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Is That A Son In Your Pocket? One night, six months ago, my best friend and I lowered our inhibitions and got in bed together. Lo and behold, in three months, I’ll be a father. I’ve been clear about not wanting a relationship with her, but I get the feeling she thinks the baby will equal magical love between us. I’m living with her until the dust settles from the baby, but tensions between us are growing daily. If I even spend time with female friends, she gets jealous and stops talking to me for days. How can I get our friendship back to normal? And how do I handle it if I meet girls I want to date?

--Reality Ankle Bites

Bummer, baby’s on the way. How are you supposed to mack on girls?

As heavily as your future dating life must be weighing on your mind, when you have a moment, you might consider how you’ll handle the little things, like when your kid looks up at you and asks where he came from. Then again, maybe your partner in inhibition relaxation will be handling that one all by herself: “Mommy had a one-night stand with a man who used to be her friend. You don't know him, but the government makes him send checks to pay for your therapists and defense attorneys.” Aww, how heartwarming.

For future reference, babies do not generate dust. Babies generate bills. Moreover, while condoms are not 100 percent effective as birth control, they still beat hope hands down. Unfortunately, the abstinence education crusaders seem to have missed out on human nature education, an important element in preventing unwanted pregnancies. There they are, telling kids to abstain from sex, which is fun, when they could be telling kids to abstain from debt, which is the opposite of fun: “Let’s see, boys and girls, you could put that $500 you earned into a new stereo system for your car…or a breast pump, diaper bins, and a stroller.” Hellooo, latex!

Yeah, yeah, so the little strip turned pink, what’s the big deal? Well, here’s a big, warm thanks a lot from the rest of us, who’ll probably be getting mugged at gunpoint by your 10-year-old. What could go wrong now? What couldn’t? For starters, emotional stress on the mother during pregnancy -- for example, her continuing anxiety that Daddy’s going to dash out of the delivery room and start dating -- gives the developing baby a bath in the stress hormone cortisol. Numerous studies link this prenatal stress to serious cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems, possibly long-term, especially in boys. Marriage and family researchers Alyson Shapiro and John Gottman noted that after the baby is born, destructive conflict between the parents can cause the kid to suffer “depression, withdrawal, poor social competence, and conduct-related disorders.”

It isn’t this baby’s fault that two idiots’ genitals got together. But, all is not lost. Not yet, anyway. Enlist your parents and hers -- in other words, bring adults into the equation to help keep you three kids out of trouble. Should you feel compelled to put more into parenting than your checkbook, recognize that you can’t suddenly say you’ve thrown enough baseballs around when the kid hits 11. If you do decide to dad, go with the mother before the baby’s born to one of the research-based Bringing Baby Home parenting workshops (BBHonline.org). There, you can learn to work together (even if you aren’t together) to meet the kid’s psychological needs and to keep conflict to a minimum. Tragically, parenting class is about the worst place you could go to find dates (just behind Lamaze) -- but it is your best shot at keeping your mack-mobile free of bumper stickers like “My delinquent deals drugs to your honor student.”

Posted by aalkon at January 20, 2006 7:21 AM

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This was actually one of my favorite columns. I rate this one with Mother-In-Law Of All Bombs and A Man And His Kneads Are A Pain In The Neck. I guess I enjoy watching the impossibly self-centered and stupid get beaten up in print. They so deserve it. Although, the unfortunate wife in "Kneads" isn't the stupid one. It's her husband, actually. I'm a licensed massage therapist in the state of Florida (MA 46009, in case the Board views my comment as advertising), but that doesn't mean I go around at parties rubbing down hot guys. For one thing, I go to parties to get AWAY from work. For another, any unwanted physical contact in the state of Florida goes by the quaint term "battery."

But back to this column, I especially appreciate the part where you stressed birth control and pointed out that the child in question is off to a flying start to become a young thug. He just made a miniature person, and all he cares about is getting laid? You'd think the financial responsibilities alone would be something of a cold shower. But I bet he probably just thinks you're being a wet blanket. How dare you try to stifle his libido by hitting him in the face with reality?

Posted by: Patrick at January 20, 2006 6:48 AM

Wow! I hope that was as good for you as it was for me.

Goddess, may I link this please?

Posted by: Leland at January 20, 2006 5:04 PM

Please do! And thanks!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 20, 2006 5:37 PM

Great advice here! I just wish I would have been turned on to this column long ago, so that I could have shared it with a few folks I know. Unfortunately, far too many of my family members don't stop to think about these sort of consequences.

But on a positive note, you have again strengthened my husband and I's resolve to /not/ reproduce.

Posted by: Laken at January 21, 2006 7:11 AM

Heh heh...thanks. If you're so inclined, you might write your local paper and ask them to pick up my column.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 21, 2006 7:42 AM

Nice hit with reality here. These are the exact reasons that I choose not to reproduce. Well, that and the fact that I'm pretty sure this world couldn't handle my offspring... And I know that I couldn't.

