It’s not so PC to ask that question any more (if it ever was). Here’s what people say instead — Do you two plan on having children? Which one of you will have the baby? Then they usually look very pleased with themselves for having come up with such an open-minded topic.
Now when I say ‘people,’ I don’t mean my close friends. I mean colleagues, or people I’ve just met at parties, even the occasional stranger. This has been happening for years, since long before Baby Mama and I started talking about actually having an actual baby. As you might have guessed, it really pisses me off.
I have several answers to the baby question that I don’t say out loud. These are:
1) Do I know you?
2) It’s absolutely none of your goddamn business.
3) Will my answer help you decide which one of us is more gay?
I also have out-loud answers, which mainly try to head irritating conversations off at the pass:
1) Oh, we at least need to wait until ____ is done with ____.
2) Yeah, we’ve talked about it . . . Hey look, is that Elvis?
Now though, _____ IS done with _____ . We are actually going to do it and we’ve decided that Baby Mama is going to carry the child. So sometimes I tell people that. When I do, they turn to me and say, “And how do YOU feel about that?” (dramatic pause….)
Wait a minute, you don’t look like my therapist.
The only way I can describe questions like these is as prurient. And what makes it especially annoying is the fact that the (straight) people asking get to satisfy their curiosity about how the other half lives while feeling magnanimous about recognizing my right to exist.
But the show must go on, so either I say that I’m fine with it (frosty smile) and maybe I’ll carry the next one, or the questioner suddenly solves the problem of lesbian fairness for herself by asking if we’ve ever thought about adoption. I prefer the adoption question because it lets me take the questioner directly to the land of straight guilt:
“Actually it can be really difficult to adopt if you’re gay. Some agencies won’t work with you. State law in some cases blah blah blah.”
“Oh,” she says, “that’s terrible . . . . Are you going to that concert tomorrow?”
But, since we are in Bloglandia here, how do I really feel about it? I don’t think I’ll really know until Baby Mama pops one out. Here are some things I think right now:
On wanting to be physically pregnant
I don’t. The fact that theoretically I could grow something inside me, change my body shape, then push it out and change back is kind of cool, but along the lines of how it’s cool to fly in dreams. I guess I don’t really believe it. Kind of like how sometimes I don’t believe in men. They’re just so unlikely.
I hate that we have to use sperm. It’s like buying a stranger’s snot. I am, however, a realist.
On having a pregnant wife
I’m going to be less inclined to the whole ‘your body is a miracle’ kind of shtick. On the other hand, I know how having your period sucks. Things will balance out.
On wanting to be the biological mother
Here is where I get into territory where I feel worried. What if I don’t really feel like the baby’s parent? Or it doesn’t love me? Or I don’t know how to hold it? Or a thousand other things that might be solved by a biological bond? Normal new parent (or new dad) fears, I know, but still bothersome. And not something I’m going to dump into small talk with the office gossip.
I do think that it will end up being fine. Right now I feel some of the bizarre ennui that followed directly upon my coming out. I had heard all my life how gay people were abnormal, unnatural, lonely, sad, never had long relationships, and could only live in New York City (oh no!) because they would be ostracized anywhere else. So I worried about those things until I realized they did not apply to my life. I hope my baby worries will go the same way.