Egg Freezing and Dating
February 8, 2015 9:34 AM   Subscribe

That morning, I was single and 37 years old, almost precisely the average age at which women freeze their eggs, although I didn’t know that then. Freezing my eggs did not change my dating life. What it did do was expose me, again and directly, to the ways we treat women when there is a decision to be made about their bodies: We judge, pressure, and publicly debate a woman’s ability to direct her own life. We fret about women’s susceptibility to “false hope,” about their being manipulated by the egg-freezing industrial complex, rather than believing women to be capable of assessing information and understanding risk. We judge women who pay thousands of dollars to freeze their eggs, rather than spending that energy advocating for those who can’t. We criticize women for not being able to control variables that are necessarily out of their control, something that is insulting to everyone involved.

By freezing my eggs, I did not become any more or less likely to have things work out the way I hope they will. What has changed is my relationship to that fact. Now I enjoy the late, lingering dinner with the guy whom I have great chemistry with, even if there is no future with him. Now I end a relationship at the first whiff of ambivalence, without giving a thought to whether I could contort myself in such a way that could make it work. I blame myself a little less often for the workings of a chaotic and imperfect reality. It is a more advanced version of the decision I made at 32 — to take a risk, to know that I was okay, to believe in my right to desire more for myself, to desire anything at all.
posted by Salamandrous (48 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
I found the BBC documentary The Vikings Are Coming, about Danish sperm donors and the single women/lesbian couples who use them to get pregnant a somewhat more sympathetic take on roughly the subject.

I'm not sure I quite buy the "oh all women are always criticised no matter what they do" take on this here. There's a kernel of truth in it, but that doesn't necessrily mean you cannot disagree with the decision this woman went with.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:45 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some people just plain criticise everything.

That being said, this girl reminds me of some people I have dated for short periods of time. Highly attuned to other peoples criticisms and pickiness because that's where their own heads were at, and therefore they weren't really in the mindset of "settling" and settling in. And I've been there too :)
posted by svenni at 9:50 AM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've read a few stories like these and there's always "the guy who proposed to me when I was 32 but I broke it off because..." and then the reasons are never clear. It's usually some vague sense of wanting more, wanting to find oneself etc., which makes sense at 25 but at 32 makes me wonder if they really want what they say they want, or if they still want some excitement. There's nothing wrong with the guy but a sense of ennui in the woman that she has to make peace with I think.

A wave of marriages passed through my friend group recently and every single one of them at one point had the "so how do I feel about this?" discussion with themselves. Maybe you call this ambivalence but to me that's just taking a step back and looking at things rationally.

I still really like reading these stories though - this was my life at one point but now it's not, so I can relate to the looking and the worry. But I'll also be the first to tell you that I just plain got lucky when I met my partner. Also I wasn't in NYC.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:11 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really am curious about what the problem with men is in this generation as well. But, it strikes me, that a lot of the external realities of relationships in the past have fallen away. Which leaves, at the core, the basic human desire for closeness and continuity and, perhaps, that fragile element of our humanity can't compete hard enough against the day to day grind of life and competing necessities.

Work, children, moral outrage, was the stuff that put a couple together in the past. If you want to have sex, you will have children, if you have sex and have children, you must support them. If you are supporting a family then you must work hard and if you are working very hard you must have the support of a partner at home to take care of all the other things that must be done to support the working partner. Sex is a sin, children are a virtue.

Now we are free to delay childbearing, have none at all, have sex without an endless parade of infants in its wake. Women may only make $.77 for every $1 a man makes but it ain't nothing. Women are allowed to work, allowed to be educated and have done so. Men and women both have a biological drive to procreate but men are generally off the hook when it comes to raising children. I think that men and women have achieved an intellectual parity in this realm where they can be together, enjoying the closeness and the continuity, and both in agreement about childbearing (not today, maybe tomorrow) but that eventually flies in the face of basic biological ability.

