Monday, September 26, 2005

Giving up on love...just seeking sperm

I found this post on Craigslist today...and it made me profoundly sad. I know an increasing number of women who are considering this option. How could a man knowingly create a child and never know them, never love them, never provide?

"Giving up on love, at least for now, just seeking sperm.

One day I will meet my "other half" but I'm not going to get married or pair up with a man just to have a family. I want to be with someone I fall madly in love with and can imagine spending my life with. My biological clock is ticking and I really want to have a child. I am looking for an attractive, professional man, no history of mental illness and in excellent health. I seek purely a sperm donor relationship. It does not matter to me if you are married or single. You do not need to be in the child's life in any way, shape or form. I don't want a cent from you and I would be willing to sign something to that affect.

I could go to a sperm bank but then I wouldn't meet the child's "biological father" and I would like to be able to tell my son or daughter a fair share about who helped create him or her so that he or she will have some sense of where they come from. I am single, have no boyfriend and am not seeing anyone. I have made no connections in terms of potential relationships and don't casual date. In short, it just hasn't happened for me. I have a lot of male friends but have yet to make a romantic connection. I am attractive, normal, educated, successful and under 40.

Hopefully, one day, i will meet a great man who wants children who i will fall in love with and he will think my child is awesome and i will tell him how wonderful a man you are for giving me this beautiful child that I can nurture, love and care for. write me and tell me about yourself. and thanks for considering helping me make my dream come true.

I finished reading her post and thought: Has it come to this?

And what will this child of the future think of men when she learns that her mother had to create a child anonymously...that no man wanted to have the responsibility...that no man loved her mother enough to care. Can unloved mothers create lovable children? I know that bearing a child is an awesome responsibility, not to be taken lightly, but I wonder....what will these children of the next generation think of these ghost fathers?

In the past, we were raised by tribes and perhaps in the future we will return to them, intentional tribes where we raise children together, where men have an increasingly diminished role. They've opted out of the family -- choosing instead to have fleeting sexual encounters, to skydive, scuba, mountain bike and ski. Alone, alone, alone.

Someday, as these men enter their senior years, with nobody to care for them, too old and crippled to windsurf, sitting on their stock portfolios and retirement funds, without heirs, with nobody to share the holidays with, nobody to carry their name... will they regret the children that they never created?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Is that it, the men are listless and we're perfect?

Today I found "Attack of the Listless Lads" in

"Passionless and confused, they swim torpidly about in the dating pool, driving me and my single girlfriends to despair," writes Rebecca Traister. So she asked Benjamin Kunkel, author of the hot new novel "Indecision," to explain to what's wrong with young American men.

Of course, the Harvard-educated 32-year old author of a bestselling novel isn't exactly the most authoritarian source on slacker values. But he does have a point. Namely, that today's American males are listless and aimless -- while the women that chase them are powerful and together. And yet these super women expect men to somehow complete them.

And Rebecca's words chillingly remind me of some of the men I've dated in Silicon Valley. They roll out of bed at 11 am and pad over to the computer to hack for a few hours, pull in just enough money to buy a season lift ticket, and have absolutely no responsibility to anybody. Weekends are spent under the spell of halucinogens at raves and parties, putting up a brave false front in the hope of luring women into their eerily unfurnished high-rent apartments. Their medicine cabinets and bedside tables are laden with bottles of Paxil, Valium, Prozac, muscle relaxants that have been prescribed for their backpains, depression and imaginary ailments. And I'm talking about men in their 40s here. She's talking about men a decade younger.

Rebecca writes:

"For some time now I have been anxious to let loose on the sorry state of the young male population of this country...the men I meet are not the rakish, workaholic, cheating cads of yore. No, I'm bearing witness to a bona fide crisis in American masculinity, one that seems especially, but not exclusively, to afflict the young, urban and privileged. And with it, I have observed the birth of a new breed of man: a man of few interests and no passions; a man whose libido is reduced and whose sense of responsibility nonexistent. These men are commitment-phobic not just about love, but about life. They drink and take drugs, but even their hedonism lacks focus or joy. They exhibit no energy for anyone, any activity, profession or ideology. ...And, in an effort to cure what ails them, they have been medicated to the gills with potions designed to dull their feelings even further. "

But I wonder, who are the female equivalent of these listless men? Is it fair to point the blame for our failed relationships on one gender? And isn't the root of this listlessness really just the fact that these young men don't have anyone to perform for? If society isn't urging them to get off the couch, if their parents don't nag and their mother's don't call, if nobody notices and nobody cares, and most of all, as Benjamin states, if women continue to "put out" and have sex with these guys, they'll continue this endless cycle of slacking.