Hermits Rock

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As if it didn’t echo in my ears every night just before I drift off to sleep, the E-mail I got from mom today was, to say the least, incredible:

I told your Grandmother that J— and I were making plans to live together soon… she did the “I hope you plan to get married” routine and then remarked that since “Greg hasn’t given you any grandchildren, you are getting him a baby sister for Christmas.” Could be true…

You know, after she told me last week she was dating a man with a six-month-old daughter, it’s not as if we didn’t joke that the baby might be just the thing to get her to stop dwelling our procreativity. But we were joking. Really. When our own joke turns out not to be one; when my grandmother seems to think it’s funny but for really different reasons, what are we supposed to do? How am I supposed to reply when it’s suddenly been made painfully clear that our sex life has been deemed a failure by everyone from my birthing-like-bunnies cousins to my grandmother? When my own mother is so overcome with babylust that she’s decided she wants to raise another?

I really, really wanted to snap, “at least you’ll give someone a two-parent household.”

I really, really wanted to lie to say that we’ve been TTC for five years and finally, after numerous painful tests on both of us, our doctor said that I was incapable of having children, that we’re looking for a sperm donor now, and that we’ve just been embarrassed to say anything about it.

But I didn’t.

Kathy had the best idea. From this point forward, she said, since it’s clear everyone talks about us, we should send out a newsletter when we have sex: “Last night we had sex right before dinner. K was kind of horny and popped the buttons on my shirt ripping it off. I fucked her for a good long while, and then gave her a nice hand job so her orgasm would cause the cervix to suck up my semen. Keep your fingers crossed!”


i will keep my fingers crossed…

but you could always say at least we’re not cousins

That wouldn’t work. She’s all fine with the cousins…

I did write back to point out the sister/grandchild thing was really obnoxious, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it. That’s what Hermits is for.

Being childless at 30 is not at all strange. I barely know anyone having kids before their third decade nowadays.

Of course, you know this yourself. I guess it would be a lost cause trying to convince your mother of this.

(My next door neighbor in Alabama became a GRANDMOTHER at 31.)

Well, we don’t think it’s weird either and don’t really know people in their 20s (especially early 20s) who are having kids, other than G’s cousins…

I hate to be such a yankee, but you mentioned that really funny (I’m sorry, I know it shouldn’t be) example from Alabama, JH, but I have to say that all of this criticism comes from another warm state beginning with the letter A. That’s all I’ll say. For now.

1: Thanks for keeping those fingers crossed, by the way.

just a note of clarification, and i hate to bring it up… but no one here is in their early 20s

and it is time you realize that you are here on this earth for one reason… and that is propagation of the species

Precisely right that no one here is in his or her early twenties, which is exactly the reason that my family has decided K and I are broken. According to family tradition, at 30 your kids should be starting second grade.

As to your invocation of the biological imperative, I do not need to grace that with a reply.

by the reference to early 20lings i meant g’s cousin’s, the ones whose insane insistence on reproducing at a young age has gotten us into this mess in the first place. they are our context, at least with that particular family. they make us seem weird. to other people, i’m sure we’re weird for other reasons…

None of the twentylings, by the way, are close to having grandchildren at 30. Which is insane. Really.

dear k,

(also, dear young chidless marriages),

no, your cousins don’t make you seem weird. you are weird. but, you weirdness is the reality of life nowadays. however, no one but your fellow, childless peers will accept that excuse.

my dad, especially, wanted grandkids soon after we married. my mother-in-law never brought it up, to not bother her daughter, but she would’ve ham-strung me had we waited just one more year.

the reality is, nobody cares about you after your 7th birthday… okay, that’s a slight exageration; nobody cares about you once you hit puberty. oh sure, should you be lucky enough to find a mate, you might think someone cares… but they don’t, they’re in it to please themselves, meet their needs, and inflict upon you their various neuroses.

parents and grandparents put up with the narcisim of teenagehood and young adulthood only because there is the promise that something small, soft, and cuddly (and crying and oozing all sorts of bodily fluids from all sorts of orifices, fluids that they don’t have to clean, but cute little bottoms that they get to pinch and soft cheeks that they get to carress) awaits them on the other side of the nightmare.

no, indeed, people stop caring about you, until you fulfill your procreative duties… and then they only care about you because you lug a cute little kid with you wherever you go.

All parents of adult children should have puppies.


Your explanation, which I really believe is true, was what was driving G crazy yesterday: “What we want doesn’t matter! No one cares about us!” This, unfortunately, is true. It’s not about us at all, really. Which can be comforting.

At the same time, maybe because of the sheer number of babies who were born within several months of one another in AR, this cult of the baby has been built up such that anyone of childbearing age who is childless is instantly suspect. It’s so strange hearing a single, childless 19-year old boy ask “So are you guys going to have kids or what?” What do you say? “Sure, I promise we’ll try to have one by next Christmas! Really! Just give us some time!”

