Unpacking My Ancestry Results

Photo by  Ousa Chea  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ousa Chea on Unsplash

I finally did it. I sent in the 23andMe kit that had been sitting in my house for more than a year. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t really hoping for any validation of preconceived notions I had about myself. I mean, if it said I was more likely to play in the NBA that would be cool. But whatever. It’s just science.

I got the results back a couple of months ago. And it’s not like a small card telling you your blood type. It’s a complete infiltration of everything about you. It’s a lot. Like, a lot. So it took me a while to sit down and digest everything that was culled from spit globules. But now I am ready to unpack my ancestry results.

This might get weird.

My Judaism Has Been Confirmed

I am 100% Ashkenazi Jewish. I knew all my relatives were Jewish. Not really because they said so, but because of all of their invasive questioning and love of chopped liver. So this wasn’t a big surprise. I mean I’ve been to a couple Passovers.

But it made me think back to this time about eight years ago when I tried to sign up for JDate. Let’s just say I’m not a very active Jew. I know nothing. I never had a bar mitzvah. I am extremely areligious. But when I was trying to sign up it asked me what kind of Jew I was.

There was no box for “a bad one.” But there were all these lines of heritage listed. I literally couldn’t fill it out because you had to choose one and I had no idea. And I didn’t know if I chose one at random if that meant I would be eternally damned…wait, wrong religion. I just can’t lie, so I didn’t sign up.

But now I can because I know I am 100% Ashkenazi Jewish. And even if I can’t talk about the Torah on our first date, I can just show off my 23andMe report. Proof. It’s all coming together in my dating life. Must love matzoh.

Photo by  Robert Zunikoff  on  Unsplash

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

From the Neck Up

The results are vast so I am going to try to compartmentalize some of them. There are a lot of results that deal with the face or upper extremities. This is an odd box to unpack. The opening statements in each bullet point are the results of the testing.

  • Less likely to be able to match a musical pitch: true. Rude to say, but true. Very true.

  • Likely can smell asparagus: true. I’m just assuming this means in the pee. Smelling it in the pee. What else is there?

  • Likely no bald spot: true. I mean it’s thinning back there, but at 47 I am in very good hair shape.

  • Likely can taste bitter: true. Mad skills.

  • Likely no dimples: false. I have at least one. Or I had at least one. It’s all going to sh*t now.

  • Slightly higher odds of disliking cilantro: huh? I’d rather know if I was more likely to meet the woman of my dream off of JDate within the next month (I am not really signing up though. Not unless 23andMe tells me to.).

  • Likely no cleft chin: true. This is all I care about.

  • Likely detached earlobes: true. This basically means my DNA is perfect.

  • Likely no hair loss: true. Yaaaassss.

  • Likely wet earwax: who the f*ck are you talking to? I do not have wet earwax. At least I don’t think I do. Can you call me later and confirm? How do I know if it’s wet inside my ear?

  • Likely blue or green eyes: both. It’s true. They switch depending on what I am wearing.

  • Likely little freckling: true. I was covered as a kid.

  • More likely to experience hair photobleaching: WTF. I do not bleach my hair! Oh, from the sun. Sure, that does happen. My bad.

  • Likely straight or wavy hair: true. This seems against the stereotype of my religion. I’m confused.

  • Less likely to have thick hair: false AF. This is messed up. I’ve been ranked since I was a child in the Top 10 of hair thickness for my age. Come on.

  • Likely dark hair: nope. Red, strawberry blonde, blonde. At its darkest, light brown. Do you even know me, bro?

  • Average odds of hating chewing sounds: obviously. Tell me someone who enjoys chewing sounds. Is this like an ASMR thing I don’t know about? Who wants to listen to chewing?

  • Likely lots of baby hair: yes. Thank you.

  • Likely no photic sneeze reflex: false. Direct light = sneeze. This is very, very wrong. My life is all a joke.

  • Likely no red hair: terribly false. I’m getting worried now. Am I even Jewish?

