Here’s a question for you late-20- and early-30-somethings: Does anyone else really not want to have kids?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’m at that age when my whole life is bachelor parties and weddings, and my Facebook feed is nothing but infants staring like opiated llamas at their mothers’ iPhone cameras. All my friends are starting to get in on this baby thing, while it continues to look increasingly awful from my vantage point.
On the other hand, I know about science. I read “The Selfish Gene.” I know that biologically, evolutionarily, there’s a sappy little gremlin inside of me that really wants to put a baby in the most fearsome dame I can find so that my genes will improve, live on and have a glancing shot at conquering the known world, Genghis Khan-style. I know that people who swear they’ll never have kids usually are about 1.5 years away from a little Blue Carter Markley (or whatever one names a kid).
I have to avoid this fate. Can’t we compromise on this? I’m just spitballing here, but how about a quarter-of-the-way type fatherhood involving lesbians?
Wait! Do not write an angry letter. Hear me out.
Why not have a kid with lesbians? That seems like a fair, reasonable, simple solution for a generally progressive dude who wants a kid without all the hard work, financial responsibility and emotional exhaustion of actually raising North West Markley. You find yourself one really terrific lesbian couple looking to become parents, party a few times to make sure you’re socially compatible, exchange political ideas to ensure they won’t turn the kid into an a-hole and then you head to the sperm bank and get the easiest part over with.
Rather than succumb to my selfish gene, I’ll trick it while actually out-selfishing it. Yes, I’ll continue to buy Pedialyte and children’s NyQuil, but strictly as a hangover cure and a means to get that hangover when my road trip passes through a dry county.
Sure, there are things left to figure out, like, “What’s my role in this child’s life?” I’m guessing I’d be like the cool uncle. I’d whisk into town on birthdays and major holidays, bring presents, babysit occasionally and make out with some hot Kentucky TV producer while I babysit (this was the first oddly specific child care fantasy that came to mind). Then when the young one finally grows into a rebellious teenager, I’d give him or her a first hit of weed.
Frankly, I’m not sure how this is not already a thing. It solves so many complex societal problems. Forget two-parent households—let’s start more 2.25-parent households. Let’s escape from our narrow conception of the stifling and atomizing nuclear family into a weird, broad panoply of family conditions. Let’s not just “raise children” but grow community. Let’s encourage social bonds beyond our stunted Eisenhower-era sensibilities and allow commitment-averse guys and their loving, dedicated lesbian couple friends to lead the charge.
Keep in mind I came up with this idea 45 seconds ago. I’d also be open to just getting rid of Facebook.
Stephen Markley is a RedEye special contributor.