I was at a dinner party not too long ago with my new wife. We married late in life—she is 39 and I am 43. Naturally, the conversation turned to babies as it often does with our friends, many of whom already on their second child.
As our drinks were being refreshed for the third time I explained that there are so many misconceptions about couples like us in the #childfree movement. First of all, we experience complete and gratifying lives. We ski, we play squash, we sleep in late and have brunch whenever we want. No high chairs or finicky eaters here! But most of all, my wife and I are child-free because we hate your fucking children, Todd.
Listen. We are realists about the next couple of decades and we’re very concerned that bringing in a new life to a turbulent and warming planet would be cruel. Plus, just take one look at your kids, Todd. They are screeching, puking ogres who offer nothing but torment and misery. The look of joy on your face when you realized this dinner party meant two solid hours away from the latest lice-infestation of your unholy brood was indescribable. But that air of unbridled exhilaration and freedom you had? We always have that look, Todd. Because we never have to deal with your wretched offspring. They are simply awful.
Of course, our folks love to bug us about how great it would be to have grandchildren. It’s hard to disappoint them, but after I show them that video of your kid ruining his grade school’s Thanksgiving Day play by clotheslining another kid in the throat with a prop yam they’re like, “Yeah, Todd’s kids suck.” Granted, that other kid also looked like a little shit, but your brat was out for goddamn blood.
Not having children means having a bit more disposable income which affords us greater opportunities to donate to charities that help neglected children. And yet, my wife and I are still accused of being “selfish” by couples with children—right Todd? Perhaps it was more selfish of your drooling homunculus when he destroyed your new Honda Accord by smearing his feces all over the seats. On your birthday. On the morning you had to drive to that dream job interview at Amazon. Maybe polluting Amazon’s corporate office with the stench of your kid’s putrid shit is selfish? But hey, what do I know? I’m just a vain, childless monster.
Occasionally we’ll do a holiday in Charlottesville with my wife’s family and one of her more religious cousins will mention how it’s our “societal duty” to procreate. They’ll even quote Genesis: “Be fruitful and multiply.” I’ll then share with them a quote from one of your late-night texts to me where you “ironically” fantasize about leaving your noxious progeny to start a boat repair business in Costa Rica. Todd—you know nothing about boat repair. But your despair is quite real and no amount of barnacle-scraping will save your soul. So stop trying to enlist others into joining your zombie parent army like some sort of guilt-based pyramid scheme. Those deranged, disturbed, delinquents were born of a poison seed, and their very raison d’être seems to be dissuading people from the very notion of conceiving.
But who knows? Maybe one day we’ll adopt.