How does anyone think this is a good idea?

There’s this shit on Captain Awkward:

I have a 40-year-old friend who’s very open about his frustrations with internet dating in our geeky friend circle, and recently he went on a date with a 32-year-old woman who, during their date, said that she is looking to have a couple of kids in the future. She didn’t want them straight away, but she’s looking for a relationship that would ideally end up there.

One of the cool things about online dating is that you can state in your profile that you definitely do or do not want children, and you can see how other users answer the same question. If this woman didn’t put that info in her profile, then he’s fortunate she put it out in the open on their first date.

He was appalled by this, and says he feels a) like he was being assessed for fatherhood, and b) that it was unfair that because he doesn’t want to have kids ever, (and I’m sure for other reasons,) she wouldn’t have another date with him – he thinks they’re compatible in other areas, so could have a lot of fun.

Yeah. Um. “Compatible in other areas” doesn’t really add up when one of you wants children and the other one doesn’t.

Most of our friend-group seem to be commiserating with him, but I think he’s out of order. He’s saying that there’s time for her to have a fling with him,

NOPE NOPE NOPE.

It keeps getting better, folks.

I seem to be in an extreme minority – as a gay woman who’s 40, apparently I don’t understand these things. […] But he’s being given sympathetic suggestions like he should have said he wasn’t sure about kids, and string her along for a bit, or do that AND try to persuade her she doesn’t want kids after all, which is despicable to me, or that this woman was some kind of crazy person who was only after his sperm and he had a lucky escape.

HOLY FUCK ALL THE NOPE I CAN’T EVEN.

Do you have any suggestions, or resources, to help geeky guys understand that for some (not all) women in their ‘30s, dating can be more serious than for the 40-year-old guys? I’m obviously not getting through – and given he only wants to date women in their early 30s (if a woman’s still single over 40, she’s got too much baggage, or something something? I KNOW! Why AM I friends with him?) this is unlikely to be the only time this will happen.

See what this dude’s doing here? See what his friends are encouraging him to do?

Guys, don’t do that.

Compared to a man of any age who definitely does not want children, ever, for a woman over 30, who definitely does want children, all other emotional factors being equal, dating is inherently a more serious endeavor. Why is this?

Do I really have to explain why? You know our fertility has a hard limit, right? You know there comes a time at which we can no longer conceive, at all, yes? And well before then, there comes a less certain time at which getting pregnant becomes very difficult and carrying to term gets especially dangerous? And you may have noticed there’s a lot of cultural/medical pressure on women to get our baby-having done before a certain age? Because if you haven’t noticed that pressure, trust me: it’s there. All women who want or might want kids, and have made it past 30 without having any, have noticed that pressure. Advanced maternal age becomes an issue starting at 35. If we finally start trying to conceive at 40, it’ll be really difficult-to-impossible, and that difficulty is all our fault for waiting too long. That’s the message behind the bulk of media attention to the prevalence of infertility: it’s OUR fault if we wait too long.

With that in mind, guys, lying your way into a “fling” with a 30something woman who wants to make babies is a really shitty thing to do.

You do not lie about what you want and string her along. You do not try to persuade her she doesn’t want kids after all. You definitely do not complain about sperm-jacking (which is hardly even a real thing), you do not entertain any suggestions that she might be trying to sperm-jack, if you’re trying to get her to ignore or postpone her plans for motherhood. What the woman is doing in this case is basically the very opposite of sperm-jacking, to the extent that it happens at all.

Think about this: if you’re a dude who thinks sperm-jacking is a thing that might happen to you doesn’t want to be a father, and you’re afraid some woman might disregard your choice in the matter, then…you want to keep your pants firmly on around any woman with a stated interest in procreation. Don’t complain that she won’t go for a second date.

I am telling you all this from the perspective of having been that 30something woman who wants babies and is trying to find a family-making partner. I’ve since changed my mind, and realized that I actually like my selfish, hedonistic existence and don’t want to fuck it up with any defenseless mini-humans, but still, I’ve been in that position of trying to find a partner of the “spouse and co-parent” level, and from that mentality, dating is very serious business. My last boyfriend might have eventually made a good co-parent—who knows, he might be on his way to becoming someone else’s co-parent now!—but our relationship simply wasn’t life-partnership material. I won’t go into detail about how I ultimately decided to break it off, but I will tell you this much: when I finally reached the point where I realized that our relationship just wasn’t serious, and he wasn’t interested in getting serious, then I found that I didn’t want him in my life even as a friend. I had just turned 33, he knew I wanted children (I did, at the time, and his dating profile said he wanted kids too), and he was happy to keep taking up my time indefinitely for a relationship that was going nowhere. Once I put that together, I didn’t feel very friendly to him, and in the months that have passed, my feelings toward my ex haven’t improved. (I didn’t quite see the heights of his disrespect for me until after I broke it off, but that’s another issue.)

It’s possible for two people who both want children to date for a while and still find that it’s not working out, and that’s fine. If they’re really making it work, it’s not necessarily going to reach the kid-having stage as quickly as either of them may have wanted, and that’s okay. The fact that most relationships don’t get that far, and those that do, generally need some time to get there, is why it is really, really unacceptable to say “she has time for a fling with me” when she’s 32 and knows she wants children. No. She has time to let a relationship develop. If she’s willing to say, in as many words during the first date, that she would like to have a couple of kids, then she does not have time for a fling.

