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Saturday, November 17, 2007

She's forgotten someone.

As recently as 10 years ago, I might have found Amy Aklon's piece on "enforced fatherhood" compelling, bordering on irrefutable. These days, I find it bordering on ridiculous.

Let's start with the supposedly killer closer:

And yes, sure, you can say a man doesn’t have sex if he doesn’t want a child…but let’s discuss this as if we’re living in the real world, ‘kay?

Sure. Let's.

Starting with two critical premises. First, when the child arrives on scene, it isn't all about Mr. Tab A and Ms. Slot B (a/k/a Mr. & Ms. Right Now).

No matter what Tab or Slot happened to tell each other beforehand, no matter how they get the bends at the thought of the admittedly-daunting prospect of parenthood, no matter how their "relationship" is nothing more than a mood-altered one night exercise in mutual masturbation.

It ceases to be All About Them when there's a baby.

Sorry--that is the real world.

Secondly, child support payments aren't a get-rich-quick scheme in this real world. They are calibrated according to formulas which consider the man's earning power, custodial time with the children and the woman's financial circumstances. A friend of ours is getting child support payments from her dirtbag ex for two kids five and under. She's working a minimum wage job and scraping by, and only because she's been taken in by a friend. She is not making any money on this, and it's ludicrous to suggest that most women receiving child support are, the fecund professional athlete like Travis Henry or Shawn Kemp aside.

On to the rest.

A child a man agrees to have is one thing, but should a man have to pay child support when he makes it clear to a woman that he does not want one?

It's really quite simple, and let me use non-religious terms. (A) Don't schtupp her, or (B) assure yourself of the proper -cides/latex/hormonal concoction from the incredible panoply concocted by our equally-terrified-and-unable-to-control-themselves-forebears.

Jennifer Spenner for the Saginaw News and Kathy Barks Hoffman for the AP wrote about a Michigan man who recently challenged being forced to pay child support for his girlfriend’s baby — despite what he alleges were her assurances that she couldn’t get pregnant because of a medical condition, and her knowledge that he didn’t want a child.

He made the point to the court that if a woman can choose whether to abort, adopt out, or raise the child, a man should have the same right, and argued that Michigan’s paternity law violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Matt Dubay lost the case, which he previously acknowledged was a long shot — but should it have been?

Ah, yes, Dubay v. Wells. Actually, Dubay and his backers called it Roe v. Wade for Men, a title which successfully aborted any glimmer of sympathy that I may have had for the cad dad. Dubay was asking for the equivalent of abortion rights, because, after all, his relationship was all about the priapic satisfactions of little Matt. Until, of course, he discovered that Wells' womb was not a rocky place where his seed could find no purchase.

This is his daughter, Elizabeth.

From what I have seen of Dubay, Elizabeth is his spitting image. I haven't a clue as to what Wells told Dubay or whether she "trapped" him or not. I've never so much as seen or read an interview with her. More to the point--it's irrelevant. Baby renders it irrelevant. I know this for certain: he has a beautiful daughter, and he's missing out on her life. More seriously he's doing a great deal to poison that life with his legal tantrum (a paragraph in his complaint states that the birth of his daughter caused him "dismay").

Secondly, Dubay did more than "lose" the case--he was hit with sanctions requiring him to pay the defendants' fees and costs because his lawsuit was deemed "frivolous."

Oh, and about that "get rich quick" scheme: Elizabeth Wells is the recipient of a princely $500 a month.

As I wrote in my syndicated advice column, in no other arena is a swindler rewarded with a court-ordered monthly cash settlement paid to them by the person they bilked. In an especially sick miscarriage of justice, even a man who says he was sexually victimized by an older woman from the time he was 14, has been forced to pay support for the child that resulted from underage sex with her.

Again, prove that a swindle was going on in the Dubay matter. If it was, well, six grand a year gets absorbed in diapers and formula pretty fast.

