Monday, August 17, 2009

Father? No. Best!

"I love children - especially when they cry and somebody has to take them away."

Anybody familiar with the 70s sitcom "Maude" starring Bea Arthur knows that in the first season, there was a controversial two-parter about Maude discovering that she is pregnant at 48. After much debate, Maude decides to undergo an abortion (a procedure than legal in New York State but not yet in the country at large.) While this episode has become notorious, it's actually a very thoughtful, poignant and intellectual take on the issue. (And as a trivia question, it was written by future 'Golden Girls' creator Susan Harris!)

For me, the most striking part of the episode is not Maude's final decision, coming as it does in the very last moments of the episode, but something that occurs earlier. Maude and Walter are discussing the option and Walter lets loose with his own confession: he's never wanted to be a father. He says that in his life, people have thought he was crazy for voicing that opinion but it was just how he felt. I was nearly teary-eyed when I saw that because what Walter - a fictional character- and I - a semi-real person- felt were one and the same. And yes, I've often been asked why I don't have any interest in becoming a father.

The simple answer is: I just don't. It's not because I'm gay. I know lots and lots of gay guys who have children, consider it or are in the process but for me, I've never felt the urge. To some people, that makes me selfish. Yes, I've been called selfish. And maybe I am. But I think it would be a lot worse for me if I did adopt a kid just so I wouldn't be considered selfish.

My best friend Dave has two absolutely fantastic young boys who amuse me endlessly whenever I visit. My cousin Christine has a boy and a girl who are so cute it's painful. And my own brother has two really, honestly, great kids who are not only beautiful but good. I just don't feel as though I am missing anything after I've visited them. I look forward to seeing them again, but I still don't want to partake in being a father.

I never hear too much about this opinion in the media, and I think it is because some people are afraid of being labeled as "selfish." That's just how I've always been.


  1. Put me in that column. I never expected to be a mother, for several reasons, but I also just never heard the tick tock of my biological clock. Looking back, I know now that, if it had happened, I would have been a good mom, but I am ok with spoiling my nephews :)

  2. And you are a great honorary uncle—the kids really enjoy your visits and bring up your name in conversation at least once a week!

  3. I have a friend who feels this way, but tried to suppress it when he got married. Eventually, it became a main source of stress in their marriage and will ultimately lead to their divorce.

  4. Oh, I so agree with you. I feel about kids the same way I feel about dogs: I love spending time with them, but I don't want them living in my house! :) -Karen

  5. I guess I'm not the only selfish person after all! :)