July 20, 2006

Purple Minds Think Alike

by Guest Contributor
CarpeWritem (a.k.a. Man in Black)

As most of us know, choosing to go through life without raising children is not what most people expect or even want to learn about their friends, family or neighbors. Although the concept is becoming more popular, those of us who've made that decision are still well inside the minority circle. We're aware of that.

Women obviously make up a vast majority of those who are preyed upon because of their decision. They hear it from family and friends usually, but sometimes even total strangers get in a dig. It's frustrating (especially to those unattached singles who have no one to fall back on and commiserate with – trust me, I know), but...

to those ladies who stand behind their decision with a tactful, non-threatening reply and a winning smile: you go, girl!

That's exactly the right thing to do, in my humble opinion. And if they've caught you on one of those "get me out of here before I beat the crap out of this idiot" days, well, a good zinger sometimes does the trick.

The feedback from my first blog post is starting to tell me something. The comments from those who answered (I love the entire Cooper-load of 'em) makes me wonder why men are almost never challenged on the childfree idea. I stress the word "almost", here - it does happen, just not as often as you would think.

Naturally, we don't have to deal with pregnancy, childbirth and the associated events (and I'm not even going to attempt to go down that road), but aside from that, aren't all the other reasons for choosing "childfreedom" the same? Members of both sexes do not want kids because they: enjoy sleep, would rather spend their money elsewhere, have other ways of bettering society, don't like messes...pick a reason.

Now, I'm not saying that all articles written on being childfree focus solely on women. I've seen plenty of men interviewed. And the last thing I want is to drive a wedge between the sexes – there's enough of that already. I'm merely wondering why more childfree men don't speak up about their decision.

Are we inherently lazier than women? Do we not like the limelight and stay in the shadows to avoid ruining "a good thing"? Do the single guys simply want more chances to get laid? Does the press not care as much because we're men? The list goes on...I'll leave you with this:

Kudos to the men and women who stick up for their decision to be childfree. Not everyone does, and not everyone has to. It's okay if you don't, but my guess is that there are probably just as many Purple Men as there are Purple WomenTM out there. (Actually, if "Men are from Mars" as the famous book states, wouldn't that make us green?)

Until Next Time...

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Elise said...

Hey MIB,

What a great post. Thank you so much for lendng a y-chromosome point of view!

Keep on keeping on,


Braedy Tritthart said...

I totally support what you are trying to say here.

I personally am tired of going to family gatherings and being hassled by the aunts, uncles, and grandparents who continue to ask that lovely question, "So, when are you going to find a nice woman, settle down, and start a family?"

Get over it! I love being a bachelor, and the two nephews I have are enough parenting for me.


CarpeWritem said...

Thanks, Elise and braedyt. Although I'm sure the male point of view on being CF will probably never be covered (by the media) as much as the female p.o.v., many men do think about it and have already made their decision. We're all in this together.


LauraS said...

I've interviewed dozens of childree men for my book and documentary and that has lead me to the conclusion the the only reason men don't talk much about their childfree status is that very few people ask them or challenge them about it. I come to an interview with two pages of questions and I have found men have lots to say on the subject.
Thanks for your contribution!!!

Robin said...

Great post! I think in society men are just assumed to not be ready to be a parent until the "right woman" comes along. That's my guess. Guys are considered immature and a bachelor until they get married. Not until then are they expected to start having babies and even if they still say they don't want them people understand. Now if you are a woman...with a uterus...they think genetically you should want children.

ChrisR said...

"the the only reason men don't talk much about their childfree status is that very few people ask them or challenge them about it"

Laura, you're exactly right. There's still a bit of the attitude that men aren't 'really' interested in children and they either get conned into or just go along with it.

As Robin says, the uterus is supposed to trump the brain and force us to have kids.

So there's a lot of assumptions lined up against the childfree woman the men maybe to have to contend with less.

CarpeWritem said...

Laura: You're welcome. You've pretty much stated my message in a nutshell.

Robin: Thanks. I think society has come a long way, but there are some days that make me think that the crusades are still going on, in their own unique way. People must learn that "Batchlor" does not always equal "immature", just like "Woman" does not always equal "Mother". Having a kid is definitely not the only way for a man to learn responsibility.

Chris: Brain? What brain? Society says that since I'm a man I automatically think with something else...and I thought I was ahead of the game. :-)

Anonymous said...

I am very happily married to a man who is - even MORE oddly!! - a child-free MUSLIM!! People around us are starting to have babies now, a couple who live close to us that we hang with, his brother & his wife, another of his friends. Initially he was a fence-sitter, happy with kids or without. And we have talked about this LOADS! But to be honest with ya? There have been rare times when we have been on one income and we have found it HARD! And we LOVE it when we have TWO! And he is quite a tidy, clean person, even more than me and I think he'd find a baby's messes difficult! Plus after a hard day's work (as a carpenter) he loves to chill out in front of the TV watching football and I am sure a screaming baby would make that more tricky! We love to cuddle and chat and again kids can take away from couples time. We are free to go out with friends - alone or together - and to go out together spontaneously. And we LOVE to travel!! We have a LOT more travel planned. Plus we want to buy a house, or two! in the near future! SO! There are some great reasons for us to be child-free. Plus while we totally respect & honour each others different spiritual and religious beliefs, I think it would be harder to do that in a way with a child/ren, would we feel we had to try to persuade them along a certain path? E.g. would he want them to be raised Muslim? Would I want them NOT to? I think I'd like the child to choose their OWN beliefs and us just to teach them core agreed values, e.g. being drug-free. But that gives them less to rebell against and we could still end up with kids who liked to experiment with drugs etc. esp. knowing mummy & daddy didn't like it and wanting to piss off mummy & daddy! Anyway, enough from me! Great to hear a guy's perspective!!!

CarpeWritem said...


Thanks for the great comments! Your words just prove again that there are tons of good, personal, non-threatening, socially viable reasons that individuals and couples do not have children.

Congrats to you and your man for making the decision. Enjoy the childfree travel!


armedwithjello said...

I think perhaps men are challenged less for their decision because men can father children for their entire lifetimes, while women's fertility "expires" halfway through life. There's a pressure for a woman to hurry up and have babies before it's too late to change her mind.

I'm fortunate in that I haven't been challenged much about my decision, but then I cite reasons of bad genes and people back off. I expect I'll be challenged more in a few years, as right now I'm only 27 and still have a couple of decades of fertility left where people might expect me to change my mind.