And what happened to the 14 year old kid was beyond appalling. But that's an argument for a tweak of the law (establishment of a constructive trust docking the abuser mom after the child reaches majority, for example), not "Roe v. Wade for Men."

While the law allows women to turn casual sex into cash flow sex, Penelope Leach, in her book Children First , poses an essential question: “Why is it socially reprehensible for a man to leave a baby fatherless, but courageous, even admirable, for a woman to have a baby whom she knows will be so?”

"Cash flow sex"? She hasn't shown an example of it yet. For the record, it's neither courageous nor admirable.

Dan Quayle thanks you for your support.

A child shouldn’t have to survive on peanut butter sandwiches sans peanut butter because he was conceived by two selfish, irresponsible jerks. Still, there’s a lot more to being a father than forking over sperm and child support, yet the law, as written, encourages unscrupulous women to lure sex-dumbed men into checkbook daddyhood.

This is as close as she gets to acknowledging premise 1.

Moreover, she's dead-on: there's a lot more to fatherhood than those two things. Which, when you get right down to it, is an argument for not letting the li'l head do your thinking for you. He's distressingly single-minded, you know.

This isn’t 1522. If a woman really doesn’t want a kid, she can take advantage of modern advances in birth control like Depo-Provera or the IUD, combine them with backup methods (as recommended by her doctor), add an ovulation detection kit, plus insist that her partners latex up. Since it’s the woman who gets a belly full of baby, maybe a woman who has casual sex and is unprepared, emotionally, financially, and logistically, to raise a child on her own, should be prepared to avail herself of the unpleasant alternatives.

Ah, abortion. There's certainly what the touting of the (often unsafe) abortofacient IUD boils down to. And is Ms. Aklon positively recommending abortion in the last sentence? No dispute from me that the rupturing of organs and crushing of tiny bones is at a bare minimum "unpleasant."

For the record: no one's ever "prepared" for a baby. It's just that the freakout intervals are shorter and less intense with the passage of time.

And here's a crazy idea--skip the casual sex. You can avoid all sorts of unpleasantries that way.

It’s one thing if two partners in a relationship agree to make moppets, but should a guy really get hit up for daddy fees when he’s, say, one of two drunk strangers who has sex after meeting in a bar? Yes, he is biologically responsible. But, is it really “in the child’s best interest” to be the product of a broken home before there’s even a home to break up?

(1) Yes, and (2) yes. Again: everything is not about you, Cartman. Better in a single parent home than dead, discarded and forgotten in some medical waste landfill. Better still, of course, to be in a home with a mom and dad who love each other, but let's work our way up to that.

For all you boys out there, until that day there is actual male choice, don’t neglect the birth control…no matter what she tells you. Unless you’re a sterling judge of character, on the level of secret service agents and clinical psychologists, and unless you’re absolutely sure you’ve got an ethical and/or infertile girlfriend, or you personally watch her get Depo Provera injections…prudent thinking is never believing her when she says she can’t get knocked up, always bringing your own condom, and retaining custody over it at all times…lest it find its way to the business end of a pin.

Here's an even better idea: stop trying to match Wilt Chamberlain in the conquest department, you dumb ass. Try growing up instead. Make it a priority to find a worthwhile woman, love her, treat her like gold and go from there. Believe it or not, the sex will be there, champ. Along with a whole hell of a lot more peace of mind.

Sound cynical? That’s what a lot of guys think — before they write to me about what they can say to persuade some girl to get an abortion, or whether there’s anything they can do to get out of paying child support…short of dying.

No, it sounds brain dead to me. Sounds like 20 somethings whose moral outlooks never developed past age 15. There are a whole lot of you guys, aren't there? That's the only explanation for how a no-talent sack of monkey shit like Joe Francis got rich.

And yes, sure, you can say a man doesn’t have sex if he doesn’t want a child…but let’s discuss this as if we’re living in the real world, ‘kay?

We just did. I recommend the "grow up, already" cure. Solves almost all of the problems associated with Prolonged Adolescence Syndrome.

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