Sunday, December 30, 2007

When Child Stars Turn Piggy

Okay, I confess. Once in awhile I get sucked into reality television. This usually happens when I am on the couch, decompressing before my aforementioned nap and randomly flipping through the 200 channels of cable wasteland, desperately trying to find anything that remotely doesn't suck.

So yesterday, I was flipping and I came across a reality show starring Scott Baio. It's called Scott Baio is 45 and Single. Chachi all grown up!? That cute little thing?! Okay, okay, I got sucked in. Well, my excitement over sweet little Chachi didn't last long. He's still a cutie (on the outside at least), but I was dismayed to discover what a pig of a man Scott Baio has become. He's slept with (from what it sounds) hundreds of women and cheated on every woman he has ever had a serious relationship with (he talks about this openly in the show - in fact, the show revolves around his fear of marriage and commitment). Numerous times throughout the show he talks about women like slabs of meat, referring to their breasts as "racks". When he goes to a matchmaker and she asks him what he's looking for in a woman, his response is "blonde, nice ass, nice rack"... I guess personality, character and intelligence don't count for much as long as a woman looks like Pam Anderson. Not surprisingly, the friends who hang around with Scott on the show are pigs too (hey, they say you are who you associate with).

It's obvious where the show is leading the viewer. It's the classic coming of age story. They're going to turn the pig into a wholesome family man and we're all going to get warm and fuzzy watching the transformation of our adorable Chachi as he overcomes his pigdom and gets married. Oh, joy.

As the show goes on, and he begins to settle down with someone (who, not surpringly is blonde with a nice ass and "rack"), they start showing previews of season 2 and guess what it's called? Scott Baio is 45 and Pregnant. Pregnant!????!! Did I miss something? Did some medical miracle happen that allows men to get pregnant?

Anyway, of course this would be the logical next step - having a baby. This is what all filandering men who devalue and objectify women, cheat on their partners, are uneasy around children (during one scene he visits a day care center and is visibly discombobulated) and find it impossible to commit should aspire to! We need more fathers cut from this mold, setting the example for future generations. Are you freaking kidding me? First of all, with all respect to any filanderers who may be reading this, I am of the firm opinion that once a cheater, always a cheater and some people are simply not meant to get married. Scott obviously has deep-seated issues that have formed him into the person he is and it's clear as day that once a few years go by and the rack and ass on his Pambo look-alike start heading south and her blond tresses start to turn gray, he's out the door. And where does that leave the children?

This is my point. There are many people (like Scott) who are not family material. They are not fit get married, let alone have children, and yet our culture pushes the idea that everyone should get married and have kids - that everyone is fit to have kids - that getting married and having kids will magically transform even the slimiest snake into a wholesome family person - that getting married and having children makes one a better person. And people like Scott Baio and every other unthinking sap buy into it. It's a lie. Pigs don't turn into Prince Charming no matter how many matchmakers, therapists and life coaches they consult with. Women - even blonde ones with nice asses and racks - who marry pigs are doomed to eventually being treated like pigs themselves - yes, even by our cute little Chachi. Most importantly, contrary to the pronatalist messages of our culture, personal character and childrearing are not mutually exclusive. I can attest to this personally.

Napping in the New Year

It's been a wonderful week. I've been off from work since December 24th and don't have to go back until January 2nd. It feels so great to totally decompress, stay in my jammies all day, bake and - NAP!

Yes, one of the things I regularly enjoy on weekends - or in this case holiday vacations - is napping. I take nice, long 1-2 hour naps almost every day, snuggled on the couch in front of the fireplace nestled in my cozy down comforter. Ahhhhhh, bliss.

When I tell my childed friends and family about my naps, they usually let out a big sigh and then they tell me they rarely get a full night's sleep, let alone a nap! One of my close friends, whose second child was born in the summer, recently told me she hasn't had a full night's sleep since he was born! It shows. My friends with older kids are usually able to get a full-night's sleep (except on nights when the kids are sick), but forget napping. It just isn't feasible.

So on this day before New Year's Eve, I am raising a toast to all the wonderful things about being childfree, top among them the wonderful, rejuvenating nap!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Greetings!

Well, it's that festive time of year when our mailbox is overflowing with colorful holiday greetings from our family and friends. After a long day of work it's really fun to have holiday greetings to open. I love to rifle through all the colorful envelopes to see who they are from.

Some of the cards are photo cards - those personalized cards that contain a family photo with some printed message on it. Here's a peculiar thing, though. Usually the photos are of the kids only. The adults are mysteriously missing.