  • Likely lighter skin: yes. Sends photographic evidence to 23andMe of several botched tanning attempts.

  • Likely prefer sweet to salty: yes. Now we love each other again. Give me a cake all day to a potato chip.

  • Likely no unibrow: true. Now you are making me mad. My eyebrows are routinely on fleek, with no work.

  • Likely no widow’s peak: true. I already told you about my hair game.

From the neck up it’s pretty accurate. But it’s not perfect. What ice cream is my favorite? Do I squint when the sun beams directly in my eyes? Is my sense of smell amazing? Do I have epic hearing? I’m still on the fence about this process.

Photo by  Scott Webb  on  Unsplash

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

The Other Stuff

I still don’t understand how I can be genetically predisposed to certain tendencies, but I am game for learning more. I’m pretty sure you wanted to know more about my finger and toe lengths anyway.

  • About 50/50 chance of experiencing motion sickness: false. I can’t be a passenger in a car. I don’t go on roller coasters. I don’t like spinning. It not me. 100 percent chance. Bad start.

  • Likely little upper back hair: let’s just go with true.

  • Less likely than average to be afraid of heights: false. You are a liar. I am terrified of heights. I won’t go near the edge of a cliff. Like ten feet back. I did something on VR for my son and almost sh*t my pants. Just stop. Now I know this is all fake.

  • Likely ring finger longer: false. Middle finger up to my competition. And this is getting dire.

  • Likely bitten as often as others by mosquitoes: true. I mean I was attacked as a child, but not any more so I guess it levels out. And thank God you told me this. The whole kit was worth it because of this.

  • Likely big toe longer: true. Ok, I’m sorry for all that other stuff I said. Now that I know this, I have first date conversation banter in my pocket. Thanks.

  • Likely to wake up around 7:50 am on weekends: true. But seriously can you tell my kids’ school that I need to sleep until 7:50 am on weekdays, too?

So maybe there is something to this. Or maybe I just wanted that big toe confirmation. I’ve been overcompensating all these years for what I thought was a small big toe.


This is what really matters to me. How my DNA affects my body’s response to diet, exercise, and sleep. This is everything.

  • Unlikely to flush due to alcohol: true. I don’t really drink, but when I used to tear it up I don’t recall any flushing. Of course, I was pretty sh*tfaced at the time.

  • Likely to consume less caffeine: true. I mean, what about the law school years when I drank 3 liters of Mountain Dew a day? Can we just call it a truce since I gave up soda over 5 years ago? Even.

  • Less likely to be a deep sleeper: true. I am almost crying because you get me so well. I hear everything, but it doesn’t really wake me. Like, my kids will never be able to sneak out of the house. Ever.

  • Predisposed to weigh about average: true. I love you for saying this. Also, now I am going to pound doughnuts for the weekend.

  • Likely lactose intolerant: oh sh*t. Really? I drink coconut milk, prefer vegan cheese, but I do hit yogurt. Duly noted.

  • Muscle composition uncommon in elite power athletes: f*ck off. You could have just played the clip from Airplane! where the stewardess hands out the leaflet for Famous Jewish Sports Legends. I get it.

  • Likely similar weight on diets high or low in saturated fat: thanks. Eating anything I want now.

  • Likely more than average movement in sleep: how do I know? I’m sleeping. And tell that to my kids who used to kick me sideways and my dog who is always up in my grill. It’s them, not me.

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This is all I need forever.

What My Ancestry Results Taught Me About Myself

I’m still kind of stuck on the wet earwax thing. I mean, it’s really bothering me. Kudos on the big toe, but this one is just hyperbolic.

In reality, the results make me want to research my Jewish heritage more. I can’t just rely on my love of lox any longer. I need to know more. I also think it’s pretty incredible that most of these indicators were true.

And now there is the rabbit hole of 1,085 relatives (25 close ones) to get through. I’m still crossing my fingers that I am related to Adam Horvitz.