I have known actual real men in this realm, ready to be a father, wanting to be a father and hoping that the next relationship is with a women who will commit and also be ready and able to have a family. It's a real and true story and I believe it. I believe that if men's bodies could be manipulated to enable them to bear children that there would in fact be men who would choose that. However, the biological truth is stark for women. And there is no cultural narrative that explores the man's quest to fatherhood and encourages men to think along the lines of biological realities.

And men, in general, who kind of skirt the responsibilities of "true adulthood" seem to have a near-unlimited time-frame to do this and little actual consequences for delay.
posted by amanda at 10:13 AM on February 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


The first relationship is borne from a small, tight knit social surrounding. Usually school life. Out of the known set of partners, you pick the one that is right for you. You commit knowing that this is the best you'll probably get.

You disconnect later in life, at a stage where you're in a bigger, looser setting. The problem is that you're much less likely to make such a strong decision about a new partner, as you can't really get a sense of them outside dating them, unless you date in the workplace.

The possible choice of partners also seems endless, with new people in bars, on tinder, in party after party with new people. The problem is twofold though: You have less to go on with each person, as you're around them less, and you have fewer friends in common, and therefore you're less likely to feel as strongly about the person, and them about you. The match is much less likely. The support group is smaller. The other thing is, unknowingly, you compare this reduced attraction to the stronger feelings for a partner from the past, and so it's hard for you to be "all in".

This creates a reduced confidence in any relationship. You're more guarded, less trusting, less giving, and therefore less attractive, since underneath, you believe this isn't gonna last, anymore than the last thing did. You join the Groucho Marx Dating Club.

You could be a man or a woman. The experience is the same.

Still, men these days eh?
posted by svenni at 10:47 AM on February 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


I'm not sure I quite buy the "oh all women are always criticised no matter what they do" take on this here. There's a kernel of truth in it, but that doesn't necessrily mean you cannot disagree with the decision this woman went with.

Huh. I wasn't quite sure what I thought of her claims about the men of her (our, I guess) generation being particularly commitment-averse and unwilling to grow up, but this piece of it struck me as very true and very familiar. In my opinion there's definitely a social willingness to weigh in on women's reproductive decisions, *especially* around fertility assistance, in a way that men's decisions just don't get publicly dissected and analyzed. There's a common and commonly-vocalized opinion that fertility treatments are a moral issue where it's perfectly appropriate to pipe up with what you think someone should actually have spent the money on (or how they should actually have gone about building their family) that's relatively uncommon for similarly-sized expenditures outside of the fertility realm. I mean, at least in my social circles, it would be an eyebrow-raising thing to say that you think Tommy or Joe was selfish or frivolous to buy a Toyota Highlander (~$50k) when a Honda Civic (~$20k) would have sufficed. Sure, I might think that in my head when they were showing off their new car, but it's widely understood that it would be a deeply weird thing to say aloud to them or to other people, because it's not really my place to weigh in.

It's less about whether it's okay to disagree with any particular person's decisions, and more about living in a culture that says vocalizing your thoughts about a particular aspect of someone else's life is an okay thing to do, and a socially-acceptable topic of conversation. I think this is something that can be particularly invisible to men, because so few aspects of your lives are up for public discussion in this way. On the other hand, women are subject to what sometimes seems like an endless stream of magazine articles and internet comments and cocktail party conversations around What Women Should Do not only when it comes to fertility choices, but also around things like work/daycare/SAHM choices. It can get a bit exhausting and I think she's correct when she notes that underlying it all is an unspoken implication (whether intended or not) that women aren't moral agents capable of and responsible for making decisions about their own life.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:48 AM on February 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


On the one hand, good for her, and why so defensive? Who's to criticize using technology and money to dodge the consequences of aging? It's one of things technology and money are best for!

