This Be the Verse

They **** you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were ****ed up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

– Philip Larkin

A Leep of Faith

A couple of weeks back I had a colposcopy and now I have to have a leep. I had one in 2008 for which I had to be an outpatient in the hospital and also be put under. And pay off a $1000 copay over the next couple of years (fuck you, insurance industry). I made sure to pay it off as slowly as possible as a protest, not just because I was making $26,000 yearly at the time (yay nonprofit theatre).

Luckily, they’ve advanced since then and I don’t need the hospital or to be put under. I had to go in for a “leep chat” with the doctor who performed the colposcopy and I laughed inside when she went over, very seriously, the complications that can come about from a leep if you ever get pregnant afterwards.

I listened, nodded, said I understood, biting my tongue from yelling, “doctor, I told you I didn’t want kids, why don’t you listen?” and then my ears perked up when she said that there’s a chance that my cervix could heal, in later years, and “close up” making it difficult to insert an IUD.

Well, that stinks.

After she was done, I reminded her (because she probably just forgot) that I’m 30. don’t want, and have never wanted, kids, so any complications from pregnancy and not of any concern to me. There literally could not be a more ideal patient for her to be telling all of this to. I asked her if it made it harder to get pregnant. Sadly, it doesn’t. Damn. Then I asked her about getting an IUD inserted and she said it should be fine to get 4-6 weeks after the leep if all of the tests check out.

I’m thinking I should get a new doctor after the procedure. One that will actually listen when I talk. Because it’s really frustrating when one doesn’t.

At What Age

Speaking of not wanting kids, I went to the OBGYN for a colposcopy recently and I looked up during the extremely quick procedure and said to the doctor, “You can remove my entire cervix. I won’t need it for anything.” She replied, “Oh, I’m sure one day you might!”

I wanted to tell her that I’m 30, far from a child, and that I can make my own decisions, blah blah blah. But I did not. I just said, “Nope, no kids here” and laid back down.

Now that I’m 30, I’m wondering how many more years I have to endure people, my age and elders, as well as doctors, telling me I’ll change my mind someday. I’ve come to the place where I either smile and nod at people or tell them they’re out of their fucking minds, which usually shuts them right up.  

But I’m wondering at what age do you stop getting told that you’re silly and your uterus will turn on and you’ll want kids eventually? I mean, when does the biological clock supposedly stop ticking? 30? 35? 

As a woman, at what age is it acceptable to be like, “No, I actually don’t want kids and yes, I’m sure.” When do you finally earn the right to say you’re sure about your own feelings about something as possibly-life-ruining as bearing a child? Yes, you can change your feelings, but you can also change your feelings about who you marry and what house you buy and what color your dye your hair. But no one questions those decisions. 

I’m guessing it’s something that will eventually change from “Oh, you’ll change your mind someday” to “Oh, do you regret not having kids?” To which I will respond in the same blunt manner, “No, but do you regret having yours?”

Why having children is bad for your marriage

Life affirming indeed. I think women probably still say it (the pain and suffering) was “worth it” because it’s what they’ve been conditioned (brainwashed?) to think. I think women are only recently coming to terms with the fact that they don’t, in fact, need to breed and that’s OK (it’s also okay if you want to have kids, but for the right reasons, please).

I’d love for mothers to ask themselves what they would’ve done with those nine months of torture being pregnant and the following 18 years if they’d chose not to procreate?

Couples realizing they have nothing in common after their kids leave the nest is a huge problem, methinks. I’ve watched couples have kids and never again have hobbies of their own. Sad.com.

Will the media please stop reinforcing this untrue fantasy that people, and women in particular, are incomplete if they don’t have children? Please, please, please.

Travel, have dinner parties, spend time with your friends, go take a cooking class, get a PhD… there are a plethora of other options besides having kids.

Why having children is bad for your marriage

More reasons not to have kids.

Last Tuesday night, I met two of my closest friends from my last job down at our usual watering hole: Von (on Bleecker). It’s simple, has happy hour, and doesn’t get crowded until later in the evening. I adore these guys so much and I miss seeing their faces every day and going down to the Calexico cart with them for lunch and waiting on ridiculous lines for burritos. Anyways, I digress.

One friend, we’ll call him D, regaled us with how he’s getting fucked over in court currently. He broke up recently with his girlfriend, with whom he had a child (he’s adorable), and now she’s taken him to court for every last dollar he has. She’s currently unemployed, told the judge she’s applying for food stamps and is going to work part-time. For some reason this sounded OK to the judge and he’s awarded her $4000 per month in child support payments. 

Let that number sink in. 

FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS. I feel so bad for him. His girlfriend is a psychopath. And what kind of judge says OK when a parent is like “food stamps and part-time employment it is!” Their son goes to daycare, it’s not like she has to watch him 24/7. 

Then our other friend, we’ll call him G, cautioned us against marriage (partially, sort of in jest, because usually marriage is super simple to get out of unless you own real estate together) with the story about G’s friend who was just out of medical school with lots of loans. He’d never worked a day as a doctor, and when his wife divorced him, the judge based the settlement that he owed her on his “earning potential,” and he was now to pay her $1 million. He has medical school debt and he has to pay his ex-wife $1 million.

