Why no-one should be allowed to have kids until they're at least 30, and even then only maybe.
A Grindr message hits deep; your mum is a right little goer; and why no-one should be allowed to have kids until they're at least 30, and even then only maybe.
Stories of queer life and even queer-er sex.
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I started chatting with a guy on Grindr recently, and we’d just done the generic “Hey, how’re you?” opening message. You know, the ones that are more just to see if they’re interested than to actually impart any information. It’s like the app-based version of hearing the phone ring and looking at the caller ID before you decide if you want to answer it or not. Although in this case, the caller ID tends to be a photo of their torso, a couple of physical stats like height and weight, and whether or not they accept visitors via the tradesmen’s entrance. So effectively, a lot of the time, that first message is a simple way of finding out if this person is into you enough to have a conversation. You’re saying “I am attracted enough to your photos to talk to you. Here is an opportunity to disappoint me on several different levels. Will it be racism? Or toxic masculinity? Or some kind of internalised homophobia? Go for all of them at once because fuck it, why not, it’s Christmas.”
I always see “Hi, how are you?” as the opportunity to hook the other person into a conversation. Like, I’ll reply with “I’m good, thanks! Knackered from the gym, but at least I’m working from home today! What about you?” because then the other person has a few options - ask about the gym, how often I go, which one, what I was working on, blah blah blah, or questions about what I do for work, how that’s going, blah blah. What really annoys me is when someone says “Hi, how’re you?” I say my little “Good thanks! Knackered form the gym, but working from home today! How’re you?” and they reply with “I’m fine.” and that’s it. I’m always just sat here thinking “You started this, motherfucker, we could easily have not talked at all.”
Anyway. This guy didn’t do that. He went the other way and hit me with a really strong opener. No sooner had we got past “Hi, how’re you?” when he asked “Do you want kids?”
Which was a bit shocking, to be honest. I had to stop and think for a minute. My first thoughts were “Be careful how you answer, Scott, you might end up on some kind of list, and you’re not rich or well-connected enough to get a quick death…” The other thought I had was that this was some weirdly complicated chatbot that was trying to sell me some kind of adoption service. Like, if I said yes, there would be a drone dispatched to leave a baby on my doorstep within the next 4 hours or something.
Do I want kids? Maybe, when I’m old enough to look after them. At the moment, I can barely keep myself alive. Don’t take the fact that I’ve made it to humblybumble years old as any indicator of success. A lot of this is luck and privilege. Just this morning I walked into a lamppost because I was too busy perving on a hot guy in the street to look where I was going. Sheer dumb luck is the only reason I haven’t done exactly the same thing into traffic, and ended up smeared around the wheel-arch of an Uber whose driver is too off his tits on Pro Plus to notice.
I said “When I’m older…” without realising that, at my age, my parents were already looking after two kids, ages 10 and 12. Christ. I honestly don’t know how they managed it.
Remember that weird feeling, the first time you saw a teacher outside of school? Like, you’d be in the supermarket with your mum, just doing a bigshop, and you’d wander into the bread aisle or something and there would be Mrs Newman, just happily buying a loaf, or some breadcakes or whatever, and your tiny little mind gets blown because, as far as you knew, she lived in the staff room at school with all the other teachers, presumably on some kind of shelving, where she just sat quietly at night until it was time to come out and teach more classes the next morning?
Working out that your parents had lives before you were born is, sort of, in the same category. You have to go from “No, that doesn’t sound right. Your entire existence is designed around me - you feed and clothe me, and in return, I brighten your life with my presence. This is the arrangement we have, and it works perfectly. There’s nothing more to it.” And as you grow up, it sort of transitions into grudgingly accepting that, perhaps, your parents had parts of their lives that weren’t directly related to catering for you, and that they’re actually real people with lives and hopes and dreams and all that sort of thing.
Of course, there’s always a lot we never learn about our parents, and that’s usually for the best. If I think about a lot of the people I know growing up, there’s going to be a LOT of stuff that the kids just never find out. And maybe that’s for the best.
