We got a number of distressed emails about a recent piece in Details. Possibly because the description read, "Getting tricked into fatherhood by a woman hell-bent on getting pregnant is much more common than you think." Good to know!
Deceptive, baby-hungry women have always been a staple of male-mythology; punching a hole in a condom is the sort of thing we like to do between maxing out guys' credit cards on shoes and sleeping with their best friends. So it's not shocking that this particular urban horror story should make the lad-mag rounds just in time for Halloween.
What is shocking and depressing is the number of women who the author brings in to bolster the story, making it seem as though it's totally common practice and that deception is part of women's acknowledged code of conduct.
"It's not about trapping the guy," Jody says. "That's kind of old-fashioned. Yeah, you want him to be into it, but there are other ways to get a guy to commit. If you're smart and in a good relationship, it's just about the fact that you want a kid." Even in her circle of young, urban, and gainfully employed friends, Jody says, this particular brand of subterfuge isn't exactly condemned the way one might expect. In fact, it's sort of, well, normal. "I see and hear people talk about it, and I understand. I get it," she says, "and I don't even think it's that manipulative. It's more like, 'Hey, the timing is right for me. I got pregnant-oops! Well, it's here, let's have it.' I think that's more the way it is now than it was back in the day when you had to marry someone before you got pregnant. Marriage doesn't matter now."
Then there's alleged feminine "logic" like this:
"A lot of us feel like it's not even really fair that men should get to vote, considering they could be 72 and, with a little Viagra, have another baby," says Vicki Iovine, author of The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy. "For us women, it's really a limited window. We know that boys who grow up to become men don't necessarily want to be men. They like to be boys. And so women say, 'You know what? He's gonna just have to snap out of it-and my pregnancy will be the thing to do it.'" The end, says Iovine, sometimes justifies the means. "Any guy with a heart and soul, and preferably with a job, once he sees the baby on the sonogram or hears the heartbeat, will melt," she says.
Wait - what? Don't rope me in with these women who want to disenfranchise men because they're...fertile for longer? For every Cosmo-wielding nutter this guy dredged up (and I'd really like to see the email he sent out requesting quotes from "friends") he could have found ten thousand who found the idea not merely abhorrent, but insulting and frankly incomprehensible.
Of course, to the author it makes total sense:
The average cost of in vitro fertilization in the United States is $100,000 per baby-and insurance generally won't pay a cent. Combine that with the shifting social mores about single motherhood and having kids outside of marriage, and you've got a pretty good explanation for why some women, particularly ones in stable relationships, don't see this as trickery at all-it's more like a nudge.
What these "shifting social mores" are, he neglects to say. Nor can he get a real read on the number of wily tricksters are out there, stealing men's sperm and then gouging them for money, because of the women who get preggers while on birth control, "there's no way of knowing how much of that disparity can be explained away by "intentional" oversight, but that's a big gap to chalk up to carelessness." Okay, first of all, there's a reason the Ring has taken off, and it's not because a plastic disc in one's vagina is so incredibly erotic. The pill is an enormous pain in the ass, an expensive, distorting, side-effect-inducing millstone with no regard for travel schedules, the availability of doctor's appointments, sleep, jet lag, pharmaceutical and insurance vagaries. That's 365 chances a year to screw things up. And while, yes, theoretically, it works, the reality is never, ever that straightforward. So save your insinuations, please.
Are there women who do this? I guess there are. If you believe Glee, the world is full of deceitful women. There are a lot of dishonest, desperate, screwed-up people out there who do all kinds of things. But this is not, I repeat not, common or acceptable amongst women. If anything, I think we'd judge it more, not merely because it's awful, but because we've fought hard for birth control and reproductive rights and that wasn't to entrap men into marriage.
I can understand that it must be hard for a man to surrender all control of this issue - believe us, it's not so fun assuming the total responsibility, the chemical consequences, or the expense. But there are such things as condoms. A guy who claims he was tricked into impregnating his girlfriend (he has no contact with the child, but does pay child support) has sued his ex. The case has been taken up by the National Center for Men, which calls it "Roe vs. Wade . . . for Men." No, see, that would be if men were legally denied the right to wear condoms. But while I am, in fact, willing to believe this occasionally happens (apparently, judging from the psychos quoted above) it's also, as the judge ruled, simply impossible to prove - and more to the point, a very slippery slope indeed in a world where many men are all too ready to duck their responsibilities.
And it's irresponsible stories like this that perpetuate dangerous, offensive stereotypes and misconceptions. For the vast, vast majority of us, having a baby is quite a big enough deal without adding deception and ruses to the mix. Guys, wanna avoid this? Don't sleep with someone crazy, because literally no one rational is pulling this. Your DNA is not that appealing. Oh, and wear a condom. The needle thing is too obvious for most of us crazy baby-grubbers, anyway.
That Was No "Accident" [Details]