I love a good rivalry: Ohio State vs. Michigan, Coke vs. Pepsi, People Who Procreate vs. People Who Don’t. Wait — what’s that, you say? You weren’t aware of that last one? Neither was I, but now that I have a kid it seems to be popping up everywhere. First, there was that study that compared the relative happiness of childless couples to couples who have kids (the former win in a landslide). Then, this week, the intertubes had approximately 712 articles about how being a Mommy makes you fat (if you eat too much). And, today, in Details, I read an article by Brian Frazer called “The No-Baby Boom,” which is as much a jab at parents as it is an apology for non-breeders.
What gave me that impression? Well, (a) Frazer divulges his own disinterest in having kids and wrecking his super hip lifestyle, (b) Frazer peppers his article with less-than-neutral prose like “Unless you’re among the less than 2 percent of Americans who farm for a living and might conceivably rely on offspring for free labor, children have gone from being an economic asset to an economic liability,” and (c) Frazer includes diagrams such as the following, explaining the benefits of being a Cool Uncle instead of an Uncool Dad:
Wait, I think I get it. Having kids is bad, right? And it says something negative about my personality, doesn’t it? Well, as luck would have it, Frazer has also found an expert to testify to exactly that:
According to Laura S. Scott, who surveyed 171 subjects for her book Two Is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice, that kind of attitude [not wanting to have kids] is linked to a specific personality component: “A lot of introverts, thinkers, judgers—these are people who think before they act,” she says. “They’re planners, and they’re not the kind of people who can be easily led into a conventional life just because everyone else is doing it.”
Ah, yes, the thinkers and judgers. I met a lot of them in the 35 years that I’ve impulsively waited to have a child. I met even more while I spontaneously accrued two different master’s degrees. I wish I could have been more like them. No, instead, I heard the call of the lame and domesticated and moved out to Hollywood, California, where jobs are easy to come by, and where I have been all-but-too-happy to settle into the time-honored conventional lifestyle of being a Stay at Home Dad, mostly because that’s what everyone else is doing too.
Seriously, folks. You make your own choices. If you want to drink Pepsi, go ahead. If you want to root for Michigan, you can do that too. I won’t make fun of you for either. But if you want to passive-aggressively rip my decision to give another human being a chance to blow out birthday candles, or cry when his dog dies, or kiss a girl on the lips, I say poop on you.