Okay, students. Professor Judge E. Dog is back today with another useful lesson. You may have friends or family members who seem stubbornly unwilling to shout their reproductive plans from the rooftops. When
interrogated asked, they give “cute” answers such as “When we’re ready, we’ll let you know” or “I just want more puppies.”
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There are countless articles out there advising people how to evade your questions and hide this important information. These devious masterminds have a host of skillful dodges at their disposal. What’s a Nosy Parker to do? It’s just not fair. You’re just embracing your inner Mary Worth. Where are the tips about the right way to ask this question? (Here. Those tips are here.)
In a perfect world, everyone would just send out a monthly newsletter giving you an update. (By “everyone” I mean women of childbearing age, whether single or married. They’re the ones that owe you an explanation, after all.) It would bear a clever title (“Egg Drop Scoop” or “Z is for Zygote”) and contain features such as:
- Ovulation Station: Which Days We’ll Be Doing It
- Fertility Now: Mind Over Matter
- Just Keep Swimming: This Month’s Sperm Count
- Cashing In: A Visit to the Sperm Bank
- Poll: Who is your favorite sperm donor?
- Adventures in Fur-tility: Pets as Practice for Children
- I’m Sorry, But Your Fetus is in Another Castle (surrogacy stories)
- Missionary to Mars: Positions We’ve Tried
- Money Schmoney: All You Need is Love
- I Wish I Was a Seahorse (male guest columnist)
- Opt to Adopt: The Baby Behind Door #3
- Myrtle the Fertile Turtle (advice column in the vein of “Dear Abby”)
The newsletter (“Fallopian Follies”) would be discontinued when your friend either tells you that she doesn’t plan to have kids or goes through the Change.
If the former, the final installment of the newsletter (“Under and Ova”) would just be the words “I’m sorry” in giant red Comic Sans. It would also contain an email address to be used solely for the purpose of entreating your friend to reconsider this horrible decision, whether she is now childless or is already a mother of seven.
(In some cases, your friend would be allowed to set up the email to send this auto-response: “As you already know from my monthly newsletter, Adventures in Baby-Making, I am infertile. However, thank you for your well-meaning message reminding me of that fact. I’d hate to take my mind off of it for even a second.” However, you would still be permitted to send your friend information on invasive procedures that she may or may not have already considered, as well as the website of a shaman in Siberia who has done wonders with the implantation of alien fetuses.)
Alternatively, if the newsletter (“Rattle Tales”) ends due to menopause, the final installment will contain a long essay by your friend either (a) detailing how she has failed as a woman or (b) explaining that the children she does have are the light of her life and how anyone without children has failed as a woman. No email address will be provided for follow-up questions and the essay will be the final word on the subject. Although it’s important to remind your friends of the poor choices they’ve made, I do not recommend provoking a woman mid-hot flash. Safety first.
Alas, people are selfish and not a single issue of “All My Unborn Children” or “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Womb” has appeared in your inbox. You’ve had to result to social media mommyjacking in hopes of finding out the answer. Never fear, I’m about to teach you how to ask people when they’re going to have children.
Are you ready?
Step 1: Open your mouth.
Step 2: Shut it.
It’s that simple!
When it comes to reproductive plans (and many other personal matters), I’m in favor of a “Don’t Ask” policy. Note that I dropped the “Don’t Tell” part – I believe that half is optional. People can tell or not tell you whatever they want. However, let’s not pretend that admitting you don’t want children is some sort of shameful secret or that it’s something requiring an explanation or justification to anyone else. Leave the judgy pants at home, okay? Live and let live. Enjoy any resulting cat or dog photos that appear on your friend’s Facebook page.
You don’t need to know my plans, unless I want to tell you. I don’t need to know yours, unless you want to tell me. Don’t assume that you know my plans because, as my mom always said, that just makes an ass out of you and me. (Sidebar: I never quite got that saying. How does it make an ass out of me? I’m the innocent assumee.) (Sidebar to the sidebar: I think I just made that word up.) (Sidebar to the sidebar to the sidebar: This commercial is hilarious, and I wanted to share it even though it’s not related to either of the other sidebars.) (If I added a fourth sidebar, would I just end up back where I started? Help me, Geometry!)
h/t Pamela for the commercial and for the article that inspired this post.