Today my student loaners called and I was like, actually I’m going to spend one hundred (100) US dollars on getting my hair as white and close to the edge of my cranium as Our Lady of Perpetual Platinum, Gwen
. The woman who’s been cutting my hair for almost two years has been married for four, is a possible Mitt Romney voter, pregs with number three and … my age. As I get older, my inability to commit to a full 16 ounce slurpee of all one flavor reveals itself as weird or something (red and blue at the same time, delicious & makes purple, searching in vain for a metaphor here, prolls waste of time) (unless of course the flavor in question is my super-mega-ultra- love-bro, in whichever universe he is currently inhabiting, probably not this one). Meanwhile, people (strangers!) with whom I regrettably come into contact ask me if I “have kids.” This question is just RIDDLED with assumptions about gender and socioeconomics and rife for the parsing. Without being overly douchey (while of course being extremely douchey) I like to answer “no, I have student loans” or “no, I have a haircut.” Or perhaps I should just say that I was lucky enough to be cripplingly self-conscious in my prime years for making such life-altering mistakes? Maybe I’ll just stick to “like I would give up this butt to a fetus just so some jagoff in 501s can stop returning my calls.”
Well into my 20s, I took a moment to breathe a belated sigh of relief re: having made it out of the teen woods unscathed by a lil me (except mini jean vests: GUHUHUH!) . The victory was slightly and hilariously marred when I realized that since I make about a thousand bucks a month, don’t own a car, can’t pay for food, rent, beer and platform sandals at the same time, and when I say “let’s get cray/weird” I actually kind of mean it, getting knocked up today would basically be as disastrous as it would have been ten years ago.
For the record, I don’t dislike babies or kids or parents or families. Full disclosure: I have all my kids’ names picked out. They will all be roller blading by age 4 and they will all go to experimental colleges and will never know what the internet or white sugar or Top 40 radio are, and they will probably hate me and become Republicans. But here’s a question: do men my age get interrogated about the current state of their genetic material in a similar fashion? I am willing to bet the 9 dollars in my checking account that they don’t. Is it because my time is “running out” while a man my age still has about three decades to populate the planet and legitimize his existence? Is it because men tend to “have kids” to a lesser extent than women, in the sense that they can always opt out of parenthood? Or is it because that some humans in the year 2012 still believe a woman’s greatest and only fulfillment comes in the form of motherhood, whereas men are expected/allowed to embody whichever role in society they choose to take on, their role as parent second?
I don’t doubt the transformative experience of becoming a parent (or whatever it is that people like to tell you) and I would never judge a young- or once-young parent. It’s difficult to discuss this topic without sounding like a condescending jerk, (plus pro-lifers will put a skewer through your neck). I look at young moms and don’t doubt that they love their kids and their lives, but the reality is that teen motherhood doesn’t exist as an option to girls of specific (i.e. monied) backgrounds while it is basically an inevitability or even a rite of passage for others. It doesn’t help that women-hating representatives and political groups have a surprisingly firm grip on our nation’s collective psyche and actively bully young women into keeping their fetuses under some imaginary code of “morals”, when we really know that these are just sad, small white men who fear female sexuality with such soul-shaking abandon that they try to end this sex nonsense altogether by making sure women don’t have access to safe abortions. I wonder how many young women’s lives are “transformed” by that.