“What are you looking for?”
I paused for a moment, taken aback by the directness of the question. After all, this was our first ever phone call, its primary purpose was to appease our respective mothers.
“What do you mean?” I asked. Then to buy some time I countered with, “what are you looking for?”
“I want to get married and have a baby within the next two years.”
What? My eyebrows furrowed. I did some quick maths. “You want to have a kid in 2 years’ time?” I clarified.
Woah, I thought, that’s some timeline. I didn’t realize I’d said this out loud.
I don’t know why it shocked me. He never said he wanted to marry and have me pregnant in two years but I was still feeling the pressure. Suddenly alarm bells started ringing and the word “ABORT” was running across my mind. I hardly knew the man; we hadn’t even met in person yet; I didn’t want to know this.
“Do you normally tell people that as soon as you meet them?” I asked.
“Yes”, he said, and he found it seemed to scare people off.
I couldn’t imagine why. I told him he should probably wait a couple of dates before telling anyone this.
I’m all for people knowing what they want, but any time I’ve met someone who has such a clear deadline it makes me wonder whether the person is more concerned with beating the clock than they are about meeting the right match.
I remember the story of a woman who was engaged to be married, but for whatever reason, she and her partner broke up. Then she married someone else on the same exact date she was supposed to marry her first fiancé.
It’s that air of anyone will do.
Having seen the inside of a labour ward, ejecting a baby out of a human body is a bloody business no matter how you go about it. Expecting to have one in two years felt like he was placing an order on Amazon. Or Deliveroo/Postmates.
The burden of child-bearing is disproportionately placed on women and when a couple is unable to get pregnant, more emphasis is again placed on her body. Knowing all of this means that whenever I come across a man making plans on another woman’s womb, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable.
I don’t want to speak for all women, because I can’t, but I for sure want to feel special to my significant other. I would like to think they chose me because of my witty banter, excellent writing skills, and all the other quirks that come together to make me into a one-of-a-kind human being and not just because I’m holding a pair of ovaries
I want to feel like if my partner didn’t marry me he’d never marry again. He’d be so unbelievably distraught that he would be unable to recover from that kind of devastation.
There’s a condition called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, broken heart syndrome, which can be caused by acute emotional stress. And that is the kind of stakes I’m talking about, literal heartbreak.
I might not believe in “the one” but I would like to believe I’m in some way irreplaceable.
A change of heart
Literally, in that same conversation, I changed my mind. Not about offering my body as a sacrifice because that’s still a no, but about how soon he should be letting women in on his master plan.
Why should he have to wait for 2 to 3 dates to tell someone else what he wanted? 2 to 3 dates with a few women is expensive. It’s even more expensive if he’s footing the bill. So if he can avoid all of that by being honest on day 1 that way he can allow anyone who’s not aboard the baby train, the freedom to jump ship.
If he wants to get married and have a baby in two years, he needs to work fast. There’s literally no time to waste. It’s an “are you in or out?” question before the waiting staff has placed the starter on the table. This way he can ask for the bill before the chef even has time to cut the onions.
Everyone would save time if they were clear about what they wanted.
Imagine if people just said things like, “I don’t know what I want”, or “I’m just out for a good night” or “I want to waste your time, whilst simultaneously inferring I want something serious but then doing things that go against that every other week”.
Why should he have to hide his feelings or intentions because it seemed “unromantic” to me?
There will be someone who will want the same thing he wants and hopefully they live happily ever. Is there any point in telling him to soften his stances to appeal to the masses when he’s not trying to sell the next iPhone, he’s just looking for a wife? (And a baby.)
Only one woman has to say yes. The quicker he works his way through everyone who is not on the same page, the quicker they can get baby number one pushed out by the two-year mark.