Thursday, March 12, 2009

You Must [Not] Have Been a Beautiful Baby....

This week Prudence brings us another column featuring 21st-century concerns about hypothetical reproduction (See last week's, on being your own golden goose):

"A Face Not Even a Mother Could Love" (man, I can't even compete with her titles)

Dear Prudence,
My boyfriend and I are in a healthy and loving relationship, and we are beginning to talk about marriage. We both want the same number of kids at the same point in our lives. It is presumed that these will be our biological children. The issue is, I'm not sure that I would want to bear my boyfriend's children. While he is incredibly intelligent and has a great personality, he is markedly less physically attractive than I am. We get occasional lighthearted comments from friends and family about the discrepancy. Having biological children has never been important to me, and I think adoption is great. I believe that he will be an amazing father and that our children, biological or adopted, would be bright and well-behaved as a result of good parenting. Should I bring these thoughts up with him? I think he would be open to the idea of adoption but would also be hurt by my rationale. At what point should we discuss this more seriously, and how should I tell him how I feel?

—Skinny Bitch


**pause to regain powers of speech, and to lower eyebrows**

First of all (of many, I should say), why would you be in a relationship with someone whom you find so unattractive you couldn't bear to look at a baby ( your own child!) carrying only half of his ugly little genes? I mean, great brain, great personality, fine, but if you have no physical attraction to him, why are you even wasting his time? Perhaps a more important question is why is this "incredibly intelligent" person remaining in a relationship with someone who openly admits that they don't find them attractive? But he didn't write in, she did.

Second, what kind of family and friends (and whose family and friends?) make "lighthearted" comments on the discrepancy between their levels of attractiveness? Do they also make "lighthearted" comments on the discrepancy between their levels of intelligence? And their ability to be tolerated in social settings?

Third, if she wants pretty babies that badly, she should handpick a sperm donor because adoption makes no guarantees of attractiveness. Is she thinking she'll get to select the cutest one from an array of babies displayed neatly before her? Or that she can return it if it gets awkward and ugly when puberty hits? Does she know anything about how the process of adoption works? Or does she simply think her boyfriend is SO hideous that ANY child would be more attractive than one he would spawn?

Finally, I have to suggest that at least part of the reason S.B. isn't interested in giving birth is that it will mess up her hot bod (perhaps reducing her to the level of hideousness displayed by her guy). Why is she dating this guy anyway? Does it just make her feel better about herself to constantly be able to say "I deserve and could get someone so much hotter" without actually having to DO it? Shudder.

As an aside, clearly wanting the same number of kids at the same time in your life does NOT mean you are compatible and should marry and procreate! If all people who wanted 2 kids in their early 30s after they had a job and a house would be happy together for the rest of their lives, finding a mate would be much easier.

Prudie, as always, puts it well:

Dear Skinny,
You're wise to avoid the potential tragedy of reproducing with your boyfriend: Your children could get his looks and your personality. Perhaps your boyfriend's already got an inkling of how you feel because of the Leonardo DiCaprio mask you ask him to wear when you make love. And although Brad and Angelina are both fecund and support adoption, I'm not sure they're going to agree to place any of their future progeny with you just to help you avoid the embarrassment of having a child who looks like your boyfriend. I'm trying to imagine how you initiate this discussion with him. Something like: "I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you. But when it comes to having kids, I'm sure that if we adopt we'll have a better shot of having decent-looking ones than if I let you impregnate me with your hideous sperm." That should go over well! What's supposed to happen when you are in love with someone (who also happens to be intelligent and have a great personality) is that you discover, despite objective measures, that person is beautiful to you. Your boyfriend sounds like a catch, so maybe you should toss him back so that he has a chance to find someone who's not permanently stuck in the shallow end.



Anne said...

OHMYGOD! Wow, SERIOUSLY? In addition to all of the very correct things you and Prudie mentioned, there's also the part where, um, attractive people can have unattractive kids, and unattractive people can have attractive kids.

Wow. Just wow.

Becky said...

I know! And she also just tosses in that she thinks her children, biological or adopted, will be "bright" as the result of good parenting.....

I don't see how she can be so obsessed with physical genetics and totally ignore all other ones.

Of course you can teach your children a love of of literature, or nature. You can emphasize the value of persistence and of knowledge. Just as you can teach your child to be physically fit and well-groomed--or that beauty comes from within, for that matter. But a certain measure of brightness--IQ, an inherently curious nature, snappy synapses, a bizarre drive to succeed--however you want to define it--cannot be just is what it is.

It doesn't mean that your parenting won't be the biggest factor in how your kids do in school and life and how their perceive their skills and abilities.

But I think it's sort of crappy of her to write off her boyfriend because of the genes she doesn't want, and then assume that his "good" genes aren't actually relevant. I mean, among all the other crappy things she says and implies with this letter.