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Things that are hard about not moving to Bolivia
October 12, 2010 9:38 AM   Subscribe

I am thirty three years old and have not once seriously considered moving to Bolivia.

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posted by Potomac Avenue (144 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
My god this is some sort of clever metaphor, isn't it?
posted by dersins at 9:41 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I scrolled to the bottom looking to see whether Soylent Green was kids or marriage. There is no legend. The secret can be found in Potomac Avenue's helpful tags.
posted by 256 at 9:43 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can't stand sanctimonious representatives of airlines that refuse to cancel your ticket if you change your mind about going there. Airlines in general are nothing but trouble when it comes to Bolivia.
posted by flippant at 9:45 AM on October 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


I liked this a lot.
posted by Zed at 9:46 AM on October 12, 2010


Then those women — the ones who weren’t even planning Bolivia — they’re isolated too. An extra glass of wine and bam. Welcome to Bolivia.

Dude, that is EXACTLY how I ended up in Kyoto that one time. I never did figure out how I got onto the train. I mean, wow. Blackout city.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:46 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought we were machines genetically predisposed to move to Bolivia. All our parents and our parents parents moved to Bolivia.

Should a salmon not return to the stream it was spawned from?
posted by furtive at 9:47 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think I have installed a Greasemonkey script without knowing it. Googling for Bolivia still turns up the country. Thanks for the tip, 256.

Bolivia is a weird land. People say so many good things about it, yet joke about getting your sleep and doing things for yourself before you head to Bolivia. Once you get there, you can never come back. Well, not for some 18 years, and even then, your life is changed. You are now a Bolivian.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:47 AM on October 12, 2010


I could have written the same thing the day before I moved to China, seriously. Oh, wait, this is some sort of metaphor.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:48 AM on October 12, 2010


It sucks how women can stop by Kyoto whenever they want just to visit but if a guy goes there even once... BAM = He's japanese.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:48 AM on October 12, 2010 [49 favorites]


Wait a minute, is parenting anything like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Because that scares the hell out of me.
posted by condour75 at 9:49 AM on October 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Even though I'm a woman of childbearing age who has chosen not to have kids, I found the whole thing a little tiresome and probably twice as long as it needed to be.
posted by kate blank at 9:49 AM on October 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


Should a salmon not return to the stream it was spawned from?

There's a bigger world than the family stream. If no one goes to Bolivia / the family stream, then it's trouble for the species, but that's not going to happen any time soon. There are other places to go than Bolivia. I hear Chile is nice this time of year, and I can vouch for Peru being a wonderful country. Wait, what did I just say?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to claim that women who don't have children never hear people asking about it. I'm sure they do. A lot, even.

What I don't understand is why I personally hear so much more defense of childlessness (every couple of months) than I hear advocacy of childbearing (basically never). Am I in a particular demographic or what?
posted by DU at 9:50 AM on October 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Gays shouldn't marry because they can't move to Bolivia.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:50 AM on October 12, 2010


Eschew obfuscation!
posted by echo target at 9:51 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Evo Morales making sure another man never moves to Bolivia.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:51 AM on October 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


This again?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 9:53 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some people move to Bolivia, others fade into Bolivian. Whatever floats your boat.
posted by brandman at 9:53 AM on October 12, 2010


Che Guevara went to Bolivia. That didn't turn out well.
posted by rusty at 9:53 AM on October 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I don't understand why I personally hear so much more defense of homosexuality than I hear advocacy of heterosexuality.

I didn't particularly like this article (I have a knee-jerk reaction to metaphors as a means of debate, especially when there are comparisons within metaphors like "I didn't chose not to move to Bolivia any more than I chose not to learn underwater basket weaving" - what's the point of the metaphor in the first place?) but it's hard to deny that there is a general cultural assumption that all women want babies.
posted by muddgirl at 9:54 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I, for one, don't care whether you have kids or not.
So much so, in fact, that I don't want to read your blog post about it.
posted by rocket88 at 9:54 AM on October 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


I've decided to believe that this article is about having (NSFW) cocaine blown up your ass.

Get it? Bolivia!
posted by poe at 9:54 AM on October 12, 2010


> What I don't understand is why I personally hear so much more defense of childlessness (every couple of months) than I hear advocacy of childbearing (basically never).

Every time I see a relatively intelligent person boast about never wanting kids, I can only think of the case study in Idiocracy.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 AM on October 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Thank you for not breeding.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:57 AM on October 12, 2010


What I don't understand is why I personally hear so much more defense of childlessness (every couple of months) than I hear advocacy of childbearing (basically never).

People don't advocate for childbearing for the same reason that they don't advocate for heterosexuality. They don't need to. Because the culture does it for them 24/7.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:57 AM on October 12, 2010 [30 favorites]


Here's the thing - I enjoy visiting Bolivia. I'm very happy as a tourist. I have friends who live there and I love to stay with them for a while, to experience all the pleasures of the customs and countryside. It's been really good for me to learn more about dealing with the natives. It's a lot of fun to spend the holidays there.