But also -- if you're going to be defensive, be candid too. New York isn't the moon, and reasonably attractive people get to their late 30s unmarried solely by choice, just like anywhere else. The people who want to marry, and who don't, pretty much wear signs around their neck.
posted by MattD at 10:57 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I did this shortly after my husband died. I was 34.
What I purchased was time. Time to process that loss. Time to process whether I actually want kids. Time to process that kids may not be a part of my path.
The last two and a half years have been amazing, literally beyond price.
It was worth every penny.
But the greatest part is that I can look back and laugh at all the concern trolls and busy bodies who questioned my decision.
posted by susiswimmer at 11:02 AM on February 8, 2015 [34 favorites]


MattD- not always by choice, you see. And I don't think it was for the article writer either. Some folks would need time and space after such big losses, rather than to enter another huge transition (marriage) right away. Write the askme in your head.
posted by susiswimmer at 11:09 AM on February 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Obviously I'm not going to speak for the men of this generation, and I likewise can't speak to the dating experience of this woman.

But this kind of thing frustrates me, and I never know what to say about it for fear of sound (as I will probably sound here) as some kind of "not ALL men" whiner.

Here's my experience, though: I'm not a commitment-phobe. I'm a commitment-phile. I crave stability and family so much that I've made profound compromises to secure it.

I've never dated a woman who wanted to have children. Not ever. Amanda's assertion above, that "I believe that if men's bodies could be manipulated to enable them to bear children that there would in fact be men who would choose that," describes me wholly and accurately. I would do this. I would be that man. But I do not live in that world. As things are, I will not have children.

She's right, too, though, that the biological reality is starker for women, in terms of the time pressure they face. And yet I can't help but wonder what the flipside of this story would look like. As a late-30s professional in NYC of acceptable looks and reasonable manners (if way, way above-average nerdiness) would my experience be what this woman's story implies it would be? That upon proving my willingness to commit and marry, I could easily find a woman to have a family with? I don't know. I'm not so sure.

I don't think we're going to know what's "wrong" with this generation until the next generation get to judge us, as will be their right. I will say this, though: I don't know that choosing not to have children when one feels ambivalence is necessarily a vice. My father stomped around a lot when I was young, muttering about how he wished he'd never have kids. I'll be honest: I could've lived without that.

If the men and/or women of this generation don't want to have children, those children are better off sans that ambivalence, and, too, existence.

Meanwhile, it's notable to me that single woman in the article author's position has the option—an option she may well exercise—to have a child, or try to. A single man with a similar desire has no such option; that is the stark biological reality I face.
posted by Sock "Danger" Puppet at 11:10 AM on February 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


By "unmarried" I meant "never married." Divorce and (more's the pity) widowhood are often not by choice.
posted by MattD at 11:11 AM on February 8, 2015


And men, in general, who kind of skirt the responsibilities of "true adulthood" seem to have a near-unlimited time-frame to do this and little actual consequences for delay.

But are there actually few consequences, or is it simply that our societal conversation about parenthood and age focuses specifically on women? The truth is there is very little data out there about the risks of being an older father. There is some indication it's also associated with increased rates of mental illness, cancer, and Down syndrome. It is definitely associated with schizophrenia. For a variety of reasons older men carry more mutated sperm than younger, and there's some indication the DNA passed on by older men has a higher risk in general of mutagenesis in the DNA they pass down. This means their age affects not only their children but all generations to come.

But this is not a well-studied field, so data is sparse and what data does exist is not part of the social conversation about age and parenthood. So for the vast majority of men they figure if the fetus survives pregnancy then the only age-related downsides are related to their ability to keep up with their children. If they think about that at all, because let's face it, the expectations of being an involved dad both with the kids and around the house are still a lot lower than that for mothers.

My point is while there are clear, unchangeable biases in parenthood between biological men and women, we have no idea whether those biases are as pronounced as we all tend to assume. It is quite possible that men who go for conceiving at 45, 50 are introducing the same level of medical risks to their offspring as older mothers--but because their bodies aren't responsible for carrying the child, the risks are more likely to end up being long-term and multi-generational.

