Friday, March 18, 2005

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

That's the biological clock ticking away your precious fertile moments, but this time it's ticking for the guys. Or so an article in the Salon states. It tells of a new movement of men who are "wife shoppers", who ask about your willingness to have lots of babies on the first date, or:

Another friend, Allison, a 30-year-old cable executive in New York, met theater producer Aaron through work. They shared a lusty kiss on a subway platform and planned a date. "At the bar he started quizzing me on what music was playing," she said. "It felt like I was being interviewed. He wanted to know how I would feel about living on the Upper West Side, if I would prefer a vacation home in the Catskills or in the Hamptons, and would I convert to Judaism. When I said I didn't know about conversion, he asked if I would consider raising my kids Jewish." Allison said the conversation quickly dampened whatever ardor she'd felt for Aaron. "The questions he was asking were questions you get to on maybe the 28th date," she said. "But because they were coming so early I felt stunned, and bummed because this guy clearly wasn't excited about me. This was a picture of who he saw his future with and he was trying to decide if maybe I could fit into the outline."

Then of course the women get scared of commitment and run away.

Do you believe in this stuff? I don't, not really. It is true that the male fertility rate has been found to drop by age a lot more than was previously thought and some studies suggest that older men may have poorer quality sperm, too. But there is a whole trend-making industry which churns out these kinds of stories.

The data consists of a nonrandom section of people one phones with leading questions, and then another book is published on whatever the most recent trend-to-be-created is. Sylvia Ann Hewlet has been writing crap like this for decades, mostly on women who yearn for babies, but now others have joined in the fray. At least writing about commitment-pining men is more fun as a novelty.

All these books talk about the upper classes only, but nobody ever notices it because the U.S. is supposed to be classless. That's why you can write an article like this and mention the opinions of a urologist, a journalist,a network news producer, a cable executive, an artist, an adult novelist and, as an example of inclusivity, a secondary school teacher. No electricians or cashiers or cabdrivers or cleaners. I want to know if men like them are equally commitment-hungry. It would be good to know before I open my house for all the roofers I'm going to need next summer...

This trend-making industry is a very odd aspect of the society. It often has very little to do with reality, at least until the trends have been created. Then what it says seems like common sense. I'm wondering if we now are actually going to start seeing men running around with a list of wife requirements. Other than cup size, I mean.