As you all know, I’m reading this outstanding book Anatomy Of Love; every chapter is fascinating. Right now, I’m on the section on adultery. Dr. Fisher talks a lot about how in many cultures men were the ones that were able to copulate with many women, but women were limited in their affairs. From an anthropological standpoint, this makes sense. Men are/were literally spreading their seed everywhere (and with the higher infant mortality rates of older times, they needed to have a lot of offspring in order to just have a few living offspring) whereas when a woman becomes impregnated she has to carry the baby for nine months, thus for nine months she is only carrying one offspring and is inhibited from the ability to procreate more during that time. A man could impregnate thousands of women in the time that one woman is pregnant with one child. Get my point? Anyway, she has this line which really got me thinking,
“A woman’s worth was measured in two ways: her ability to increase her husband’s property […] and her womb’s capacity to nurture her husband’s seed” (80).
We often forget how primal we, human beings, still are. Of course men used to look for women with good “child bearing hips” who were healthy, with some meat on their bones and color in their skin. They didn’t want a) their wife to die bearing this child and b) the offspring to not have a strong womb to grow in. So, what’s changed? Many men, if not all the men I know, want children. Healthy, smart, strong children. Do the men I know look for someone who will bear them these healthy children? My answer is yes. Even if they don’t realize it, subconsciously, the inner-caveman in them is asking all the questions that the real cavemen did: Will she be strong enough to bear these children? Does she have good features to pass on? Will she die in childbirth?
How do I know they’re thinking these things? Because they say so. Not in so many words, however. I’m not lying when I say that every guy I’ve been out on a date/dated in the last few years has mentioned childbirth, babies, baby names, and me being pregnant on one, if not the first, date. No, I’m not kidding. Admiral Adama and I used to discuss it because we were in a long term relationship and at times we did wonder if we were destined to procreate; okay, that’s not so weird. When someone has rubbed your stomach while you’re dying with cramps, talking about pregnancy isn’t so odd. Fine. But what about the last two guys I’ve been on a date with? MedBoy asked me how many kids I want, asked if I thought divorce was genetic (uh, what?), and what sort of names I liked. Baby names on the first date? Who does that? Oh wait, MusicTeach! They BOTH did it. Not only did MusicTeach ask me all about what sort of family I wanted, baby names, how I want to raise my kids, etc. And then he said the thing which, ironically, a lot of guys have said to me: “You’re so small, how are you going to carry a baby?!”
That’s right. I’m 5′ and for some reason, just like people think it’s okay to touch a preggo woman’s stomach, they think it’s okay to ask me how I’m going to carry a child. Uh, I don’t know? The same way every-woman does? In her womb? Why is this an acceptable thing to discuss on a first date? Well, I don’t think it is. I’d like to keep my womb to myself for the first few dates, thank you very much. But, like I said, the primal part of the man is thinking about his survival, his heirs and offspring, and so he’s looking for someone who can aid him in his familial survival. Men are fascinated by this. It’s happened about four times in my life. They stand back, look at me, and say “But you’re so tiny! How are you going to carry a baby for nine months?” They shake their heads, I look astonished that they would say it, and we continue on our way. This is not normal first date behavior…for humans. But, for animals, I guess it is. Animals are on the look out for someone to procreate with; what makes us different than animals?
I do this too, in my own way. Having children is my dream, so whenever I meet a man I tend to look at him and think “Would he stick it out for nine months and more with me?” (Well, not whenever I meet a man; take for example, the guys I used to make out with in college, those men I did not wonder about.) I wonder if he would provide for me and my offspring, whether his “genetic stock” is good, etc. We all do it, but we don’t talk about it. Perhaps men are looking less for the perfect woman than they are the perfect womb-an?
Have you ever had a man make a comment about you bearing children?