That’s why girls are cool. Because they’re a walking Outlook calendar. Now, I have two of them in my house to let me know when I’m about to miss my grandfather’s birthday. Sorry, G’Daddy. I can’t do it on my own. I’m flawed. I’m broken. I’m a boy.