This always makes me wonder. Where are the grown-ups? Why aren't they in the photo? I've given this some serious thought and although I am not 100% certain of the reason they are missing, here are some of my guesses:

1. Since having kids, they have put on a lot of weight and have otherwise become haggard-looking. We all know this happens to most parents, so it would be understandable that they don't want their bloated, bags-under-the-eyes mugs memorialized for eternity on a holiday card.

2. They don't want to be seen with their kids. (Knowing some of these kids personally, I can't say I blame them).

3. They'd love to be in the photo but that would mean they'd have to get cleaned up, dressed nicely and (for the ladies) put on some makeup and jewelry. We all know parents don't have time for this kind of stuff.

4. They know better than anyone (since they bought into the racket) that our child-centered culture doesn't give 2 hoots about anyone over the age of 18, so why bother being in the photo?

So what's YOUR guess? Please vote on my poll (look to the right).

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Valuable Life

Did you hear about New Jersey? New Jersey is abolishing the death penalty. While Democratic legislators are working to abolish capital punishment across the board, it was reported that Republican legislators are pushing to uphold capital punishment for certain individuals, such as murderers of children.

This got me thinking. Why is it that the lives of certain individuals (namely children) are deemed more valuable than the lives of others? If somebody murders me, should that person get a lesser sentence then if they murder a child? Why? Is it because, as an adult, I am less "innocent"? Is it because I can defend myself better than a child can (although I would argue that in the face of an AK-47 a child and me would be equally defenseless)? Is it because this is a culture of youth? After all, let's face it - our culture really has no stomach for age. We all know that marketers only care about those aged 18-25 unless they are marketing wrinkle cream or erection medication. Women over age 40 are practically invisible in popular culture. Does this child-centricity extend to the value of life itself?

About ten years ago or so, there was a craze that took over the entire culture. I am sure we all remember the "Baby on Board" signs that appeared in 80% of the cars on the road.

I remember having the same kinds of thoughts back then about how our culture values children more than adults. What exactly were these "Baby on Board" signs conveying anyway? "I know you were planning to smash into me but WAIT! There's a BABY in the car - so of course you'll want to reconsider!"

Did the people with these signs really think that other drivers were riding around like the Dukes of Hazzard, swerving to avoid baby-containing cars and hand-selecting adult-only cars to smash into..."hey - there's a car with no children in it. Yipppeeeeeee! Let's go!!!!!" So it's okay to drive recklessly as long as you stay away from the babies on board?

In my opinion, the lives of each person walking this earth are equally valuable and should be treated as such. I don't care what anyone says - I am just as valuable now as I was 38 years ago. Now I just have to convince society, the media and our lawmakers of that.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

No Wrinkles

Yesterday at work we had a pizza party baby shower for one of the pregnant co-workers I told you about in a previous post. So as I was eating pizza and making idle chit chat with 2 women who were sitting near me (both in their early 50's I would guess and both moms), one of them asked me the inevitable "children" question. It's funny....whenever the "children" question inevitably comes up when women are getting to know each other, the tone of the question makes it clear that what they really want to know is how old my kids are and what gender. In their wildest imaginings they never even consider that I might not have or want kids.

Over the years I have tried different responses to the "children" question and I have found that my favorite way to answer the question of whether I have kids is to reply, "yes, I have 3 boys" and then when they get all excited (as women always do), I quickly add, "cats". That always throws them off for a second and then makes them laugh and diffuses any potential discomfort they might feel in the face of a woman who dares to pass on motherhood.

One of the women, Maria, immediately asked, "so you're not married?" which struck me as both funny and a sad statement at the same time. "Oh yes, I'm married", I replied, " we just have chosen not to have kids." The other woman, Lauren's immediate reaction was "No WONDER you have no wrinkles!" It quickly became clear to me that Lauren was very interested in my choice and wanted to know more. As I told them more about our decision, our lifestyle and our perspectives on parenthood, I could see that Maria was looking at me with a bit of suspicion and Lauren seemed star-struck, nodding her head approvingly at everything I said and asking lots of follow-up questions.

As much as women are thrown for a loop when encountering a voluntarily childless woman, I must admit that I am equally thrown for a loop when I meet women who are mothers who enthusiastically respect and admire me for the lifestyle I have chosen. I'm always ready at a split second to get out the psychological armor to protect myself from the pity, the scorn and the judgement that inevitably comes when people learn of my lifestyle, so it is disarming to meet mothers who not only do not judge me harshly, but respect and admire me.