Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tick-Tock: The Male Bio-Clock
Why, then, are single women in their thirties bombarded with their male counterparts' instant marriage-and-baby proposals? Why can't a girl wishing to remain child-free go on a first date without having to vet dating candidates by making sure they are unsuccessful (successful men feel more ready to impregnate), sterile (or, in a pinch, impotent, though that's not as much fun), or not yet past the age of 25?
News flash: Research over the last couple of years has revealed that the quality of a man's sperm is inversely proportional to his age. The higher his age, the lower his sperm quality. Meaning the older he gets, the more likely he is to spawn offspring with birth defects, genetic weaknesses, and gene mutations. These findings support what single girls in their thirties have known for as long as there have been single girls in their thirties--single guys in their thirties are downright mad for babies.
We've all heard the urban legends, the cautionary tales, the cruel jokes about women in their thirties. There's the woman who wanted it ALL (gods forbid she should want everything men take for granted) until one day it's too late and she wakes up a childless monster in her late 40s, collecting cats and sobbing into her wine glass (albeit a wine glass in First Class as she's on her way to Europe, where she goes twice a month). There's the woman who traps a man by getting pregnant because she is desperate for a child (and any loser with a cock will do, apparently). There's the woman who sets up dates like interviews looking for candidates for Babydaddy ("I'm sorry. Based on your IQ, I can't let you have access to my sacred ova"). There's the woman who has a mental breakdown and threatens her man with abandonment if he doesn't relent and give her a child. (You might remember this term from misogynist psychology: Hysteria!) And most of all, there is the single girl out hitting the bars in groups of other single girls, pouncing on any available man and immediately bringing up the baby names she has picked out for both boys and girls.
Men and women are both more or less comfortable with these stereotypes, because, after all, women have a fairly marked and visible outer limit to their ability to reproduce. Menopause is menopause, and by the gods, these girls have to hurry. Science tells us so. Bring up the male biological clock, however, or men who behave very much like the female stereotypes above, and there is blowback. Denial, laughter, patronizing pats on the obviously histrionic head.
Yet I've had thirtysomething men propose to me on the first date, tell me after our first kiss that he thinks I'll be an amazing mother to his children, talk about how imagining that he is knocking a girl up makes him come harder than anything else, insist that the reason I "think" I don't want kids is because I had not yet considered that HE (who is obviously perfect and superior to all other men) might want to be their daddy... It's pretty clear men in their thirties have at least as high-pressure a "biological clock" as the much-dreaded one supposedly possessed by women in their thirties. Somewhere deep in their reptilian brains men know their one-celled amphibious terrorists have expiration dates.