March 5th, 2009

Cute overload


I am lucky to have some friends who are acting as advanced scouts into growing up. I can look at them and think, "Well, they're a few years older than me and they're still cool, looking good and enjoying themselves, so I've got at least those few years before it definitely all starts going downhill." Thus far they're still out there, keeping that event horizon moving, and I'm deeply grateful. That doesn't stop me from worrying though; few things do. A long time ago I was at a party discussing my fears for the future of me and my peers, when a wise and beautiful sibyl prophesied, "First there will come the wave of marriages, then the wave of babies, then the wave of divorces, then it will all happen again." Thus far my peer group seem to have weathered the first wave intact, but the second approaches and that's the one that worries me.

I know people who've had babies, of course, including an ex-girlfriend and some old OUSFGers, but they didn't have quite the same impact as learning, at the end of last year, that iruineverything and pinata23 are expecting. Unlike the aforementioned, these are friends who were very definitely of my generation at university, who are still living in Oxford and that I see on an irregular but fairly frequent basis. I find it impossible, therefore, to characterise them as Others, as grown-ups; they are people like us.

Now this event (or perhaps process is more accurate, after all I'm getting regular updates on its progress) is unnerving in and of itself, but I was slightly saddened to learn that iruineverything was worried about telling me because of what I might say. I was and am genuinely surprised that anyone might treat me that way, but I guess it's a reminder that what I say is who I am for most people. I have indeed been rather (too?) vocal in my trepidation about the prospect of the baby-wave, but I hadn't intended to come across as so dogmatic, to blur the line between expressing 'what I think' and 'how things should be'. I suppose that as a man of few convictions and no evangelical inclinations, I'm always surprised when people take me seriously, or even think that I expect it.

Still, it did lead me to consider my (apparently vehement) aversion to reproduction. After all, it is true that not only do I not favour the idea for myself but I also don't favour it for my friends. I don't expect them to pay this the slightest heed, of course, but the fact remains that I have said as much and people have apparently listened, so it's an opinion that's overdue some serious thought. Not in order to marshal a more convincing case, you understand, but to understand my motives better, with an embarrassed suspicion that I should have shut the fuck up on this topic all along.

I had initially framed my objection in terms of disappointment with people for caving in to the demands of biology and/or societal expectations. However, if that were really the case I'd be equally disappointed when my friends had sex, or wore clothes, so that's clearly pretty spurious. I think the true explanation is an extension of why I don't want children myself. tinyjo and I have a nice life, and children would change that (in fact, we believe, they would spoil it). However, a vital part of that nice life is our peer group, and therefore them having children would also spoil my life, albeit to a much much lesser extent. It's as simple and selfish as that, and hopefully if I do continue to share my opinions I will at least be able to explain this. After all, it's quite a flattering reason, really, and its unabashed immature selfishness might help lessen the sting. I'm just one of the Lost Boys, and not only do I not want to grow up, I don't want my playmates to grow up either...
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