It frustrates me to see these assumptions that The Science has checked off advanced paternal age as a-OK when that's simply not true. More effort has just been put into studying advanced maternal age.
posted by schroedinger at 11:12 AM on February 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


New York isn't the moon, and reasonably attractive people get to their late 30s unmarried solely by choice, just like anywhere else. The people who want to marry, and who don't, pretty much wear signs around their neck.

I disagree with this. Men in NYC feel like they have a lot of time and options and it's pretty hard to be a woman trying to deal with that. Especially in your 20s, finding guys who are interested in commitment is profoundly hard. So you end up unmarried in your 30s.
posted by zutalors! at 11:13 AM on February 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


I've read a few stories like these and there's always "the guy who proposed to me when I was 32 but I broke it off because..." and then the reasons are never clear. It's usually some vague sense of wanting more, wanting to find oneself etc., which makes sense at 25 but at 32 makes me wonder if they really want what they say they want,

I don't feel like that's a super accurate read of what this particular author actually says:

Matt asked me to marry him not long after my mother’s death. I had pressured him to propose while she was still alive, but with her gone, the ring stayed in my jewelry box. Everything I thought I knew about my life had changed.

It sounds like he waffled about when it counted, and then when there was no longer any of the external pressure (marry while mom's alive), she realized it was a no-go.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:23 AM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


By "unmarried" I meant "never married." Divorce and (more's the pity) widowhood are often not by choice.

But we don't go around with big red Ws or Ds sewn on our shirts. (Thank goodness!) We often look just like everyone else.
And I often get the "You must not be so special if you're still single at 36. There's something wrong with you that drives all the eligible men away." An assumption that is incorrect and really offensive. And therein lies the defensiveness.
posted by susiswimmer at 11:24 AM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


(I mean really, if she'd written an AskMe, saying "I begged my boyfriend to propose before my mother died, and he didn't. Now she's gone and he's proposed and I am feeling like this isn't the engagement I want" the DTMFAs would have been pouring in.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:25 AM on February 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm tired of men being called "cagey" and being told that "there's something wrong with them" when some woman decides she wants to get married.

Metafilter seems very sensitive to the fact that women don't owe men sex, but not so much that men don't owe women commitment.
posted by bswinburn at 11:30 AM on February 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had pressured him to propose

I'm not beating up on her -- it's fine with me if she wants to live out a particular narrative -- but that has always seemed profoundly weird to me. If she wanted to marry him, why not just ask directly, rather than ask at one step removed? I suppose she knew what the answer would have been, and didn't want to hear it.

so many men see relationships as a giant albatross

I do know a couple of guys who completely fit that description. But I know a lot more who are the opposite -- either in committed relationships, or seriously looking for one. I have to wonder if her experience is more reflective of what late-30s dating in NYC is like, more than "what men are like" in some generational way. By that age, a lot of the people wanting commitments have found them, leaving a lot more of the men who were frustrating her in the dating pool, even if no other factors were at play.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:54 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


It could be that everyone interested in relationships has already found them by then, but people's priorities also change a lot over time. I'd be surprised, for instance, if you didn't get a second wave of guys who have spent the last 15 years trying to climb the corporate/art/political/academic ladder and who are just realizing they maybe want a partner and/or kids and should probably spend some time trying to make those things happen.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:21 PM on February 8, 2015


Meanwhile, it's notable to me that single woman in the article author's position has the option—an option she may well exercise—to have a child, or try to. A single man with a similar desire has no such option; that is the stark biological reality I face.

I disagree. This specific article is about women's choices, but men who want children also have choices as gay/bi men have shown. So far childless heterosexual men simply have not had the societal pressure to address this issue- because as mentioned earlier, society erroneously thinks time will never run out on men's sperm. Presuming you'd be a competent parent, I encourage you to "be the change you want to see" in this regard. That's how women developed their options.
posted by beaning at 12:34 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


By that age, a lot of the people wanting commitments have found them, leaving a lot more of the men who were frustrating her in the dating pool, even if no other factors were at play.

