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November 5, 2008

Dads. Who needs ’em?

I learned something interesting this week:

Men are becoming obsolete.

This, of course, is due entirely to the undaunted tenacity and sheer brilliance of womankind. I mean, think about it. In the last hundred or so years, what male-dominated strongholds haven’t we infiltrated? While the guys have been busy swaggering around declaring war, shouting about football and scratching their groins, we women have been taking their jobs, their political posts, their authority.

This leads me to believe that in another hundred years, women will be calling all the shots, and men will be our bitches.

Already, the only thing a woman really needs a man for is his … well, his sperm. And these days, more and more women are having that sealed up, Fed-Exed and injected by doctors into their reproductive tracts.

Louise Sloan is one such woman and she recently wrote a book about it called “Knock Yourself Up.” With the words “No man? No problem!” emblazoned across the cover, “Knock Yourself Up”is an anecdotal guide to getting pregnant, having a baby and raising it to adulthood without one of those annoying father types.

Sloan — a writer, editor and (in the interest of full disclosure) lesbian — knocked herself up three years ago via artificial insemination. Today, she has a healthy 2-year-old son named Scott. But not everyone thinks her decision to conceive and raise a fatherless child was a great idea. Sloan recently sent me an e-mail detailing some of the backlash she’s received.

“I’m selfish, Scott will grow up to go to prison as an inevitable result of my choice, and when he does, I should be jailed as well,” she recounted, “I’m having a child as a lifestyle accessory like a designer purse, with no thought to the impact on the child, and on and on …”

Despite such criticism, more and more women are having children the dad-free way. They’re called “single moms by choice,” and their numbers are on the rise. Louise introduced me to one of them, a woman I’ll call Sandy. I invited Sandy and her 9-month-old daughter to my house for a play date so I could hear her story firsthand.

Sandy was in her mid-30s when she realized that if she wanted children, she was going to need to act fast before her child-bearing years were over. She chose a sperm donor and had her doctor artificially inseminate her. Four tries later, she was pregnant.

Sandy talked openly about choosing the right donor and paying $600 for each vial of his sperm. And while I expected her to bemoan having no one to relieve her for an occasional girls’ night out, or tag team on night feedings, I didn’t get the impression she missed having a baby daddy at all.

“I really felt like it would have been nice to have a partner when I had morning sickness,” she admitted when pressed for details. “I thought, ‘Oh God, I wish I would have had someone to take care of me.’” She paused, and then continued, “I worry about the future and doing dad and daughter things, certainly, but right now I’m not feeling any negatives.”

In fact, Sandy contends that in some ways, being a single mom by choice is easier. She can focus all her energy on her daughter, doesn’t have to compromise in parenting decisions, or have dinner ready at a certain time, or have sex when she doesn’t feel like it.

Dads … who needs ’em?

Well, most of us, according to Louise Sloan. She says almost all of the dozens of single moms by choice she interviewed would rather have had a dad in the picture. Life just didn’t work out that way.

“I think single mothers by choice probably value fatherhood MORE than your average mom, in a way, because they know what they’re missing (and what their child is missing),” she wrote to me. “They’re not in a position to take fatherhood for granted.”

And while Sandy says she’s doing fine without a man, she still hopes there will be one in her future, not to mention a brother or sister for her daughter.

“I really want her to have a sibling,” she told me. “It scares the living shit out of me to even think about that. How in the world would I handle that? I don’t know. I’ve always liked the idea of adoption, so I haven’t gotten that far yet. Part of me wants to wait for a guy to come along and continue my family that way, too.”

So despite our impending domination, maybe we women should keep a few dudes around after all. I suppose my own husband deserves a shot — he’s pretty much obsessed with being the best dad. And now that I’ve seen the big picture, I think more men out there should follow his lead. Stop thinking that devoting yourself to your kids means giving up your freedom or your masculinity.

Think of it as job security. 

Read more Suburban Turmoil at www.suburbanturmoil.com

 

 

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