I Don't Need No Stinkin' Man (but I'll Keep Him Anyway)

Last night, I dreamt (or had a nightmare - take your pick) for the second time that I was pregnant. The first time I had this night terror, it was fuzzy and vague. I rolled over and told Red Beard as we were waking up that morning, and he asked, “And who was the father??”

I laughed and said, “Why, YOU, of course. My mom wasn’t too happy… about the whole out-of-wedlock thing I mean.” And we forgot about it.

But last night’s dream was different – it was vivid and frustrating and bad. I was uncomfortably huge. My skin was stretched over my basketball belly. I didn’t know how far along I was. I didn’t know when I was supposed to go to the doctor for check-ups, and no one could seem to tell me. I hadn’t been yet, and I suspected that I should go, but I wasn’t even sure I had insurance. I was uneasily trying to remember if I’d had more than two glasses of wine in a sitting since I’d come to be in this condition – what if I hadn’t known I was pregnant and I’d been drinking? My memory in this night terror was a disaster.

I was ravenously hungry the whole time. I couldn’t figure out what my calorie requirements should be so that I could make sure the fetus was properly nourished, but I didn’t want to go overboard and explode into a quivering blob of fatness. And on top of all of this, an irresponsible coworker from 1999 called to push off his work on me. He said that I needed to make sure all of the lab equipment was sanitized before we could start the experiment. (I haven’t set foot in anything resembling a lab since high school chemistry, mind you) I told him that I didn’t feel it was a good idea to handle traces of unknown chemicals and elements in my very pregnant state, and he would have to find another sucker to do his dirty work. Finally – I had a use for this pregnancy.

When I woke up, I told Red Beard that I dreamt I was preggers again. He seemed a tad alarmed by this and said to me, “You’d better stop having that dream!” (As if this is a picnic for me. Eesh.)

I said, “I think maybe I dreamt it this time, because when I was out with Ex-Client the other night, she was saying how she is rounding the bend on age 40 and she feels like she’s closing in on her last chance to conceive. She has a guy and they’ve been doing it, so she thinks she’s going to try to get pregnant.”

Red Beard’s alarm bells started ding-a-linging and he said, “Does the guy know this???”

I told him, “Yeah, they’ve talked about it.”

Red Beard’s response was, “Well, he better get some papers drawn up!”

I said, “It’s not like he’s trying to keep her at arm’s length. They are doing it.”

He came back with, “Yeah, but there’s a huge difference between doing it and having a child together. He might want to get some papers in place.”

As both a woman and a defender of my friend, I felt an affront. I got excited and said, “It’s not like this guy needs to be protected from her.” Red Beard left the room. I went on, much louder so he could hear me. I detailed her lavish financial situation – she’s smart and high ranking in a burgeoning industry, plus she owns a NYC apartment – and I finisheded with, “She doesn’t need him! She just wants a baby!”

God. It just pisses me off when a man assumes that a woman would try to trap him and use him and somehow victimize him because she wants to procreate. I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen, and it’s probably more the rule than the exception. But I’m talking about a highly evolved, extraordinary and independent woman. And since the 1950s are over, I think there are more and more educated women who don’t helplessly fall into some lame marriage trap because they are financially dependent on men. And so maybe they don’t need the man baggage, but they’re looking for the baby carriage -- regardless of their relationship status.

My friend could just as easily go to a sperm bank. But it might be nice to give her man friend the opportunity to breed instead of tossing him aside and using a stranger instead. I don’t know what this guy’s deal is or what he wants or doesn’t want out of all of this. All I know is that he has known my friend for 10 years. They live on opposite coasts, and they see each other when they can. I think calling for paperwork for this man’s protection from my friend is both condescending towards all women and presumptuous about my friend and her guy.

I can't help but add here - if Red Beard sees a need for papers around the conditions of my friend's unwed childbearing, maybe he'll also understand the need for a contract surrounding our condo purchase so he can protect himself.

Happy Friday.

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