Posted by: Kaze at January 21, 2006 11:11 AM

You know, this probably isn't the most politically correct thing to say, but the best thing for this kid would be adoption. Mr. Friendly is NEVER going to be a good father and the mother doesn't seem to be thinking too clearly herself.

Have the kid. Find two adults who are ready to be responsible, loving parents. Move on with your life. That's my advice.

Posted by: Kevin_M at January 24, 2006 6:24 AM

What a shame that the girl referenced in this idiot's letter probably will never get a chance to read this: Try to call your folks for some help, get an attorney and dump this guy (after he begins to help you financially pay for the little mistake) and get on with your life. You will be so much better off. When you realize you can be a successful single mom (there are lots of them out there, so it can be done)then look for a man to have some fun with, not lean on. If all that is too much, I agree with Kevin, give the kid up for adoption.

Posted by: Jim_M at January 24, 2006 8:08 AM

What was the Plan again? "Lets just fuck and see what happens'" Yeah you wonder somtimes if people aint just animals within an intellectual disguise. Like dogs suddenly endowed with intellects, and so we begin to include children in our manipulations.
Both of these folks act like victims. My heart goes out to all three, just plan in a rubber next time, if you really dont want a kid.

Posted by: Mark O. at January 24, 2006 5:21 PM

No Kevin, the non-PC to say is "FREE ABORTIONS FOR EVERYONE!!!!"

Adoption is perfectly PC.

Posted by: may at January 24, 2006 10:06 PM

Hey Ankle Bites - so you're living with the mom-to-be until the baby issues calm down? Well, if you're really determined to move on with your life and become a single-with-obligations dude, it's definitely easier to move out on a fetus than to walk out on a baby, toddler, or an innocent child that will miss your presence. Also, every day that you spend living with the incubator is going to reinforce her delusions that deep down, past all your outward denials, you really want a family-style life with her. Pull up your big boy britches and move out!

I'm with ya, Kevin. What is so freakin' taboo with suggesting adoption over being a single mom?? It's completely selfish to assume that no one will love and care for that baby more than the birth mom who just had a "whoopsie ooopsie I'm preggo" moment. Oh no. I'm sure they keep their babies because our culture reinforces that "you GO girl!" attitude in which chicks can do anything in the whole wide world, including raising bastard kids without the threat of running their lives into the ground.

And of course combine that illusion with being generally clueless about long-term consequences of decisions (she DID get preggers...oh my and how did that happen!) and a belief that there'll always be someone or some system to come help them when times are tough (like when they have to do their own pedicures) well then I'm just sooo sure that baby will be just fine. Fine and dandy.

Posted by: Kerry T at March 31, 2006 2:20 PM

One thing Reality Ankle Bites seems to have forgotten: When there's a kid involved, it's not about you anymore...and won't be again, until that kid is at least 18 and ready to make his own way in the world. Guys like this are one of so many reasons my wife and I have chosen not to reproduce. $10 or so for a box of condoms is way cheaper than the thousands you'll be shelling out for diapers, formula, baby clothes, and all the stuff after that...yeah, even the bail bonds when the kid winds up in jail for dealing drugs to his high school (or junior high) classmates. In that respect, having a kid is just like going to jail--if you can't do the time, then don't commit the crime.

Posted by: Bill at April 14, 2006 9:10 PM

I just wanted to say that although it is ok to suggest adoption what is NOT ok is to suggest that the mother is not stable. You do not know that. She may be emotional right now but it does come with the territory, pregnancy. This guys story does not say if she is financially stable, or not, to take care of a child...although he said he was living with her which says to me SHE had her OWN place and that he did not. If he has no intention of being in a family relationship he SHOULD leave before the chils is born. Having had 2 kids and leaving my ex-hubby, I know how emotional a child can get if one parent is not there properly for a child. These parents need to do the RIGHT thing for the child, not themselves.

Posted by: Lori at December 26, 2006 12:45 PM

Amy rocks - she's my new best friend. Anyway - i got pregnant when I was 19. Although I believe in abortion, I didn't want to do that myself. I gave my baby up for adoption. Actually, being a young and very stupid person - I had another one 2 years later and gave that one to the same family. I wasn't really doing anything else anyway .
the thing is, it's now 20 years later and I get to meet both of them this summer!! I have not regretted my decision. ever. i could never have given them the life they needed. There is such a thing as a private adoption and you get to pick the parents. Very nifty for the dumbass girls who get knocked up and think they gave give that baby a normal life. Because i am a proud parent: my daughter is Miss Northern California, by the way. And my son works for his (adoptive) dad in their construction business. I rock.

Posted by: Michell at May 1, 2007 10:09 AM

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