This is a good point. If you're left in that position, then the next option might be to date someone in their 20s or early 30s who is looking for commitment but hasn't found it yet. Then one encounters ageism: a 42-year-old guy has an easier time dating a decade younger than a 42-year-old woman.
posted by schroedinger at 12:44 PM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


*plugs ears* lalala
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:00 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know it (ageism, womb clock), but I really don't want to hear it. I only vaguely started hearing the ticking or whatever this year, it still hasn't generated any urgency around serious dating or baby-making. (Also I don't have nine grand to spare on the freezer rental.) The right circumstance or partner just haven't emerged, so far. Not ready! Is that strange? I resent the need to act now now now (completely irrationally, because what's to be done about it?).
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:12 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


People are so afraid of making mistakes that they end up not doing anything. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents just did so many things without obsession over the outcomes as we have now.
I don't mean to say that they were careless but maybe they understood better the consequences of doing nothing.


If you want a kid you should just have one. It'll probably be hard and kind of suck for a while, but you'll get used to it eventually and look on with pride. At least that's what my mom keeps telling me.
posted by yonega at 1:29 PM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I disagree with this. Men in NYC feel like they have a lot of time and options and it's pretty hard to be a woman trying to deal with that. Especially in your 20s, finding guys who are interested in commitment is profoundly hard. So you end up unmarried in your 30s.

I hear this a lot, but is this really all that true, though? Perhaps you're certainly more likely to run into those sorts of guys once you hit 30 -- in that if those guys had wanted to couple up, they'd have done so long before then, but have chosen not to, out of personal preference or whatever -- but I'd imagine there'd be just as many commitment/family-oriented guys in her age range who just haven't had the chance to do so just yet, because of career or whatnot. So it's mostly a question of why the author isn't meeting the latter guys... is she just not doing a good job of filtering for the ones who're more likely to commit whilst dating, or what? I'm just finding it hard to consider All Men In New York City (And Particularly Those In Their 30s) as one monolithic commitmentphobic entity, but then again, I probably haven't spent enough time there, so I might as well be speaking out of my arse here.
posted by un petit cadeau at 1:37 PM on February 8, 2015


All Men In New York City (And Particularly Those In Their 30s)

No, it's #notallmen, but as someone dating that demographic, I feel like it's a lot, and yeah you can't really know unless you're doing it, too, and know a lot of other people doing it. I feel like in conversations with a lot of single men, dating or not, having kids is like this abstract thing that's out there, but for women in their 30s, it's right in your face every day, like strangers remind you you need to hurry it up. Meanwhile, men aren't getting that message, so yea the pool is much smaller. That's not sticking the blame on men, but it does set up a dynamic that makes it really hard to find commitment-seeking guys, enough so that it's a huge project at times to just datedatedate.

I've also found that some guys in their 40s are feeling the urge to have kids and want to rush things, and it's not like you breathe a huge sigh of relief encountering that, too, You still want a person to build a partnership with, not just a sperm donor.
posted by zutalors! at 2:22 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


"the guy who proposed to me when I was 32 but I broke it off because..." and then the reasons are never clear. It's usually some vague sense of wanting more, wanting to find oneself etc., which makes sense at 25 but at 32 makes me wonder

This. If I had a nickel for every buddy of mine whose wife left him for some vague, ephemeral reason - if they even had a reason - I'd be retired already.

My sense of who I was lacked the normal range of experience. Case in point. That's her reason for not marrying this Matt dude? Reads like a line out of some cut-rate guru's self-help book. Maybe, the reason men won't commit, is they see stuff like this. Why make a serious commitment if women don't take it seriously?

I really am curious about what the problem with men is in this generation as well.