But at the end of the weekend, I'm ready to go home to my cat. I'm not ready for the responsibilities of living in Bolivia - early curfews, inflation, transportation difficulties. Sure, maybe someday I'll see Bolivia as somewhere to stay, but why worry about it until then?
posted by maryr at 9:57 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why can't people just say what they think?
posted by koeselitz at 9:58 AM on October 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


This article features the very latest in cryptographic technology, and is nigh incomprehensible to anybody in possession of a Y-chromosome.
posted by schmod at 9:59 AM on October 12, 2010


Anyway, I just wanted to say that I've heard very good things about the hookers in Bolivia. Make of that what you will.
posted by koeselitz at 10:00 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The grilled cheese sandwiches in Bolivia can be very, very good.
posted by chavenet at 10:01 AM on October 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I hear the beaches are better in Uruguay, though.
posted by jet_manifesto at 10:08 AM on October 12, 2010


Why can't people just say what they think?

Because by disguising the discussion, people might start pondering the topic without going into "Think Of The Babies!" mode.

Childbearing and rearing are loaded topics. By saying "I'm happy where I am, by my self" but without mentioning babies, there are no discussion of anyone being selfish. "Gee, you can live wherever you want to, what's the big deal?" But make it about babies, and not wanting babies means you don't want to carry forward the family genes / name / legacy, or you have some weird thing against other people having babies.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:09 AM on October 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


The grilled cheese sandwiches in Bolivia can be very, very good.

Perhaps, but you're lucky if you get to have one more than twice a year.
posted by kyleg at 10:11 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Australia!

I know you said you didn't want to hear it but I figured you really did.

For one thing, they speak English in Australia.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:11 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bolivia...? Why? What? That is an incredibly contrived metaphor. Why Bolivia? Why not Djibouti? Or East Timor? Or Lichtenstein? Seriously, WTF? What does getting knocked up have to do with some random country in South America? Goddamnit, I want my metaphors to make sense!

Anyway, yeah. I'm in my mid thirties, and surprisingly no one asks me why I haven't had kids yet. Nobody. Maybe it's because I look young for my age. But it's not an issue. It's like... nobody cares. Imagine!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 10:12 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bet she would reconsider moving to Bolivia if Lord Baltimore and Joe Lefors were chasing her.
posted by The World Famous at 10:13 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The grilled cheese sandwiches in Bolivia can be very, very good.

How're the taters?
posted by rusty at 10:14 AM on October 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


as a woman who has chosen not to move to bolivia, let me enter exhibit A in the "no one actively advocates for others to do so" question. its not that overt but its there, right up to and including the "oh, of course you want to move to bolivia!! you just havent found the right travel agent yet!" (gag), to "aww a pretty girl like you should move to bolivia!" (double gag), or the ever dreaded "bolivian clock" the tick-tock-ticking of which, once it starts (and it will, really, it will!) cannot be denied...its a subtle undermining of the idea that a girl knows her own mind re moving overseas, reinforced by the unspoken belief that we all want to move to the big B, deep down inside...

I hear they do have the best coke there though...maybe thats why no one ever gets enough sleep! hahahahahahahahahaha!!!!
posted by supermedusa at 10:17 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I really liked this article, when I thought it was about Bolivia.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:20 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


From the blog post:

But to say that I chose this life of Not Living in Bolivia? Impossible.

If you regularly have sex and use some sort of birth control method, you are pretty unambiguously choosing not to have kids. The default, if no action is taken in that regard, is that you have kids unless you or your partner have some sort of natural condition that prevents it. There is no equivalent to that for moving to another country, which is why the metaphor seems strained in my opinion. If you put on sunblock and go outside in the sun, you are choosing to not get a tan or whatever, even if you have never considered getting tan or don't care about it one way or another.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:20 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


One thing about Bolivia: the altitude makes a good night's sleep completely impossible. I mean, you're tired all the fucking time.

But the morning sunrise...
posted by gottabefunky at 10:21 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


That reminds me--one of these first days, I need to get my own copy of Raising Bolivia.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:21 AM on October 12, 2010


The default, if no action is taken in that regard, is that you have kids unless you or your partner have some sort of natural condition that prevents it.

Ummm... like being of the same gender? The "choice" comparison really starts to fall apart when we recognize that sex includes a lot more than "Penis ejaculates inside a vagina".
posted by muddgirl at 10:23 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The thing I like about this article is that it is in fact "really" about moving to Bolivia.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:25 AM on October 12, 2010


Yeah, I scrolled to the bottom looking to see whether Soylent Green was kids or marriage. There is no legend. The secret can be found in Potomac Avenue's helpful tags.

Hamburger? We all knew by the 3rd line, right?

Seems like we just had this thread. But better.

I didn’t choose not to move to Bolivia any more than I chose not to become obsessed with traditional Armenian embroidery.

I must disagree with this statement, unless she has never engaged in sex with fertile men.

Now I am wondering if she has a sexual/life partner. If she does, it's odd that she doesn't mention his or her feelings about Bolivia.

If it were not for the fact that so many of the women I know are either moving to Bolivia or talking about moving to Bolivia, it never would have occurred to me to even think about it.

I'm gonna call complete and utter bullshit here. We all have mothers.

Also, it's a horrible metaphor.

it's hard to deny that there is a general cultural assumption that all women want babies.

That's because most do. Stereotypes sometimes contain truth.

*ducks*

"Gee, you can live wherever you want to, what's the big deal?" But make it about babies, and not wanting babies means you don't want to carry forward the family genes / name / legacy, or you have some weird thing against other people having babies.

I really don't get this sentiment. From the way childless adults portray themselves (in some blogs), I'm sure it exists, but I never see it. Maybe b/c I live in the SF area and was active in the Alternatives to Marriage project for a while.

I don't care if you don't want to have a baby. I don't think it's a big deal at all. Several of my married friends have decided not to have kids. Fantastic for them. Honestly, I think parenthood generally makes people better people, but some people are plenty great already. And some people don't want to be "better." And some people don't care.