I think the laws need to graduate a bit from 1950 and get with the times. Women usually have full-time jobs and don’t need to be coddled in court.

That said: still not having kids. And being very careful with whom I marry (if I marry) and making sure there’s a pre-nup involved.

Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family

I think the New York Times published this in an attempt to decrease the population because who honestly would be like “yay kids!” after reading it? This survey should be called, “No Shit, Sherlock” because here are their astonishing findings:

  • Women do most of the housework, but men feel like it’s equal. (Of course they do!)
  • Parents who work and have kids are stressed.
  • Being a parent in America blows because you have no help unless you’re willing to pay top dollar for it. 

And yet thousands of people sign up for this never-ending-load-of-stress every year. I’m not saying it doesn’t have it’s benefits for the right person (I mean, who better to pick out your retirement home than the person who you tried to control for the first 18 years of their life?!), but come on. People who have kids in their twenties, unless they’re rich, are just begging to die an early death. 

Life is stressful enough as is. At least establish yourself in your career and try to have some sort of a stable life and income before you go dragging down another life or two into it.

Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family

A Bad Combination

I had a helluva day at work yesterday. After kicking ass for almost three weeks straight, some shit hit the fan. All at the same time. (That said: I’m trying not to think about it endlessly and kill myself over it.)

After a bad day do you know what’s not a good idea? Going on a date. With alcohol. And no food. But you know what I did?

I went on a date. After a bad day. Had two drinks. Without food.

Yeah, it was spectacular. After he announced that his 34 year old self really wanted kids. I should’ve just left it there but I didn’t. I ended up yelling at him. 

Obviously I’m not seeing him again (nor would I want to), but I did send him a message this morning apologizing for being so… feisty (?) on my his first date in 3 years.

Let’s review the math: Date + drinks + bad day = A bad combination.

Lesson learned. 

Radical morning thoughts: Having children is not a selfless act.

I was discussing with a friend yesterday the act of having children. He said it was selfless, I disagreed.  It’s an argument that a lot of people use for biologically procreating. Look: I’m not begrudging most of the human world for procreating or having the desire as it’s what we’re biologically programmed to do so there’s nothing wrong with that. I know people with kids and lots of my friends want kids. That’s totally cool! Great even! I’m just saying look at it for what it really is

Calling it selfish has an immediately negative connotation, right? But why? Selfishness is acting out of self-interest, says my friend, but isn’t 95% of what we do every day out of self-interest? And who are you having a child for if not for your own self (and your partner)? You’re not having a child for your friends, or your boss, or the mailman, or the dude that sits at the end of the bar at your favorite pub every day. You’re doing it for yourself. And presumably so you can raise a child in the way you think is right (more self-interest) and impress your set of beliefs upon him or her (self-interest?). 

If a person was really being selfless they would adopt one of the many of thousands (millions?) of children without homes. But most people make the (not bad or wrong but) selfish decision that they want a child from themselves who looks like them because anything but isn’t really their child. 

And they call it a selfless decision. 

The Instant Bond

I had a coffee date on Saturday with a dude. I wasn’t very excited because he was a) an actor and b) a vegan. Now I’m a huge believer in “eat everything in healthy moderation,” but I know there are vegans out there and to each their own. So the fact that this guy being a vegan made me think twice about him was very silly.

But the actor thing? Ugh. I’ve dated actors before. I mean, I went to school for theatre (not acting myself, but management) so I was around them all the time. I dated a lot of them. I can’t exactly get on their schedule while having a 8:30am-whenever-ish PM job. This, while less silly, was another silly reason. 

So, we met up at Joe in Columbia’s atrium on 120th Street. I love that place, it’s awesome. So we grabbed a couple of drinks and sat outside in the courtyard. We talked really easily. It was a good time. When it got too chilly, we came back inside and took two chairs and sat in front of one of the windows of the atrium. 

We talked on and on and on about music and theatre, families and where we grew up, religion and politics. And then he quickly through in, “Do you want kids?” And I quickly replied, “Nope. You?” and he looked relieved and replied in agreement. Instant bond.

It’s really rare to find someone that you get along with who also doesn’t want children. And it’s not that I hate kids, it’s just that they’re a real timesuck, they’re expensive, and I don’t think I’m meant to have them (meaning I don’t have the right disposition to deal with them). I look forward to being the awesome, super-cool aunt to my friend’s kids, for sure. I will buy them a copy of the Rent cast recording when they turn 10 (which will be so un-edgy by then that it will be like listening to a nursery rhyme) and I’ll totally be there when they are 15 or 16 and want to go on the pill. But my own? Nah. 

Now, who knows, I could change my mind at 40, but for the foreseeable future, I’m definitely not into the idea. I’m also not willing to make a life-changing decision right now because there’s a chance I might want it when I’m 40. That’s just silly. And am I willing to compromise that for a great guy? Absolutely not. That happened once already – he was totally cute and definitely a catch, but he wanted “a bunch” of children. So, we’re friends. 

The vegan actor and I said we wanted to hang out again, so we’ll see. I have no expectations. But at least we got one very important question out of the way sooner rather than later.