As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m working on my networking skills and in order to do so, I went out to some sort of meetup where expats and inpats are given the opportunity to socialize. Even though the event itself wasn’t spectacular and it turned out that I had been over-optimistic hoping to meet fancy folks at an unfancy bar that serves unfancy drinks. The turnout had been much smaller than expected, out of the 40 people who announced their attendance, only a fourth actually showed and I didn’t really click with anyone there. However, I still wanted to make at least some conversation and so I decided to stay and to introduce myself to the people who had just arrived a little belatedly. We had the obvious type of conversation, like “What are you doing for a living?”, “What brought you here?”, etc. and so I talked a little about my experiences abroad and that I’m counting of traveling a LOT once I’m done with my studies. I have to add that most of the attendees were in their late 30s or 40s, therefore the general mindset was a little different from what I’d expected and very different from the people I normally hang out with. And weirdly, none of them had lived abroad (even though the event was designed for expats, first and foremost). And now that you have an idea of the vibe there, here’s a part of the conversation I had that night with a lady who I will call Nosy Josy (NJ) in the following.
Me: blablablablabla…. want to travel … blabla … maybe live in Portugal or in Greece for a year.
NJ (in a shrill, unauthentic voice): How very exciting! And where do you want to live after that?
Me: Don’t know, yet. There are still too many places I haven’t seen, so I really can’t tell.
NJ (now sounding very, very confused): But don’t you want to settle down some day?
Me: I really don’t see myself living in one country for more than five to ten years.
NJ (who’s conception of the world now to crumble): But, WHAT ABOUT KIIIIIDS?
Me: What about them?
NJ (face in a grotesque grimace showing severe confusion): Don’t you want to have kids?
Me: Nope. (And really thinking, “Thank you for your concern, lady I’ve just met five seconds ago, but this is really none of your business.”)
NJ (still grimacing, everything she ever believed in is now shattered): But – WHY?
Me: I just don’t want them. (And really thinking, “And I shouldn’t have to explain my life choices to a nosy stranger.”)
NJ (suddenly, the grimace is gone, there’s an annoying know-it-all expression instead. Her tone shifts from shrill to nauseatingly sweet): Well, you’re still young. I’m sure you will change your mind.
Me: I highly doubt it. (And I also wonder when she expects me to change my mind, when my ovaries start to shrivel?)
With this, I ended the conversation and ignored her for the rest of the night. I could have lectured her on how being a woman does not mean that I absolutely have to make use of my uterus and that the decision to have a child is nothing less selfish than the decision against it. More, having kids may be an immoral decision and there’s tons of great articles on the topic of anti-natalism. I find the one written by David Benatar quite eye-opening, even though I don’t fully agree with everything.
However, if I hadn’t had this kind of discussion for a bazillion times already, I would have probably pointed out to NJ that we’re in 2017 and that she should probably start getting informed about gender issues and be more sensible in her approach and maybe change her mindset. I would have told her that I’m very happy all by myself and that I don’t need to grow a little parasite inside me to feel fulfillment. Besides, in what kind of world would this child live in? One where most natural resources are superseded by some yummy chemicals? One where you can’t leave the house (or the moon) without applying some SPF5000 first?
Also, if I ever change my mind, I’d make sure to have a shitload of money, first because I would like my child to become a spoiled brat who doesn’t have to worry about how to pay for an education. But as for now, I couldn’t even pay for a Tori Burch or a pet, otherwhise I’d probably be the proud mama of three sphynx cats.
I don’t think that people who want kids shouldn’t have them. I also don’t think that people who don’t want kids should have them. But I do think that it’s a very personal decision that should be well-considered. After that no one needs others to comment on it.
That night, I really didn’t feel like continuing my discussion with Nosy Josy. I didn’t think that it would lead to anything but frustration – which would only be on my side, because in my experience, those who ask “But why?” are the ones that are immune to any kind of argument that doesn’t fit their narrow-minded beliefs. I’ve even had the exact same conversation about kids with one of my mom’s friends who’s in her 50s. She herself lives alone, has no kids and claims that she never wanted them. Some of my mom’s other friends, also in their 50s, don’t have kids, but did want them. They just didn’t find the right guy to make them, didn’t want to be single moms and also wanted to make them in the traditional way. And I get the same shitty talk from ALL of them. Trying to make them see my point of view and accepting it (they don’t even have to share it) is just tiring and energy-draining. It’s like trying to make a point in a comment on Facebook. Therefore, I’m saving my energy and think about how much I will enjoy a lifetime of self-pampering instead of buying Pampers.