If you tell me that no one should have kids, I'll argue that. If you tell me that you don't want to have kids, that's great. That's your choice. I'm glad at least that you made a conscious decision before you or a partner got pregnant by accident.

The only people I know who really pressure people to have kids is your mom. And that's only b/c she wants grandkids. Considering she had you, that sorta makes sense.

If anyone else does, just tell them to fuck off and leave it at that. Screw Bolivia metaphors.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 AM on October 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


let me enter exhibit A in the "no one actively advocates for others to do so" question. its not that overt but its there, right up to and including the "oh, of course you want to move to bolivia!! you just havent found the right travel agent yet!" (gag), to "aww a pretty girl like you should move to bolivia!" (double gag), or the ever dreaded "bolivian clock" the tick-tock-ticking of which, once it starts (and it will, really, it will!) cannot be denied...its a subtle undermining of the idea that a girl knows her own mind re moving overseas, reinforced by the unspoken belief that we all want to move to the big B, deep down inside...

These people are assholes who generally just want to have sex with you. They are the same people who tell you that you'd look prettier if you smiled.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:27 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Chilean Miners YA!
posted by clavdivs at 10:28 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The grilled cheese sandwiches in Bolivia can be very, very good.

How're the taters?


Let me put it this way: they invented the damn things!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:28 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


re: Lord Baltimore and Joe Lefors...

Who are those guys?!
posted by mrgrimm at 10:30 AM on October 12, 2010


bored NPR internees.
hmm
posted by clavdivs at 10:31 AM on October 12, 2010


I know a (Peruvian) joke about Bolivia.

Bolivia & Peru share Lake Titicaca.

Peru got the Titi.
posted by jontyjago at 10:31 AM on October 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


Came for the lithium, stayed for the little hats.

Wait, what are we talking about?
posted by delmoi at 10:32 AM on October 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have known many people who for whatever reason have had no desire to move to Bolivia.

But as far as I know, all of them also dreamed of living in Venezuela. A country which they imagine is much like Bolivia, without the paperwork.

True, some of them believe Venezuela to be a purely fictional country, so they don't imagine they will ever get to live there. Which doesn't mean they don't dream about it, only that they sometimes feel the need to pretend that they're much too cool and worldly-wise to think of such things.
posted by philipy at 10:33 AM on October 12, 2010


Yeahhhh I think maybe as a dude I am not prepared to appreciate this.

The whole "how DARE you call what I'm doing a 'choice'! It's not a choice! Everybody ELSE is making a choice, I'm not!" thing.

I understand the "it shouldn't be a problem if I happen not to want children, quit giving me shit about it" thing, but the "how dare anyone even suggest that I ever made a conscious decision about whether to have children -- I am so insulted by that!" thing I am not really getting.

I mean, I get it, but I just can't bring myself to give a shit.

Probably just cause I'm a dude.
posted by edheil at 10:33 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't care if people go to Bolivia or not, but I really think it's awful when they insist that they don't want to go to Bolivia when they're young enough to make the trip naturally but then decide when they're old and not physically healthy enough to make a normal Bolivian trip they take all sorts of travel aides and end up going to Bolivia 3.5 times at once, with no part of the trip really turning out that good for anyone involved.

Also, if you can't buy your own tickets, it's perfectly valid to take someone else's. There are so many free/unused tickets to Bolivia out there that it's stupid to insist on buying your own using expensive and unhealthy travel aides.
posted by reklus at 10:39 AM on October 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


New Zealand. You really, really need to visit Queenstown. Much more fun than Bolivia.
posted by TDavis at 10:40 AM on October 12, 2010


Guys! Guys! This jawn is not really about Bolivia at all! !!!


As to this:
How're the taters?

Hardcore, that's how.
posted by Mister_A at 10:40 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If it were not for the fact that so many of the women I know are either moving to Bolivia or talking about moving to Bolivia, it never would have occurred to me to even think about it.

I think it's very sad that she didn't understand how human reproduction works until her friends started getting pregnant. We need better sex education, people!
posted by The World Famous at 10:41 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


The grilled cheese sandwiches in Bolivia can be very, very good.

How're the taters?


Hardcore.
posted by sonika at 10:42 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


DAMN YOU, MISTER_A.
posted by sonika at 10:43 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Buffalo buffalo bolivia Bolivia buffalo
posted by not_on_display at 10:44 AM on October 12, 2010


Why not Djibouti?

I've never been in Djibouti. But I hear it's fine.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:47 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cripey what an annoying metaphor. Made worse, in my case, since my wife, who is childless by choice, which I think is the point of the Bolivia metaphor, recently took a vacation in the actual country of Bolivia. So what is it about Bolivia that's like having children? Is it the exotic birds, the bizarre sculptural phone booths, the 17th century European chamber music, or the ever ubiquitous Toyota Corolla Station Wagons?
posted by localroger at 10:47 AM on October 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ummm... like being of the same gender? The "choice" comparison really starts to fall apart when we recognize that sex includes a lot more than "Penis ejaculates inside a vagina".

Yes I would agree that same sex couples don't make a choice to not have children in the same way that millions of people who use some sort of birth control method do, but I don't think the article is really talking about that. I doubt that many openly gay males get pestered by friends about whether or not they are going to father any children or whatever. My point is that the vast majority of people who get accused of choosing not to have children in the ways described in the article have in fact done something that generally results in childbirth and have taken conscious and deliberate steps to prevent it from happening.