No-one needs to know that their mum regularly went out to nightclubs, got off her tits on coke and then bent over the bins out the back and called it a good night.
My kids, for example. What am I going to say to them?
Father, I’m going to make my kids call me Father. I might even buy a smoking jacket and a pipe, so I can spend my evenings staring into the fireplace. Proper dad stuff. Father, how did you and dad meet?
Well, little Timmy, one night I was feeling proper randy. The kind of horn that just wouldn’t be sated with a quick wank, so I popped down to the local sauna. And when I got there, I met a lovely young man. As we were getting to know one another, I saw, across the room, your dad. I only caught a glimpse of him before the guy I was with’s big hairy balls got in the way, but for a moment I saw him getting double-teamed by a couple of burly guys and I thought “Oh, hello… You’re a bit of alright!” and then a bit later, when I was in the hot tub having a soak, I saw him again, and our eyes met over a crowded twink…”
No-one needs that level of detail about whether or not your parents were right little goers. In fact, right now you’re probably trying not to think about your own parents shagging. But they did. Probably quite a lot. Who do you think was on top when you were conceived? Maybe they were into role play, maybe you mum liked going dogging, or your dad liked a finger up the bum…
As kids, we all have this assumption that our parents know what they’re doing, and eventually you get to the age they were when they had you and realise that, no, they don’t. They don’t have a clue. They’re making it up as they go along, just like we are, except they didn’t have the internet telling them where they were going wrong all the time. The only reference they had was their own parents, who probably weren’t all that good at it.
All anyone can do is hope not to fuck their kids up quite as much as our parents fucked us up. Quite a low bar, you’d think, but the trick is knowing how fucked up you are. There’s plenty of people, remember, who think Compulsory National Service is a great idea, because it’ll “Whip them into shape”. Which, having spent time with several people who had to do national service, all of whom have varying degrees of PTSD, I’d say is a bit rich.
The more I think on it, I don’t think anyone under the age of 30 should be able to have kids AT ALL, to be honest.I don’t mean stop people shagging, I think everyone should have more sex, but just no babies.
Let’s all have the first 30 years of our lives to figure ourselves out a bit, get the worst of the emotional fuckery sorted, have our hearts broken, travel round India or whatever, all of that, before even considering having kids. Then, from, say, your 30th birthday, you’re given the opportunity to apply for a parenting licence.
The process would take a few months, maybe a year or two, and cost money, so you and your partner - you’d need to have a partner, of course - can be REALLY sure that you’re ready for a baby. You’ll have to show you earn enough to support a little one, and still have time enough to spend with them so they’re not neglected, and all that stuff.
It’s a great idea. A quick google says that just under half of all births in the UK were to people under 30. So we’d immediately half the birth rate, slowing overpopulation a bit, helping combat climate change and freeing up space on the tube. Shit like that.
Only people who were actually committed and ready and into the idea of being parents would be able to have kids, and even then, they’d have to prove that they’re emotionally stable and able to care for the poor little shit factory.
If it seems stupid to you that you should have to prove your worth as a parent before being allowed a baby, then you’re probably straight. Because if you’re LGBT and you want your very own screaming ball of bodily fluids, then this is how you have to go about it - adopting is a long and slow process of proving that, not only do you want the child, but that you’re able to care for it, financially and physically and that. None of that for you breeders. You slap bits together and every time there’s a chance that you’re going to make a person. Even if it’s with someone that you can barely stand for the five minutes it takes to get through the sex, let alone the rest of your lives.
What I’m saying is, it’s quite difficult to accidentally have a baby with someone of the same sex. Although, to our credit, we do keep trying.
Although I think that’s a lovely thing to have to explain to your child when they ask where they came from: “Me and you dad were very much in love, and we decided we wanted someone to share that with, so we spent years, looking all over the world, for a special little person to love forever. Eventually we found you, and we knew from the first time we saw you, that you we would love you and take care of you and shit.”
It’s definitely better than “Me and your dad really liked doing it without a condom. It felt much better, even if he didn’t last as long, and then 9 months later you fell out of me.”