Patience is overrated.

“Thank you for your patience” has become one of those expressions that makes me cringe whenever I hear it.

The idea itself is not bad. The problem is that it’s invariably used to refer to situations in which the “patient” person didn’t have a choice about being patient. Like, when the Metro operator says “thank you for your patience” while pulling the train into the tunnel after being stuck at the platform for 20 minutes, that doesn’t really make sense. We weren’t being “patient” by sitting nicely in the train cars while going nowhere. We were taking what was given to us. The alternative would be to get out and walk, which tends to be a net loss in terms of getting to work on time.

The question is: “If I were not patient, would you do anything differently?”

If the answer is “no,” then “patience” is a meaningless concept. If you’re not going to move any faster regardless of someone else’s ability to stay calm while they wait, then there’s no meaningful communication in saying thank you for their patience. The sentence boils down to, “Well, look at that, you’ve been caused some inconvenience.” I’m aware that we Americans tend to say “thank you” compulsively, but we could still stand to be honest about what the phrase actually means.

Today’s Metro Etiquette

For the love of Pete, please, people, do NOT stand still, or stop short, just in front of the foot of an escalator. Even if it’s going up. That’s only mildly less offensive than blocking up the foot of an escalator moving down. Get your directions straightened out with your friend BEFORE either of you get on. Otherwise, you are standing in the way of people who are trying to get home from work, and there is just no upside to that.

By all means, poke the fuming Monster with sticks.

“Patience is a virtue” can roughly be translated as “You should be SMILING when someone else’s stupidity is wasting your time!”

Fuck this “patience” bullshit. The problem is not with the person who is visibly (though not vocally) annoyed about a needless delay caused by someone else’s obliviousness. The problem is with the obliviousness. Either get out of the way or don’t make it any worse.

 

Seat-sitting etiquette

What is it with men who sit in crowded spaces—like theaters, for instance, with tightly defined seating?— with their knees so far apart that the people on either side of them have to scrunch themselves up into a right-triangle-shaped wedge of space apiece?

Dude, what in the hell? You paid for one allotted seat, and I paid for another one. You did not pay for your own sitting space plus 25% of mine. Why are you entitled to spread your knees apart like you’re sitting in your own easy chair in your own living room, while I can’t even sit straight forward because your left leg is in the way?

And don’t give me any bullshit about, “Oh, you just don’t understand, because you’re so much smaller than I am; these seats are too small and I need to spread out.” No. Dude on my other side was also a big guy, and he sat straight forward like a considerate person so that, if anything, I was the one encroaching on his allotted space, and you know why? Because YOU didn’t leave enough room for my knees.

It’s the kind of thing that’s very distracting while I’m trying to enjoy a show. It’s impossible to ignore.

The worst possible time to block up the escalator

Attention, clueless teenagers using the Washington Metro system:

When the Red Line is so delayed at evening rush hour that the entire platform at Metro Center is packed like Wal-Mart on Black Friday from end to end, and with no relief in sight…DO NOT STAND ON THE LEFT SIDE of the escalator leading up to the street. It’s rude at the best of times, but when ugly shit is happening…you’d best get your ass out of my way. I WILL NOT politely ease around you, and I WILL use foul language in your direction.

Etiquette of the Day: There are better places to jaw with your friends

What is it about the grocery store that causes otherwise responsible citizens to act like morons?

Attention, four 60ish white people chewing the fat in the aisle after the cash registers at the supermarket: what makes you think this is a good place to have your conversation? You’re taking up the whole freaking aisle, blocking foot traffic, and for no good reason. There’s a whole pedestrian-enabled square just outside the store, so what in the shit are you still doing inside? Are you the same people who think it’s cute to stand in matched pairs on the escalators at Fort Totten Metro like there’s no one behind you?

Shit, it’s like there’s a gene in some people that makes them seek out high-volume pedestrian junctions to block up when they want to stand still and do nothing. Can’t stand around in wide-open area with plenty of room to get around, can’t move off to the side where no one’s trying to walk, nope! Got to park the whole crowd where everyone else is trying to get by!

Etiquette of the Day: the Grocery Store

Since we are now facing Snowpocalypse here in the DC area (while the Upper Midwesterners and Canadians laugh their asses off at us), I am very glad that I got my grocery shopping done before the Co-Op turned into a zoo. When I went yesterday afternoon it was just a half-zoo. If I’d waited until the evening, I’m sure my fellow shoppers wouldn’t have been any less brainless; there just would have been more of them doing the same stupid shit.

When did it become okay to leave your grocery cart sitting in one aisle while you walk over to a different aisle to look around? In fact, when did it become okay to leave your grocery cart alone while you go anywhere that isn’t right next to your cart?

You are not alone in the store. That cart is taking up space that other shoppers would like to pass. It is in the way. It is blocking limited space for necessary pedestrian traffic. You are not entitled to occupy two different aisles at once.

Groceries are kind of like small children. If you leave them unattended, someone else just might make off with them.