In my opinion it shouldn't be seen as some sort of crazy out of the ordinary thing though, any more than choosing to brush your teeth so you don't get cavities is crazy. I think part of the reason there is a social clash over this is that widespread and effective birth control is a relatively recent technological development and social expectations haven't caught up yet.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:47 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I found this really offensive to childfree Bolivians.
posted by NoraReed at 10:53 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


'On the origin and meaning of South American Indian potato names'.

Annual Subscription The Americas
Institutional: Online Only $3263


hmm


posted by clavdivs at 10:53 AM on October 12, 2010


I slept with a girl once and then all of a sudden we both had tickets to Bolivia. Then she dumped me but I still had to pay for her ticket! I also pay her rent in Bolivia but I can't even get a visa to come visit and see the place. Then I posted about it on AskMe and they said I had chosen to be responsible for this whole Bolivia arrangement, just by having sex...
posted by a young man in spats at 10:54 AM on October 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Incompre-fucking-hensible.
I'm adding this to the list of shit I just don't get.
posted by sfts2 at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2010


I'm still not 100% certain she's not talking about anal.
posted by Cyrano at 10:58 AM on October 12, 2010 [27 favorites]


I wonder if she's realized that most of us move to Bolivia because it's the only reasonably certain protection against dying alone. Fifty years from now, the rest of the world will be a denuded landscape of corpses and headstones while Bolivia will be a teeming paradise in which well spoken women of a certain age decry the ease with which their peers are moving to Cochabamba.
posted by felix betachat at 10:58 AM on October 12, 2010


But make it about babies, and not wanting babies

Oh, now I get it!
It's about babies!!!
posted by Floydd at 10:59 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never been in Djibouti. But I hear it's fine.

Well, as for me, I can't wait to go to Lichtenstein!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 11:00 AM on October 12, 2010


my uncle was a priest and lived in bolivia - then he moved out, quit the priesthood, married an ex-nun and had kids
posted by pyramid termite at 11:00 AM on October 12, 2010


Also, if you can't buy your own tickets, it's perfectly valid to take someone else's. There are so many free/unused tickets to Bolivia out there that it's stupid to insist on buying your own using expensive and unhealthy travel aides.

Please don't further the (horrible) metaphor.

A better metaphor might be the burqa? But I think it has to apply to both men and women.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:01 AM on October 12, 2010


I can empathize with the frustration caused by regularly coming into conflict with people who can't imagine alternatives to their own values (esp. family members). When people actually pity you for X or notX, and try to save your soul by converting you, thinking they are acting in your best interest, yes, it's annoying.

But jeremiads like this written by people who can't handle having a little social pressure directed at them are worse. Grow some skin and find some cooler friends. Geez. It's like she expects people to be rational or something.
posted by Casimir at 11:02 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, sonika, that is a pity favorite. :-)
posted by rusty at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2010


First MeFi post with the ormarriageorsomethingdontreadthesetagstooliterally tag.
posted by WalkingAround at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2010


MetaFilter: Not 100% certain she's not talking about anal.
posted by WalkingAround at 11:06 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, sonika, that is a pity favorite. :-)

Most of my favorites are. *sobs*
posted by sonika at 11:15 AM on October 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why can't people just say what they think shut the hell up?

FTFY.
posted by The Bellman at 11:16 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the men complaining they don't understand the "not a choice" aspect: How about reading as if Bolivia is marriage? It still works reasonably well.

Perhaps you're perfectly happy being single. Perhaps you are in a relationship, but you aren't sure this person is "the one". Perhaps you're in a relationship and are happy where it is. But once you get into your 30s or you've been dating someone a couple years, all your relatives start asking when the two of you are going to get hitched. Maybe you've discussed it, maybe you haven't. Just because you have not yet gotten married doesn't mean you've made an active choice not to be married.

And mrgrimm - Whether or not you care if I have babies is not the problem. I appreciate your lack of opinion on the topic, but much like one's religion, sexual orientation, political views, or long distance provider, there are enough folks out there making assumptions or trying to sell you something that telling them to "screw off" is impolite, is not impossible.
posted by maryr at 11:16 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


*if not impossible
posted by maryr at 11:18 AM on October 12, 2010


there should be blog were people can comment on certain blogs
posted by clavdivs at 11:24 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about reading as if Bolivia is marriage? It still works reasonably well.

The best metaphors can be taken as any number of things. That's how you know they're effective!
posted by shakespeherian at 11:25 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I've never been in Djibouti."

It's fantastic, and there's very little risk of going there and ending up in Bolivia.
posted by klangklangston at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


maryr: that's what moved me about this post, i can identify with what she's saying given my own take on marriage (at this point, post divorce). I hate that I'm always 'choosing not to get married' all the time rather than just existing in a different country.

This point of hers: I didn’t choose not to move to Bolivia any more than I chose not to become obsessed with traditional Armenian embroidery.

I didn’t choose not to move to Bolivia any more than I chose not to take up water polo.


is something I want on a card to hand out to all potential dates about my current state of feelings on ever being married again: I've been to Bolivia, and I had a pretty bad time, tho it's a perfectly nice place to live. Do I want to go back? Right now? No. I like it here. There are more cheeseburgers and good beer. Let's go get some together!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:31 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shoot, I'd love to go to Bolivia. Every time I've tried to go there with someone, though, there's engine trouble or mechanical difficulties and we never get off the ground.

