I've got a beautiful little boy who turns 6 next week. I got him through rather unconventional means. Well actually, the means were fairly conventional -- sex in a traditional position, if memory serves -- but entirely accidental.
I had a one-night stand when I was 39, with a guy I'd met at a bar. Not my most ladylike act, and certainly not sensible, but I had been suffering from a case of prolonged unintentional celibacy, and the guy was just adorable.
No, I don't have any diseases, but thanks for your concern, which I'm sure will be expressed in the comments. I know it wasn't smart. What I didn't know was that my ancient ovaries were functioning better than I ever would have dreamed. When you're 39, you sort of assume pregnancy will involve a trip to the fertility doctor.
Instead, I got pregnant.
Feel free to call me slutty if you'd like, but don't ever use the term "sperm-jacker" to describe me, as a certain writer did on AskMen.com
. You might, as I did initially, wonder
what a sperm-jacker actually is.
AskMen defines it as a woman who comes to the end of her fertile years, panics and then goes trolling for sex partners while she's ovulating. The site even has a term for it -- "accidentally on purpose" pregnancies -- which happens to be the title of the memoir I wrote
about my pregnancy and unexpected motherhood. It was published in 2008.
I wrote it because I'm a writer, and this experience was the weirdest, most terrifying, but also the most amazing thing that ever happened to me. The book was about letting go of expectations; this was not a life I ever would have planned for myself.
It was also about developing this strong co-parenting relationship with my son's dad, who pretty much turned out to be a saint: even-tempered, sweet, kind and devoted to his child. He was 29 and unemployed when he got me pregnant. I had no money. He had even less. I wouldn't have pressured him to be involved, but since he said, from the get-go, that he wanted to be part of our child's life, I have worked very hard to make that possible.
CBS has turned the book into a sitcom
with the same name (it's been on Monday nights, but returns in late March with new episodes on Wednesday nights). Jenna Elfman plays "me," and it bears little resemblance to my real life. But the cast is so cute and funny that I don't care. Also, if I finally am able to buy a house for my little boy, as is my dream, it will be because of Jenna and the gang.
So in my mind, it's all worked out just about as well as a disastrous blunder ever can. My boy is just the nicest kid. I could ramble on about how he wakes up and says, "I love you, Mommy," first thing or how he murmurs, "You're so cute," when I'm putting him to bed. But then perhaps you would want to puke, and that's not the point of this piece.
The point is about re-directing the rising tide of bile in my gut over the piece of crap AskMen.com post headlined "Beware the Sperm-Jacker," written by Thomas Foley. Or, as I like to think of it AskJerkoffs.com.
Because here's how Foley's piece starts:
Unfortunately for us all, a threat has emerged that's not out to get your money, your freedom or your season tickets. Instead, this little menace has its eyes set on something else entirely: your sperm. It might be hard to believe, but a new book written by author Mary Pols suggests that an increasing number of women are resorting to rather desperate measures in order to get pregnant -- even if it's by a guy they've just met.
Clearly he has centered his entire thesis on a book he knows little about, a book he seems to thinks is a manual for stealing sperm. And a book he clearly didn't read. When he first wrote the piece, last year, I commented on their site, asking them to fix their mistakes, or at least read the freaking Amazon description of the book, which would take all of 10 seconds and make clear that my pregnancy was not intentional. Some of my friends commented too, bless them. But AskMen couldn't be bothered, and I guess they've repositioned this now aged post once again for the reading pleasure of sniveling little men out there who fear women are just out to steal their precious sperm.
First of all, I would like to point out to the actual sperm-jackers of the world -- of which I am not one -- that before you leave the bar, you should ask your intended sperm target if he reads AskMen. If he does, you don't want his sperm. You'll get a loutish kid who doesn't give a sh** about facts. And hates women. Which will really be a problem if you give birth to a boy. Instead of being like my boy, telling me how cute I am, he'd probably make announcements like "Mommy, you need a Brazilian."
Second of all, I would advise prospective sperm-jackers to rethink their goals. It is morally indefensible to intentionally sucker some guy into getting you pregnant. It's not good for him or you or, most importantly, your child. Try a sperm bank, beg a friend, do anything you can that's legal and responsible and that you can live with for the rest of your life. Sperm-jacking is wrong.
That said, I don't think for a second that it's actually a trend. Because I spent some time agonizing over Foley's column, I came to the conclusion that he associates me with the supposed sperm-jacking movement because of an article that came out in England last year. It was about sperm-jacking and the headline was, "Ugh, Accidentally on Purpose." I followed a link to it from Jezebel
, read it and blanched. My book was about to come out in Great Britain. I knew I might be associated with this supposed trend, and I was horrified at the thought.
Because, again, sperm-jacking is wrong. I realize I speak to you from the shaky moral ground of having had a one-night stand with a stranger who left the condom on the floor, but there is a big difference between being negligent (and horny) and being conniving. And having no regard for a man's rights -- a man's right to choose, you might even say.
I will speculate that that English piece came about because some editor knew someone who did it and sent a reporter to find two more people who had done it. Call some serious sources, cite some census statistics about unwed motherhood and voila, you've got a trend story everyone will be talking about. Because I've been a journalist for close to 20 years now, I can tell you, this is how most trend stories are born.
And what's the point of a trend story? Mostly to get everyone talking for a day or two. To make us care about "the human condition." To make us wonder, Is this what we've come to? Desperate women stalking good-looking men in bars, trying to suck their genetic material out of them?
I don't buy it. Maybe a few women here or there have done it. But bring your own condoms, boys, flush them down the toilet, and you ought to be safe from the grasping vaginas you fear so much.
Meanwhile, what's the fallout from a trend story? Someone like me gets tugged into a cesspool like AskAssholes.com, where no one gives a damn about the truth. I should step away from the whole argument. I should go fold my son's laundry. I should concentrate on making sure he treats women with respect instead of fear when he grows up. But the thing is, that's my name, associated with the sperm-jacking. And his name. And if you're a mother, you know exactly why that makes me so angry. If you're so inclined, maybe you could go on the AskMen site and give those jerks a piece of your mind. Maybe they'll take that piece down. Maybe they'll even apologize. That is, assuming their mothers taught them how.
Mary Pols reviews books and movies for Time magazine and is the author of "Accidentally on Purpose," her story of the one-night stand that changed her life. It has now been made into a TV series of the same name, starring Jenna Elfman, who is lovely, though she doesn't look much like her.
More Good Stuff on the Web:
What to do when your friends don't want you to date.
The Weirdest Sex Conventions, Ever
10 Outrageous Ways To Get Revenge on an Ex
I switched teams -- what it's like to be with a girl