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No. of Recommendations: 12

At first, I almost thought the cover of the NYT magazine yesterday was a joke. But no, there was a 10,000 word article in there, describing The Backlash Against Children.

And yes, I have had these feelings too. I first started to notice that the whole concept of children was an all-exculpating one in the workplace. "There's nobody to pick up Jessica today, so I'm leaving early!" That gets you out. The rest of us were left to slog away, and even double-up on the workload.

About two years ago, I noticed that there were more and more sprogs in ever higher calibers of restaurants, running around the tables and shrieking with impunity. Grumble grumble, this dinner's ruined, you privately mutter as you fake a smile. Simultaneous to this, new tax credits appeared for you-know-whos. You think we've taken care of welfare in this country? We all but have--we've taken it away from the poor and redistributed it in a way that assures families can dress their daughters in AirBaby Nikes and other essentials.

"So, when are you going to have kids?"--for years, I have felt that question to be a virtual paraphrase of, "So tell me, what's going on in you're bedroom, and BTW what is your mate doing with her plumbing, and also, are you gay or something?" All in all, no children for long enough, and eventually you will be branded as too selfish to have children, regardless of how much time you spend bettering humanity, working with the homeless, or organizing charitable events.

The young woman who doesn't want children? Gasp. Forget her. Ostracize her. Society will punish her as best it can. If she tries to make a decision about it and get the female equivalent of a vascectomy, her doctor will invariably tell her to get psychological counselling. There was a grand horror story in the article about a woman who was referred to another doctor--who told her that he had tied one set of tubes in his life, and the woman later committed suicide.

It turns out that now those without children constitute record numbers, enough to coalesce into some kind of vague political unity beneath a few groups with founding [non]fathers and nonmothers. The new PC word is "child-free"--childless implies that there is a lack in one's life, and implies that it isn't even much of a choice. And they occasionally accuse their fertile friends of "spitting out spawn."

Perhaps eventually bars will become the only childfree zones. I knew there was more to it for me than olives and nuts.

jeanpaulsartre
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