There's nothing wrong with men in this generation. Marriage is a huge emotional and financial investment and we see that a little less than half the time the payoff is losing a substantial chunk of your assets and income and getting to see your kids 50% of the time, if you're lucky. What kind of sucker would take that deal?
posted by mrbigmuscles at 2:23 PM on February 8, 2015


we see that a little less than half the time the payoff is losing a substantial chunk of your assets and income and getting to see your kids 50% of the time, if you're lucky.

The loss of assets and income occurs if your partner has been spending their time at home raising your children and supporting you in lieu of actually developing their own career and the chance to make a comparable income. But you're right--if you disagree with economists (example here, PDF file) and you don't think there is real, tangible value to someone sacrificing time and career to child-rearing and spousal support then you totally should not be married. Ever.

But something tells me the sort of person who dismisses their partner's unpaid housework and child-care efforts as economically negligible is also the sort of person a partner might get fed up with and want to divorce.
posted by schroedinger at 2:42 PM on February 8, 2015 [24 favorites]


I think of a woman saving her eggs the exact same way I think of having money in the bank - it's a good idea if you can do it and I don't know why anyone would criticize it other than the usual grumbling about someone spending a great deal of money on something the grumbler can't afford - nothing new about that.

What I don't understand is how would anyone know anyone had put eggs in the egg bank unless that person told them? And if someone told me that's what they were doing, I'd assume they'd expect some kind of response from me, right? I personally would think that was great and I'd say so, but if the person saving her eggs has any doubts about the response she's going to get, why say anything at all?

Maybe one of these days it will be possible to store men's sperm. Then no one has to worry about a biological clock, which is a real thing for both men and women as far as the risks to the fetus go. What's also true is that it's not easy to raise children when you're dancing on the edge of old age, which is another thing to consider when it comes to delaying having children. My ex had his first child at the age of 20 and his next two children at the age of 40. He was in his early 60s when he was trying to get his boys into and out of college and he was the first to say it was a lot easier to raise kids when he was younger than when he was older. But from the woman's standpoint, if she wants to have a full-time, terrific career and raise a couple of children at the same time and have a good marriage with a husband who's having a full-time, terrific career and raising the children - well, it's not something that's going to be easy to pull off and it's not something that will be 100% perfect from the career or marriage or parenting side. It's simply never 100% anyway.

It's possible, of course, to have a good career and a happy marriage and a couple of happy kids at the same time - of course it is, but it isn't done without sacrifice somewhere and absolute dedication and spreading oneself very thin. It all comes down to how badly one wants children - and when - and with whom. That's why saving eggs is a great idea, as would be saving sperm.

I don't think there's anything different about men today than yesterday, just for the record. I think there's a lot of pressure on women and men both and that both often expect too much of themselves and of others - but 'twas ever thus - the picture has only changed in the fine details.
posted by aryma at 3:14 PM on February 8, 2015


(Sorry, re-reading my last comment it sounded skeptical of the article's author's experience, which isn't at all what I meant -- I just feel like there has to be another explanation here beyond "everyone who wanted a partner already got one in their 20s.")
posted by en forme de poire at 3:24 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe one of these days it will be possible to store men's sperm.

Sperm banking
has been around for quite a while. Here's a whole directory of them
posted by beaning at 3:39 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, it's notable to me that single woman in the article author's position has the option—an option she may well exercise—to have a child, or try to. A single man with a similar desire has no such option; that is the stark biological reality I face.

