Men And Superwomen Redux

There was one of those “feel good” human interest stories in The Times last week about a woman living in Brooklyn who was celebrating her 112th birthday.  She is one of 89 supercentenarians (people at least 110 years old) living in the world today.  Of those 89 people, 83 of them are women…meaning that more than 93% of all supercentenarians are women.  In fact, of the 53 oldest people alive today only one is a man…meaning that 98% of the oldest 53 people in the world are women.  (You see where this is going?)  In the United States there are 22 supercentenarians.  Oh and by the way, did I mention ALL OF THEM ARE WOMEN! (that’s me almost shouting)…meaning 100% of the 22 oldest people living in America don’t and never did, have a penis.

I wrote about this topic a few years ago ( when I was younger and more callow.  I related the facts in a tongue in cheek manner which reflected a certain bravado that ignored the true chances of my living almost forever.   Now that I’m a bit older and more sober about my mortality, I’m starting to feel a little bitter about this huge difference in super longevity that exists between the genders.  And unfortunately, it seems that things are getting worse.  Three years ago, there were only 75 supercentenarians, merely 6 of whom were men.  Since then, there has been a net addition of 14 more, all women. This trend might make for an interesting graph but  I’m not sure that’s how I want to spend what remains of my evidently, limited time.  Now, on the other hand, if I had better odds of living to be a supercentenarian, maybe I wouldn’t mind putting in a few hours with some graph paper.

The article mentions that the birthday girl, Susannah Mushatt Jones who is the oldest resident of New York State was married for a brief time in 1928.  By my reckoning, that’s 83 years of dating.  She has my sympathy. (I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get a headache from all this math.)

 Determining the authenticity of her age (and all supercentenarians) is the responsibility of an organization called Gerontology Research Group which is headed by a Dr. L Stephen Coles. When discussing the skewed statistics for super aged men and women, Dr. Coles said, “We call it the female advantage. We can’t really explain it scientifically, though we know it’s inherited.”  Oh come on, L. Stephen!!  That’s the beginning and end of it?  No calls for studies, DNA testing or genome sequencing…just a shrug of your shoulders saying that’s just the way things are?  Couldn’t you even give “female advantage” a Latin translation!? And I’m supposed to believe that Dr. in front of your name has something to do with medicine or science.  Do I look like I was born yesterday?  Or 110 years ago?


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