Maybe I'll just go there alone someday. Or, hell, maybe go to Argentina instead.
posted by medeine at 11:31 AM on October 12, 2010


mrgrimm: Several of my married friends have decided not to have kids. Fantastic for them. Honestly, I think parenthood generally makes people better people, but some people are plenty great already.

So, what are you criteria for what makes people great? Please define your term.

If you tell me that you don't want to have kids, that's great. That's your choice.

Thanks for telling me that, in your opinion, my choice not to become a better person is A-OK with you.

I think self-awareness is what helps people become better people. Knowing oneself well enough to decide that having and raising children would make you a worse person, makes you a better person. Becoming a parent, or not, doesn't magically confer personal improvement.

Unbelievable.
posted by tzikeh at 11:35 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Becoming a parent, or not, doesn't magically confer personal improvement.

Surprisingly, it really can. Maybe not deep transformation or something, but many people can attest to having a marked change after having a baby. Previously, they just spent a lot of time dicking around and had no clear financial goals for the future, and then in the next moment they have a helpless little human grub that they're responsible for feeding and educating. That's anecdotal, and there is no shortage of worthless parents, but it does indeed happen.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:39 AM on October 12, 2010


We were moving a house one day, and my friend who was moving the house with me (just a few feet, really) looked at me and said "Some people go their whole lives without ever moving a house." I replied "Sad."
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:40 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get that people who don't have and/or don't want kids are annoyed by this. What I wish we would recognize is that the underlying problem isn't really that everybody is pushing you to have kids--it's that people love to comment negatively on other people's choices. I was astonished by the negative reaction I got when I decided to have a second child (second! Not even seventh or anything unusual like that) from a few people who really really really wanted me to know how hard it is having two children (and from my mom, who reminded me, her second child, that second children are always a disappointment).

I mean, I could write this kind of thing about any number of topics: How tired I am of the rude/clueless/faux-helpful/offensive things people say to me about (pick a topic): homeschooling, being fat, adoption, being partnered with a transperson, having chronic pain... People love to say dumb shit to other people about stuff that's none of their business. You're not special just because the dumb shit they say to you is about not having children; believe me, if it wasn't that, it would just be something else.
posted by not that girl at 11:42 AM on October 12, 2010 [15 favorites]


Burhanistan - what I was replying to was the statement that becoming a parent makes people better people. No doubt many people become better people after having children. But there's equally no doubt that many don't, and I'm willing to wager that enough become worse people after becoming parents that it could be a valid data point, if we had the information (and an unbiased measure of "better person," which we'll never have). Mrgrimm said that becoming a parent makes people better people. Not conditionally, not even "often." Just that it does. No qualifications. Ergo my response of it being "magical."
posted by tzikeh at 12:02 PM on October 12, 2010


This might be the garden spot of the whole country. People may travel hundreds of miles just to get to this spot where we're standing now. This might be the Atlantic City, New Jersey of all Bolivia for all you know.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:05 PM on October 12, 2010


I've been to the Atlantic City, New Jersey of Bolivia and it magically made me a better person.
posted by The World Famous at 12:06 PM on October 12, 2010


Did you try the grilled cheese and 'tater special?
posted by Mister_A at 12:08 PM on October 12, 2010


Thanks for telling me that, in your opinion, my choice not to become a better person is A-OK with you.

You're welcome.

So, what are you criteria for what makes people great? Please define your term.

* Compassion
* Patience
* Generosity
* A sense of humor
* Flexibility
* Sociability
* Loyalty
* Dependability
* Intelligence
* Empathy
* Thoughtfulness
* etc. (I can go on and on if you want)

Likewise, I believe volunteering to help those who are homeless or in poverty makes people better people. I'm not volunteering anywhere right now. I'm A-OK with my choice not to be a better person in that regard, at least for now.

I think that being sociable and friendly to your neighbors makes people better people. I'm not super active in my community right now. I'm not A-OK with that, so I'm working on it.

...

Knowing oneself well enough to decide that having and raising children would make you a worse person, makes you a better person.

Of course. I'm talking in generalities here. Everyone is different. I know plenty of people for whom parenthood would have made them "worse" people.

I apologize if my phrasing made it sound like I think all parents are better people than non-parents. That's obviously not the case. Most people stink.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:10 PM on October 12, 2010


Did you try the grilled cheese and 'tater special?

Are you kidding? I made it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:12 PM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like how she conceded right off the top that moving to Bolivia was such a powerful and widely shared biological urge that the majority of women in every culture throughout all human history have moved to Bolivia, which is maybe why talking up the joys and wonders of moving to Bolivia is such a ubiquitous feature of the culture at large. As opposed to it being just inexplicable why everyone was talking to Bolivia so gosh darn much.

Big of her to concede that off the top, even though it just ruined her precious little metaphor.
posted by gompa at 12:14 PM on October 12, 2010


If it were not for the fact that so many of the women I know are either moving to Bolivia or talking about moving to Bolivia, it never would have occurred to me to even think about it.

How is this even possible? To not consider having a baby? Ever? For it never to have popped in to her mind? Hell, I've considered flying to the fucking moon, I've considered curing cancer, I've considered sticking dynamite in the baked ziti that's been sitting in my fridge for three weeks and blowing it up in my back yard. She's a supremely unimaginative person for her never to have even considered having kids.
posted by incessant at 12:15 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mrgrimm said that becoming a parent makes people better people. Not conditionally, not even "often." Just that it does. No qualifications. Ergo my response of it being "magical."

