Valentine’s Day is here. That means no matter how your Friday begins, if you have a partner, you know how it’s going to end.
There’s nothing wrong with fooling around. Armed with condoms, diaphragm, aspirin, Plan B, coconut oil, iTunes, blood tests, two passport pictures and a therapist, it can be downright enjoyable. But performed as nature intended, sex is the ultimate biological credit card—you splurge for seven minutes, pay nothing for nine months, and then get hit with the mother of all fees for the next 20 years.
Those of you in calcified relationships, or conversely in the throes of infatuation, feel free to tune out. This is really for the pudgy middle of the Bell curve—you know, regular people. You’re not in the shape, job or house you want. You’re drifting and mildly depressed. You’d be in an early midlife crisis, if you only acknowledged it was the early middle of your life. And in the pit of your stomach, you know you have to do something about it, soon.
Don’t have children.
On the adorable face of it, a kid seems like the perfect solution. Instead of putting in the hard work of becoming unique or facing the bleak reality of dead dreams, just use Mother Nature’s Instant Life Purpose (recipe: one egg, one teaspoon semen, bake hot). In a few strokes, you’ll banish those pesky existential questions forever, since everyone assumes parents are doing the best they can, under the circumcisions. Sorry, circumstances.
Except for one detail—it doesn’t work. In the most comprehensive study on the subject, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tabulating an astonishing one million people around the world over six years, researchers from Princeton and Stony Brook University confirmed that having kids doesn’t make you happier. In fact, in the Caribbean, regardless of age, “those with children… have lower life evaluation”, experiencing the same happiness and enjoyment as the childless, but higher levels of “worry, stress and anger”. Yet roughly three in four of us, they found, keep spitting them out.
Opposition senator Ruel Reid wants to limit us by law to two children each, akin to China—disturbingly draconian, comically unenforceable and ultimately unnecessary. Because there aren’t any solid reasons to procreate, and haven’t been since the Bronze Age, when we took extinction pretty much off the table.
Yes, the clock is ticking. Precious, irretrievable time is slipping away not just for childbearing, but everything on your bucket list. Learning Spanish. Living in New York. Walking the Great Wall. Having a threesome. Playing the piano. Buying that Audi. You’re way behind, and at current costs, that rugrat will set you back a further J$17,000,000 by the time it graduates high school. You’re not Michelle Obama; you can’t have it all. Choose.
No, it won’t save your relationship. You’ll get a grace period of hot pregnancy sex, and a few years of shared wonder at having created a hairless pygmy. Look, it gurgles when we feed and poke it! It must love us! But it’s a phallic fallacy. After the novelty and upholstery have worn, you’ll still be the same two incompatible people, only with less energy, time and patience than before. And adding an underage referee to your fights is a criminally bad move.
Yes, your parents want to be grandparents, and your four-bedroom friends look fulfilled. It’s a trap. Existing parents are like the living dead in zombie movies—already bitten, they try to swell their ranks, sending you everything from brightly-coloured novelty vibrators on your anniversary to their own deranged offspring on the weekends. Don’t fall for it. They’re trying to feel better about buying bigger clothes for themselves along with the children. Stay in shape and become their favourite aunt and uncle. You’ll get 80% of the affection for 20% of the affliction.
If you still decide to extinguish your dreams, torpedo your marriage, and forgo being sophisticated, there is a last resort. Wait a few years and call me to babysit. I love other people’s kids. They’re immature, unvarnished and addicted to Lego. We’ll get along great.