Surrogacy and adoption are generally options for single men (or men partnered with men) who want children.
posted by jaguar at 3:43 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let me tell you, even queers aren't exempt from constant social judgement of women's bodies. I have been continuously pressured to reproduce up until about a year ago. From society, my bio-family and even other WSWs.
I'm over 50 and have been sterile (correctable, but never wanted to) since my late 20s. Being a dyke didn't get me off the baby-making hook, being masculine didn't get me off the baby-making demand line, getting older didn't stop the baby talk (I have lots of straight friends having their first kids in their 40s), and don't even talk to me about what happened after pregnant transguys were on the news, not just part of my social circle.
We have all kinds of reproductive/contraceptive technologies now. Questioning and/or shaming women who make the best choices they can is unacceptable. Whether it's preventing pregnancy, delaying pregnancy, ending a pregnancy, getting pregnant with technological assistance, raising kids or adopting them out; women know what's possible for them, they and no one else (even if they have partners, it's the potentially pregnant woman's autonomic choice).
Our bodies, our decisions, full stop. Mine is "NO", and I don't need to justify it.
posted by Dreidl at 4:06 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


dancing on the edge of old age

LALALA

grumbling about someone spending a great deal of money on something the grumbler can't afford

It's true that the inequity of time is hardest on those without deep enough pockets, but no grumbling here about women who can afford to buy themselves a few years of freedom from existential malaise, good for them.

Re men on this issue: lifelong monogamy centred on romantic love isn't a natural state of affairs, it's just how we've set up and justified idealized arrangements around reproduction and property, and more of us know that now. I personally think a series of ~3-7 year relationships interspersed with periods of singledom is optimal. It's just that that kind of approach means women get the short end of the stick, currently. I can at least imagine other possible ways to arrange households and child-rearing that don't centrally depend on the idea of love, but, it's hard to get over wanting it, and the roommates thing would be a problem.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:05 PM on February 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm wondering, after reading through the incredibly sexist and depressing comments in the article, if a larger proportion of men than we realize have MRA-like attitudes about marriage, at least in NYC.

And I've heard that "oh, well, if I want to wait til I'm 60 and get a 20-year-old wife, I can. Too bad you can't," snark from a guy I know IRL. Granted he's a 40-year-old virgin and knows very little about the realities of relationship demographics, nor about me. But it does seem like there's an attitude that marriage is a trap, and it's best put off as long as possible -- ideally, until you're getting old and need a young nursemaid. And then, all you need is money and one will fall at your feet.

And the invocation of Hugh Hefner, as though he's not an extreme outlier, as though anyone can get rich enough in this economy to live his lifestyle. I don't know where all this bullshit comes from, but I wish it would crawl back under its mysterious rock of origin.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 7:03 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


This. If I had a nickel for every buddy of mine whose wife left him for some vague, ephemeral reason - if they even had a reason - I'd be retired already.

Yeah and that's definitely because WOMEN BE CRAY, AMIRITE? and not because it's challenging to outline in bulleted points the ways in which a relationship is deeply dysfunctional. /hamburger
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:43 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also I don't know that people share all the details of what goes into the disintegration of a relationship with their buddies.
posted by zutalors! at 8:45 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


(I am quite certain that at least one ex reported to his "buddies" that he has no idea why I dumped him, I must have "wanted something else." Yeah, I did--I wanted not to share him with an 18 year old child he met on Tumblr.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:52 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


If I had a nickel for every buddy of mine whose wife left him for some vague, ephemeral reason - if they even had a reason - I'd be retired already.

I'm of the age where many if my friends' parents have starting divorcing. It's true that the husbands often don't see it coming, but it's so true that having spent time in their houses and observing their interactions, it was never a surprise to me. There seem to be a surprising number of men think that marriage is just about showing up and paying the bills.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:28 AM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


All Men In New York City (And Particularly Those In Their 30s) as one monolithic commitmentphobic entity, but then again, I probably haven't spent enough time there, so I might as well be speaking out of my arse here.

This is not only true, but so true that I would rather stab myself in the eye with a rusty fork than be single again in NYC, where 30 year old professional men roam like packs of college youth and the one consistent thing in common is that they have never cared about another human being nearly as much as they care about themselves. I don't know what it is about the city, but every time I found a guy worth dating he turned out to be an import.
posted by corb at 10:58 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


if the person saving her eggs has any doubts about the response she's going to get, why say anything at all?