Again, sorry for not phrasing it properly. I meant to enclose the entire comment in a giant USUALLY tag.

What I wish we would recognize is that the underlying problem isn't really that everybody is pushing you to have kids--it's that people love to comment negatively on other people's choices.

notthatgirl, thank you for putting into words my (latest) growing sense of dis-ease. The explosion of the commenting classes (via Facebook, Twitter, etc.) make me think that everyone feels that they have the right to comment negatively on everyone else.

"Wearing ___ and ___? Together? In October? You have GOT to be fucking kidding me."

"LOL. Ths jackass outside actually said ____ to me."

"[perjorative] in Starbuck's line almost knocked me over with his fucking fannypack."

"I just saw two relatively normal (looking) people taking their baby into _____. Are they INSANE?"

"Note to the two ____s kissing on my steps: Leviticus 18:22"

etc etc.

"If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." I need to call my mom ...
posted by mrgrimm at 12:20 PM on October 12, 2010


I regularly consider having kids, and I'm a dude.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:23 PM on October 12, 2010


When I was a wild and single twentysomething, I may have been to Bolivia without realizing it. But I'm sure I would have heard by now.
posted by Eideteker at 12:39 PM on October 12, 2010


Also, this makes my possibly Halloween costume much easier. I can just carry around travel agent brochures for Bolivia, and threaten to send the women I meet there.
posted by Eideteker at 12:41 PM on October 12, 2010


While wearing a parka, of course.
posted by Eideteker at 12:41 PM on October 12, 2010


I apologize if my phrasing made it sound like I think all parents are better people than non-parents. That's obviously not the case. Most people stink.

Thanks, mrgrimm--that was what I got from your phrasing originally, and I'm glad you clarified--I understand what you were saying and I agree with you.

I meant to enclose the entire comment in a giant USUALLY tag.

Sorry I didn't come back and read and respond to your original clarification fast enough, which would headed that one off at the pass.
posted by tzikeh at 12:55 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bolivia is landlocked. That makes it fly-over land.
posted by Cranberry at 1:10 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I lived in Bolivia for six weeks when I was 13. The airline lost my luggage for two weeks, so we had to buy clothes on the black market from people who didn't speak any more Spanish than I did. The zoo had condors, big wavy metal slides, and freaky massive popcorn. There were lots of kids selling souvenirs ("Autentico! Autentico!") at the archeological site we had to bribe the guard to get into. Church services were in a different language, but somehow I still knew when to stand up and sit down. Lake Titicaca was cold, but the salteñas we ate on the island were amazing. ABBA was on the radio all the freakin' time. It was simultaneously weird, cool, scary, and boring.

Sometimes I wish I could go back, but it's a lot harder to travel with kids.
posted by erniepan at 1:12 PM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I don't hate the South! I don't!"
posted by mrgrimm at 1:15 PM on October 12, 2010


Once again, a person makes a personal decision and imagines it is controversial, revelatory, inflammatory, or at the very least interesting, and sadly, it is none of those things. It's just you living your fucking life. Godspeed.
posted by docpops at 1:17 PM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


When your mother went to bolivia, and your mothers mother, and your mother's mother's mother, and so on back to your earliest ancestors, all of them, without exception went to bolivia, then I think the question of whether one is going to bolivia or not is kind of pertinent.
posted by empath at 1:18 PM on October 12, 2010


Sometimes I wish I could go back, but it's a lot harder to travel with kids.

I see what you did there! You shaggy dogged us all!
posted by Mister_A at 1:23 PM on October 12, 2010


When your mother went to bolivia, and your mothers mother, and your mother's mother's mother, and so on back to your earliest ancestors, all of them, without exception went to bolivia, then I think the question of whether one is going to bolivia or not is kind of pertinent.
posted by empath at 1:18 PM on October 12 [+] [!]


Why?
posted by docpops at 1:24 PM on October 12, 2010


Also, finally a place to post this! It's on topic!
posted by Mister_A at 1:28 PM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know if 'feminism' is the right term here (it's probably not), but one of the things that annoys me about certain strains of feminism or liberalism is that it wants to deny that things which are human nature are actually human nature. Most people are driven to want to have children, just as a result of a billion years of evolutionary pressure that created beings that want to procreate. It's not cultural pressure, because most human beings were having children before culture even existed.

It also find it funny that the same people who believe that all gender differences are culturally imprinted will in the very next breath say that sexual orientation is genetic. Having children is just not an arbitrary cultural preference in the same way that liking broccoli is, it's a fundamental part of being human.

It's fine to say that everyone should be able to make whatever choices they want in their life, and I firmly believe that it's a good thing that people are able to conquer our natural impulses, but I think one should always start by recognizing reality.
posted by empath at 1:30 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why?

Well, from a purely academic biological perspective, it's an interesting question of what one's role will be in natural selection.
posted by The World Famous at 1:31 PM on October 12, 2010


I lived in Bolivia for six weeks when I was 13.

Thank god for Roe v. Wade, amirite?
posted by dersins at 1:43 PM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometimes you win a trip to Bolivia, but the trick is it is a one-way ticket.

For some of us (most, statistically speaking) the choice is not whether to move to Bolivia, but rather whether to cancel this trip or go through with the registration so you can hand the trip to someone else.

That is, only a small number of us actually say "I am going to move to Bolivia next year" and start making plans to do that. Of that small number, some never quite get their papers in order so that they can actually do it.