I think these particular people end up seeming more obnoxious because no one in my family or G’s dad’s family does this to us. Honestly, I’m pretty used to it by now, but I think G’s becoming more sensitive about it. Maybe he’s just jealous of the babies.

indeed, you should pinch his cheeks and swat his bottom! maybe this way he´ll feel loved. :)

Greg,if you are looking for a donor, please accept any and all of my sperm you would like. I’m not doing anything with it currently, and it’s really starting to take over my small apartment….

Manley, there’s no one I’d rather have be surrogate father of my child than you: the height! the smarts!—best of all, since hairlines are X-chromosome only, the kid would have everything!

Of course, I always figured you to be one of those men with progeny everywhere anyway, thanks to all of those weekly deposits made behind the sperm bank.

That, and the whoring.

Of course, I wouldn’t be the only one to make that decision—K would have to agree. That said, the question is intriguing. If you had to choose someone else to father a child you would raise, who would it be? Women should totally answer the question, too.

Rule the first: no generic men of the “handsome with an Ivy League education” variety. If you pick that guy, he must have a name.

Saddam Hussein.

How cool would that be?

He certainly covers the powermad, vain dictator angle. It could be like an experiment: how much of SH’s behavior was nature?

I can’t stop thinking about what mom’s doing. Not that I’m one to criticize for acting quickly when it comes to love, but… this is all superbly disconcerting. Mom’s always been a contradiction: on the one hand, she’s fiercely independent and obstinate; on the other, she’s drastically changed her life for love more times than I can count. She’s really enthusiastic about the man and the baby, of course, so much so that it’s creepy. She actually called it “interrupted destiny.”


Even if the powermad, vain, dictator thing turned out to be in his nature, if he were raised in an American mileu, the worst he could become would be a rapacious, amoral (and successful) CEO of a large company.

sometimes i think the early procreating in the A states (and other similar states) is because people don’t have anything else to do except raise kids. or maybe the biggest excitement is sex which often results in babies.

perhaps, but most of my young cousins-in-law were in college when they first turned up pregnant, so it’s not that they were entirely aimless or anything, and then there were the promises that “I was on the pill!!”

maybe they’re just bad with directions and forgot to read the part where you’re supposed to take it every day...

i want to thank all of you for the turn this discussion has taken, it really shows that the only answer is faith-based abstinence

You suck, Mr. President!

JH, think positively! The president’s offspring might be a good experiment for 16. Akin to Hussein, is his sense of privilege and poor management skills a function of nature or nurture?

I suppose this gets difficult though, when proposing experiments like that, since the question is whether raising their clones differently would yield different results…

It’s a function of neither nature nor nurture. It’s a function of him spending his adult (and adolescent?) life up until his 40s boozing himself into an incoherent stupor every single day.

But so did my uncle, and he’s a wreck who lives in adolescence in perpetuity—certainly, he’s not president.

Your uncle isn’t the scion of the nation’s most powerful political family, nor did he have parents with naked dynastic ambition.

And you say it’s not nurture.

The stupidity part, I don’t think it is.

i firmly believe a-state procreation is rampant b/c it’s freaking impossible to find a doctor who will perform an abortion.
uh, not that i’ve looked.

Good point. But in our personal ongoing family expansion saga, the Cult of the Baby would not allow for such a thought to pass one’s mind. The family will grow exponentially if it’s the last thing we do!

I think we’ve got our own little dynasty down there. Sure, it’s not political, and I doubt it will produce a future Pres of the United States, but if I were in northern or central AR and weren’t somehow related to Greg, I’d watch my back.

K’s superlatives are warranted, by the way. Last visit one cousin laid claim to her desire to keep up with the Duggars.

Speaking of, the poster from Jim Bob’s 2002 Senate campaign is superb.

related to Mary’s commment…in recent years in the small community where my relatives live in the M state between the two A states it seems many girls get pregnant as unmarried teens. i find myself stunned, thinking that they must know about birth control. then it dawned on me that, similar to abortions, birth control is likely not an option for these girls. acquiring some form of birth control would indicate sexual activity which, of course, is officially forbidden for them. such a purchase would not likely remain a private matter in a small community where everybody knows everything.

Not to diss the A states, but when Mr. Sheetrock lived in the Bronx, he knew a 21 year old grandmother.


I’d pick a surrogate father for my children, but only if I could also pick someone else to raise them, and, while we’re at it, to bear them.

21?! That’s what, pregnant at 10 and 10?

A brief reference about a girl—of course it had to be someone on the dark continent, because such things don’t happen in civilized nations—becoming a grandmother at 17.

A Psychology Today article about 27-year-old grandmothers suggests being a grandma before you’re 30 can ruin your chances with boys.