Apparently so, if you go by the comments on today's treeware column in which I discuss the mutating/expiring Y chromosome.
Here it is, with links so that readers can reassure themselves I didn't make this stuff up just to denigrate men.
Tell them that the Y chromosome is mutating its way to extinction and they might get cross.
Either way, they see manhood as threatened.
Of course, it's unlikely men will get the John Bobbitt treatment – although they might want to be careful if their wives run with scissors on a wet bathroom floor.
But, based on current human genomics, it's certain that the Y chromosome, the one that acts as the in utero trigger for the creation of male, um, power tools, will be toast.Not that this is new news, as much of this research emerged in scientific circles in 2003.
Enjoy your man while he lasts, cried columnists. As if this wasn't why they invented Viagra.
But I digress.
In her keynote "The Decline and Fall of the Y Chromosome and the Future of Men,'' which marked the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, Graves explained: "Three hundred million years ago, the Y chromosome had about 1,400 genes on it, and now it's only got 45 left. So at this rate we're going to run out of genes on the Y chromosome in about five million years."
Now understand that the Y chromosome isn't the only determinant of maleness.
It's just that all embryos, future male or female, have identical plumbing. At about eight weeks, a single gene on that expiring Y chromosome, called the SRY gene, kicks in, giving half of us sinks and the other half faucets.
(The other hardware doesn't disappear. It merely evolves into other pipes and drains in our bodies.) Still, the implications of all this, in our we-still-have-men-to-move-the-heavy-furniture time, are both fascinating and far-reaching.
It forces us to ask: What is the role of men in an era when nature seems to be saying they are genetically defective humans?
And, if men disappear, who will Jillian Harris, the Canadian star of The Bachelorette, she who loves a "man-man'' who "takes control" of women, consider a "real man?"
I interrupt this column to say that a ''real man'' does not need to ''take control of women'' unless they're playing games in the bedroom.
And who will be around to run religions that oppress women?
Just hit the ''Religion'' categorey in the sidebar, bottom left.
Science is on the job.
"The good news is that certain rodent species – the mole voles of Eastern Europe and the country rats of Japan – have no Y chromosome and no SRY gene," said Graves. "Yet there are still plenty of healthy male mole voles and country rats running around.
"Some other gene must have taken over the job and we'd like to know what that gene is."
Which means there will be lots of diving into male jeans.
So rest easy.
"In humans, the Y chromosome is just the ignition key for maleness, while testosterone is its fuel," writes Faye Flam, sex columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, in her recent book, The Score: How the Quest for Sex has Shaped the Modern Man.
Turns out that testosterone, despite its bad reputation not only in male health (cardiac problems, hypertension, buying red sports cars at age 55, etc.) but also in making war rather than love, is not the "poison" it's been made out to be.
It's believed that Alan Alda, star of the hit TV series M*A*S*H, coined the phrase ''testosterone poisoning'' in a piece he penned for Ms magazine.
Now how's that for making trouble in your manhood?
For another scientific view on the fate of the Y chromosome, read this:
The human male sex chromosome does have the ability to repair itself and may not be headed for extinction as had previously been thought, according to a surprising new study.A 40-strong team of researchers led by Dr David Page of the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, report their findings in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
As well as having a previously unknown and elaborate back-up system for self-repair, the Y chromosome also carries 78 genes, almost double the previously known tally, the reseachers report.
"The Y chromosome is a hall of mirrors," says Page, whose team has for the first time identified the full genetic sequence of a Y chromosome, from an anonymous donor.
Both the male Y and female X chromosomes are thought to have originally been the same size, but after the Y took on the sex-determining role for maleness it apparently began to lose genes. At this time it also lost the ability to pair up exactly with its partner and to swap faulty genes for good ones, as the other 22 pairs of non-sex chromosomes do.
But am I saying we don't need men, like this guy did?
All of my best boyfriends and husbands have been men.
To suggest that I columnized on this just to trash men, or because I am celebrating their demise, is just ridiculous.
But typical of those feeling most threatened by women like me.