So, the problem is that by the time you are faced with the choice of what to do with this time-sensitive free trip to Bolivia you may have already decided that Bolivia is or is not for you, and thought of it no more.
posted by clvrmnky at 1:46 PM on October 12, 2010


me: “Why can't people just say what they think?”

The Bellman: “‘Why can't people just say what they think shut the hell up?’ FTFY.”

?
posted by koeselitz at 1:48 PM on October 12, 2010


docpops:: Once again, a person makes a personal decision and imagines it is controversial, revelatory, inflammatory, or at the very least interesting, and sadly, it is none of those things.

Actually, and unfortunately, it is. You might not encounter the kind of responses that those of us who have chosen not to have children do, but I can assure you, it's worse than you imagine--especially if you imagine that it's none of those things.
posted by tzikeh at 1:49 PM on October 12, 2010


Surprisingly, it really can. Maybe not deep transformation or something, but many people can attest to having a marked change after having a baby. Previously, they just spent a lot of time dicking around and had no clear financial goals for the future, and then in the next moment they have a helpless little human grub that they're responsible for feeding and educating. That's anecdotal, and there is no shortage of worthless parents, but it does indeed happen.

As a parent, I can attest to this: I am not a better person because I have kids, but I am forced to rise up to the height of my potential much more often, and so I feel like a better person.
posted by davejay at 1:50 PM on October 12, 2010


Ummm... like being of the same gender? The "choice" comparison really starts to fall apart when we recognize that sex includes a lot more than "Penis ejaculates inside a vagina".

That's how you travel to Bolivia, silly. Sex, on the other hand, can include many things, like visting a travel agent, or booking a trip online. Sometimes you get a baby as a souvenir. Sometimes, if you're not careful, you get Montezuma's Revenge instead. And if you did it right, you'll wind up with jet lag when it's over.
posted by KingEdRa at 1:50 PM on October 12, 2010


Did you try the grilled cheese and 'tater special?

Oh, that reminds me -- I was reading a book by Christopher Moore, in which a teenage character refers to a naked, ancient vampire's testicles as "tater tots", and I'm going to run with that as the definition of taters for the time being. Uhm, in Bolivia.
posted by davejay at 1:56 PM on October 12, 2010


Going to Bolivia?
posted by fermezporte at 2:04 PM on October 12, 2010


Here's the problem I have with the "Bolivia" metaphor. (The non-metaphorical nation of) Bolivia is not a place I've ever been, or that I think about with any frequency. I don't know anyone who's ever been to Bolivia, or thinks about visiting, much less moving to, Bolivia. So if someone started pestering me with questions about whether or not I want to move there, I'd be like, "Hey, get lost, why are you even asking me this."

However. If a little under half of the people in the country were to suddenly up and move out of the country to Bolivia, or if moving to Bolivia were some kind of tradition that every other person I knew took part in, then it wouldn't seem so unreasonable for someone to ask me, "So, uh, hey...you gonna move to Bolivia, too?" In fact, it'd be a little weird to get bent out of shape because someone was asking me if I were going to do this thing that half the country was doing, and to want to talk about why or why not. I mean sure, I'd be perfectly within my rights to act as if this were a ridiculous question, like, "How dare you presume I was even thinking of moving to Bolivia, just because half the country has moved there." But I wouldn't expect everyone around me to pretend that this wasn't a perfectly normal issue millions of people were confronting in some way every single day.

I mean, I'm definitely sorry that women in our society are pressured by anybody for any reason regarding their reproductive choices, but I can't accept the premise here. If half the country actually started moving to Bolivia? Does anyone seriously think we wouldn't all very quickly be split up into Moving-To-Bolivians and Not-Moving-To-Bolivians? And it's a bit self-defeating in the first place to write a long-ass screed about how little you care about an issue.
posted by Pants McCracky at 2:05 PM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


reinforced by the unspoken belief that we all want to move to the big B, deep down inside...

Please, please come on down. The water is great and the altitude isn't that bad. It's the journey that is really awesome though!
posted by Big_B at 2:21 PM on October 12, 2010


If half the country actually started moving to Bolivia? Does anyone seriously think we wouldn't all very quickly be split up into Moving-To-Bolivians and Not-Moving-To-Bolivians?

I suppose it's a very bad analogy rather than a very bad metaphor.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:25 PM on October 12, 2010


I'm definitely sorry

You don't sound that sorry.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:25 PM on October 12, 2010


I'm definitely sorry

You don't sound that sorry.


I think my MetaFilter might be broken. It's not making any sound.
posted by The World Famous at 2:29 PM on October 12, 2010


If a mefite wanted to hate on something and nobody was around to be insulted, it would still make a certain Noyze.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:42 PM on October 12, 2010


They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

- Philip Larkin, "This Be the Verse"

posted by mrgrimm at 3:31 PM on October 12, 2010


As someone who very recently moved to Bolivia, I can say that now I really understand the appeal of the coca leaves.
posted by googly at 3:58 PM on October 12, 2010


You're not special just because the dumb shit they say to you is about not having children; believe me, if it wasn't that, it would just be something else.

Truer words, never spoken.

You get people who say dumb shit to you when you're pregnant. And then they say dumb shit when you have kids. The dumb shit just changes genre, it doesn't actually stop. You never reach a stage in life where unanimously, people all agree "Well! She's done such a terrific job, we're all going to stop mouthing off like idiots!" Doesn't happen.
posted by sonika at 5:15 PM on October 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know, sonika, that's a good point. I know my sister, who married after I did, got sick and tired of the grandparents asking her if she was seeing anyone. And my married sister and I would get the when are you having kids questions. And our parents would get the when are you moving into a smaller house now that the kids are gone questions.