I doubt she's walking up to random acquaintances and telling them about her stored eggs out of the blue. Far more likely that she's responding to unsolicited questions or concerns about her fertility by telling them that she's got it under control, thanksverymuch.

It's similar to your bank account analogy, actually - you probably wouldn't tell people the amount of your retirement savings out of nowhere, but you'd be pretty tempted to if friends/family/coworkers/acquaintances were all constantly assuming you hadn't thought about it at all, and were always telling you things like "don't you think it's time you started saving for retirement? You're not getting any younger!" / "I'm worried about your finances, I don't want you to miss the deadline for your tax deduction" / "you'll die broke and alone if you don't start saving now" / "are you planning to finally max your RRSP contributions this year? why not?"...

If that sounds ridiculous and overly personal....yes, yes it is.
posted by randomnity at 11:38 AM on February 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


I doubt she's walking up to random acquaintances and telling them about her stored eggs out of the blue.

Granted, I haven't lived in NYC and haven't spent that much time there. But that seems like exactly the kind of thing Manhattanites like to share with the people in line with them at the deli or pizza joint, except it's not gross enough to be really up to par.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:50 AM on February 9, 2015


No. Lots of people here making assumptions about what people in NYC are like.
posted by zutalors! at 11:51 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


To me, when one reveals something as personal as having stored her eggs so they'd be there in the future if she's ready to make a child, she should expect a response at the same, personal level. If the problem is that people are putting her on the spot about her biological clock she needs to stop the intrusive question, not answer it. All she has to do is -peat and repeat something like, "I have it all under control, don't worry," making it clear that that's as far as the conversation is going. Storing her eggs is extremely personal and the information should be shared only when she wishes with those she wishes to share it with.
posted by aryma at 3:27 PM on February 9, 2015


So people here are now judging her for telling people who are judging her? And based on what, exactly? I just reskimmed the article and she mentions exactly four people knowing, presumably because she told them, and none of them saying anything negative.
posted by jaguar at 3:35 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


It seems like there's no correct answer to "Why don't you have kids yet" in your 30s, especially if you're single. It's basically like "why are you broken and wrong?"
posted by zutalors! at 3:38 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


So people here are now judging her for telling people who are judging her? And based on what, exactly? I just reskimmed the article and she mentions exactly four people knowing, presumably because she told them, and none of them saying anything negative.

Though I guess she did tell judgey people in that she wrote this article and now its readers are judging her choices, but "Don't write about your own experiences because you're inviting judgment" is a recipe for preventing women from writing about our experiences, which is not a good outcome.
posted by jaguar at 3:54 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


No judging anything anyone wants to do with their reproductive byproducts*.

If your wife wants to donate an egg to her cousin, you don't get a say. If my coworker is sterile and he asks me if I could donate some sperm to help him start a family, you don't get a say. At the end of the day, it's really all I own. My DNA is me, right? Then it's mine. I may be overthinking this, but then again I'm possessive about my stuff.

My shiny new nephew is nine months old, and I spent an exhausting thanksgiving week and change with him and the cyclone that my brother's life has turned into. I'd love to have a kid or two, but I'm getting old quick, and I don't want to have a heart attack chasing around my three year old. At least I'm a guy, so I can Tony Randall it if need be. I can't imagine the pressure that approaching the moratorium on having a baby is. Probably why they're going for another soonish.

I'm coming to the realization that maybe my parents were right, have those kids at 22 and 28, don't wait til your 40+. Macaroni and cheese is cheap. I am at the same age my Grandma was when she had her "accident" baby/my youngest uncle that seemed to be so prevalent in the early '60s. And she was still putting down four packs a day. Ouch.

* (Really wish I could have come up with a better word there.)
posted by Sphinx at 4:33 PM on February 9, 2015


« Older Do you cleave to "composed of"?   |   Kim Gordon Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments