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Kids Say the Darndest Fucking Things

2004-01-23 - 2:30 p.m.

Once upon a time, I was a hopeless romantic. I knew that there was a special someone out there waiting for me, someone who would feet me off my sweep and whisk me away to a magical kingdom of fabulous dinner parties and 2.5 kids.

Then I turned 17.

Unfortunately, that voice hasn't totally died, as many times as I may drive a steak knife into its neck. However, I have gotten over this perfect person idea, this other-half waiting for me. People are people, and we're a hell of a lot more complete on our own than we think. So, as much as I might want a wedding, I am not as sure about a marriage. I might change my mind if I meet someone worthy of sharing my life with, but I'm getting to the point where, if it doesn't happen, I'll deal.

Having kids, though, is a different story, and a much harder puzzle to solve.

Part of me wonders how I would feel about this if I were hetero. After all, I'd say that at least 30% of my friends have either been pregnant or had a lover/girlfriend who was pregnant. This, of course, isn't counting the people I've known who have become pregnant by choice. I wonder, if I had been a straight man, if I would have wanted to be the father of a child who came along unplanned. I am absolutely pro-choice, but I wonder if I would have wanted a woman to keep a baby, or would have been prepared if she decided that she was going to keep it. I like to think I'd be honest about my feelings while being respectful of her decision, but even more than that I like the fact that it's a choice I'll never have to make, and don't get me started on the decisions I'm glad I don't have to make because of my lack of a uterus.

Of course, I have a choice of my own that will prove to be a challenge in its own right: if I find a partner, and we decide to have children, do we adopt or do we find a surrogate mother? Objectively, I feel like the choice should be simple: there are plenty of kids out there who need good homes, especially minority children, and adoption leaves out all the ambiguity of "is it right to bring someone into this crazy world?" At the same time, a genetic prerogative like reproduction is nearly impossible to ignore.

I'm talking about all this because kids have been on my mind lately. Last week I was working with a couple of kids on a piece they were going to perform for the play that I'm working on. We had a lot of fun, but things got even better when we were joined by the No Longer Naked Baby, whom you may remember as the Naked Baby from a few entries ago. Well, NLNB joined us as we rehearsed outside, dressed in Winnie-the-Pooh overalls. She noticed the jam jar I was drinking from, and she asked me, "What are you dwinking?"

"Tea with honey." I said. I noticed her overalls and said, "I love honey. Just like Winnie the Pooh." I patted my stomach for emphasis.

She gave my stomach a look of solemn appraisal that can only be found in small children and cats, and said to me, "You have a big bewwy."

Gee thanks kid, I thought. But I laughed and said, "Yes I do!."

Later on, we were having lunch together. She had warmed up to me considerably, and was sitting on my lap as we ate. She got down to get more juice, and when she climbed back up my legs she looked at me with the same grave expression. She put her hands up to my face and began touching my cheekbones and eyebrows. Then she stopped, and before returning to her lunch she said, "You're pwetty."

Dudes, I rarely feel pretty. But I sure as Hell felt it then.

I didn't feel so up on kids yesterday, when I realized once again that the goodness of my heart will cause me more grief in life than the evil in my brain ever will. Recently, a local public school had all of its arts funding cut. The school is full of low income kids, the vast majority of whom are Latino. When the call came for volunteers to contribute an hour and a half a week to teach these kids painting, drawing, theatre, or whatever to keep them from going home and plopping in front of the TV, I was ready and willing to sign up.

What in the name of all that is holy was I thinking?

I show up with my three fellow teachers (if you could call us that) to find 17 kids waiting for us. These kids . . . these fucking kids. I wish I could describe what snarky, misbehaving, rude, ill-mannered crrreatures this kids were without offending someone. Granted, a lot of them were very sweet, particularly when you got them one on one. But there were others, OH there were others, who spent the entire time being little smart-asses and lying to my face about everything they could. Worst of all, we separated the kids into grades, and while other people got the placid, interested thrid and fourth graders I was stuck with the fifth graders from below Hell. Since I was a volunteer, I had no "Go to the prinicpal's office NOW!" authority, and they knew it. So I was subjected to their trying to hide from me, to their sneaking off to try to find porn online (you think I'm kidding), to their telling me that they were allowed to roam the halls, and make popcorn, and all this other crap that was so blatantly untrue that I was trying hard not to laugh in their little faces. More than that, I was trying not to yell, not to threaten, to do nothing more than use an occassional sharp "No!" when they were about to draw blood and to stand there with an "I can wait her until you little motherfuckers graduate from high school" look on my face until they quieted down.

Well, they never quieted down. The best I could do was have some of them yell at one another, at the top of their lungs, to shut up. But I never yelled, and always tried to adapt to their needs and wants, and I got through the 90 minutes with my sanity intact.

Of course, after another 10 minutes, I was flashing back to my own experience in grade school, to HATING the kids in class who never shut up and who got the teachers mad, whose constant yammering made sure that recess was delayed, or that homework was doubled. I remembered how much I hated, and I mean HATED grade school, not because of having to learn or stay indoors, but because of the little jackasses that I was forced to learn alongside. And THEN I had to stop myself from running over one of these kids in the parking lot.

The thought in my head? "I am never having kids."

Of course, that was all yesterday, and today I read the recap on TWoP for the latest Sex and the City episode(, in which Carrie debates whether or not she should continue her relationship with Hannibal Lecter's younger brother (which is seriously what Mikhail Barishnikov looks like these days) when she discovers that he has had a vasectomy and doesn't want to have children. I was not a big fan of watching this debate, because it was Carrie and there is a universal consensus among all my fellow Sex and the City fans that, no matter how much we may love Miranda, Samantha, and even Charlotte, Carrie sucks dead llamas.

However, this afternoon I had a haircut that made me think. Usually, my haircuts only make me orgasm. You see, my stylist is an incredibly sexy man (with a girlfriend, the bastard) who includes an essential oil scalp massage with the haircut. Now, I am not a big fan of massages, but the first time I had one from this guy I had to bite my lips to keep from moaning. As was, I let out a few screams of "YES! YES! YEEEEEES!!!" when I got back to the car. Herbal Essences has diddly-shit on this guy.

As I said, I usually have at least one moment during the haircut when I want him to rip off my smock and take me right there on the barbershop chair (he's the operates out of a one room shop, so it's not like the other stylist would have to apply volumizer over my screams of passion), not to mention profess his undying love to me. Today, though, he mentioned that he was having a vasectomy in February, because, as he put it, he could not imagine being someone's father. I was surprised, because, first of all, TMI there, buddy, but I was more surprised by the little voice inside my head that said, "That's a shame. So much for marrying the hairdresser."

As terrified as I am about raising a kid, about giving it a healthy dose of all my neuroses, about being responsible for so much of what goes right and wrong in the life of another human being, I want to raise kids. I know that wanting to do something doesn't necessarily mean that you should do it; it's one of the many lessons I learned in school the first time around. Worst of all, I'm going to have to deal with being a gay parent, with the fact that my kids will have to face even more teasing than they otherwise would about having two daddies. It's not so much daunting as it is "Mission: Impossible." But none of this changes the fact that I want to hold a baby, and watch it grow, and feel a little empty when it goes off to live its own life, and a little less empty when it comes home with kids of its own. It's very old-fashioned and heteronormative, and I'm not saying that I'm not going to have my fun and run around town before I find a life partner (as well as after, if we're both okay with polyamory), but if I die without having done it I'll feel like I missed out. So the kids stay in the picture.

For that matter, the kids at the school stay in the picture. They need someone to teach them art and music and theatre. Sure, there will be ones that drive me crazy, but I'd rather have them spend some of their energy on me than watching TRL, because, seriously. It'll only be an hour and a half every other week. I'll live.

In the meantime, mad props to all the teachers out there who are educating up the next generation. You don't get paid enough, and we remain in your debt.

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The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
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