It's not just the people who don't go to Bolivia who get asked about it all the time. The Bolivians just get asked how the weather is once you get there.
posted by misha at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2010


I was living in Bolivia when I moved to Bolivia. For realz!

So, reading this article and all this discussion is like looking at one of those optical illusions where you see the picture of a young lady, and then the caption says, no--it's an old lady! And then you see the old lady, and then your perception flips back to the young lady, and then back to the old lady, but your eye always tends to fall back towards whatever you perceived first, and you can't see both pictures simultaneously.

So my perception tends to fall back to the perspective of the land of chicha and cholitas and ch'uñu (which is what you get when you take taters and leave them out on the patio night after night when it drops below freezing, them stomp the water out of them as they defrost each morning, until you wind up with shriveled little black freeze-dried lumps).

If you've actually moved to Bolivia. I mean, BOLIVIA Bolivia, none of this makes sense. And while they have some tasty cheeses in Bolivia, they're generally terrible for grilling.
posted by drlith at 6:48 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't figure out if this particular strain of blog people know it's a pyramid scheme or what. This has nothing to do with Bolivia. It's just gross.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:28 PM on October 12, 2010


I feel quite uncomfortable about some of the "who cares if you don't want to have children, just shut up about it already" responses in this thread. It seems to me very similar to the "I don't care if you're gay as long as you don't flaunt it" type of thinking. A lot of childfree people just don't have the biological urge that most people do - it's not about conquering the instinct to have kids, it's about that instinct being completely absent.

Whenever my friends announce that they're having a baby, I'm pleased for them, but I don't really get it. I can see that it's making them happy, and I want them to be happy, but they might as well have announced they want to climb Everest or paint themselves purple. I don't tell them to shut up about it though, or imply that they'll never be truly happy or good people. Same way if a friend came out of the closet and said she wanted to have sex with women rather than men, I might ask her why (if appropriate) but I wouldn't tell her to shut up and keep her news to herself.

I don't mean to be inflammatory here, and I'm not in any way saying that childfree people have the same difficulties as homosexuals. I'm just not sure why people who would never dream of telling a gay guy to stop blogging about his boyfriend (or whatever) feel ok saying it to a different group who didn't really choose how to feel about a major aspect of life. The internet's a big place - there's room for people to talk about this, and you don't have to read it if you're not interested.
posted by harriet vane at 4:55 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bolivia...? Why? What? That is an incredibly contrived metaphor. Why Bolivia? Why not Djibouti? Or East Timor? Or Lichtenstein? Seriously, WTF? What does getting knocked up have to do with some random country in South America? Goddamnit, I want my metaphors to make sense!

I dunno if it's related, but in several countries of latin america "being in bolivia" means being pregnant, because bolivia sounds like a word derived form "bola" (ball).

From non slang to most slang it would go like this, although I'm sure there are more slang expressions about it in South America:



Estoy embarazada= I'm pregnant = i'm pregnant
estoy en bola = I'm in a ball = I'm pregnant
Estoy en Bolivia = I'm in Bolivia = I'm pregnant

It's like "having a bun in the oven"--> France is well known for its bread...I'm in France.
posted by Tarumba at 6:22 AM on October 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm with maryr : I'm ready to go home to my cat
posted by dprs75 at 7:13 AM on October 13, 2010


So to get this straight - you move to Bolivia after engaging in Ugandan discussions?
posted by salmacis at 8:01 AM on October 13, 2010


in several countries of latin america "being in bolivia" means being pregnant

I'm not sure I believe ya.
posted by acb at 8:14 AM on October 13, 2010


in several countries of latin america "being in bolivia" means being pregnant

I'm not sure I believe ya.


Well, I've heard it from people of at least 3 countries in South America, and of course in my own, Peru. We've got tons of slang phrases that sound similar to what they intent to mean, but in reality mean something completely different...

"De fresa" = "de frente" - Of strawberry= straight
"Alfonso" = "al fondo" - Alfonso (name) = "at the bottom"
"Graciela" = "gracias" - Graciela (girl's name) = Thank you
"lenteja" = "lento" - Lentil = slow
"De Costa Rica" = " De costado" - From Costa Rica = Sideways


I've got a million of these, they are like a hispanic version of cockney, if you will. And there even are some that mix Spanish and English pronunciation

Estas en Ohio? = Estas enojado? = Are you upset?
"guachiman" = watchman

Anyway, I need to go strawberry to work, because I'm such a lentil.
posted by Tarumba at 8:42 AM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I see it now, acb. Very funny.
posted by Tarumba at 8:56 AM on October 13, 2010


Thanks, Tarumba. That makes the metaphor make a little more sense. It's still strikes me as awkward and imprecise in the context of this blog post, however. You don't have to poke at it much for it to fall apart. I think that the more you know about the country Bolivia, the more annoying the blog post is. Why use a real country this way?
posted by umbú at 7:11 AM on October 14, 2010


If you've actually moved to Bolivia. I mean, BOLIVIA Bolivia, none of this makes sense.

It occurs to me now (having checked this thread to reference it elsewhere) that I'd replaced "Bolivia" in my mind with some place that no one would want to move to. Because, I mean, BOLIVIA. It's awesome, are you freakin' kidding me?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:26 AM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


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