One Man's Mindset

Living along the U.S. East Coast, one man writes about those beliefs, hobbies and ideas that mean to most to him. This is not a daily blog - new posts usually only appear when inspiration hits.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Single + Childfree = Still Normal

Just because I’m single at 38 doesn’t mean I’m weird. True, I don’t want to be single forever – I would like to share my life with a great woman and be a family of two…or possibly more if we get pets – but in the meantime I’m doing just fine as is. I have a job, I go out with friends, engage in hobbies, and basically function in society just like any married couple, except that I’m one person.

I’ve been relatively lucky in that I don’t hear much negativity from others when marriage or children comes up in conversation. However, I have recently made a point of watching the other person’s reactions when they learn that I’m still single and in my 30s, especially if I’m talking to a stranger. (Many of my friends, I’m happy to report, are quite open-minded about my singleness and, for those who know about it, my decision to be childfree.)

Tunnel Ahead

Here’s the funny part: Now and then I’ll get a badly hidden smirk from someone I just met. If s/he’s one of the societal “sheep” and believes the incessant, narrow-minded assumption (usually from the media and most industries) that life is always about families, then I have to assume that the smirk is silently telling me, “You’re 38 and not in a relationship? Geeze, you must be pretty bad at finding women / hooking up / relationships!” (Then there’s always, “You’re probably a swinger or a hipster-doofus like Kramer!” but I really don’t think I’m that bad.)

Any way you slice it, it shouldn’t really matter. Their reaction should not matter to me, and certainly my situation should not matter to them. I’m not Kramer, and I’m definitely not a swinger, but I’d also like to point out that “single” does not automatically equal “sexual/social incompetence,” m’kay? Not all of us singles are “40-year-old virgin” types. It is not for anyone else to judge why we are outside of the alleged “social norm”, especially when it concerns our personal lives.

Men at Work

I’m willing to bet that there are almost as many single men as there are single women who end up remaining single longer than most, not because of any great urge to go through life alone, but because they opted to not have kids. It’s true that some people don’t want to get married or be in a relationship, and if that suits them, fine. But me? Even though I am well aware that my childfree decision places me in the minority, I’m still searching, still firm in the belief that one day I’ll meet and fall madly for an educated, insightful, healthy, fun-loving, sensual, green-eyed, wonderful, childfree woman, and she’ll feel the same about me. (Okay, I’ll let the green eyes go, but you get my point.)

We’ll be able to sleep in on weekends; we’ll have time during the week for the occasional four-star dinner, concert, movie, or even a quiet night at home; we’ll have the energy for a mountain hike or beach weekend or a trip to a Broadway show; but most importantly, my lovely future wife will not give one iota about the “beauty of pregnancy” or the rigors of childbirth, and she won’t need to produce her own children to feel complete.


Another important point that I was recently reminded of is this: If, after all of your searching and dating, you do find another childfree someone who shows great “spouse potential”, please remember that your childfreedom is only one aspect of your life that you have in common. Life-changing though it is, being childfree does not guarantee that you will both agree on everything, as much as you’d really like it to. Be smart. (i.e. If I met a great woman who was well-traveled, musical, highly educated and looks fantastic – but smokes – I’d have to think twice, or at least ask her if she plans on quitting any time soon.)

Hmm…I guess it all depends on your priorities.


I know you’re out there, my fellow childfree singles, and if you’re searching for someone to share your great life with, don’t give up! I know how you feel. Let’s find each other already and show the world that childfree couples and singles can donate to the betterment of global issues and enjoy life just as much as any parent, if not more so. Never forget that we’re normal like everyone else!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Purple Men

I've recently been introduced to the group known as Purple Women, which I believe denotes women who do not have children, whether by choice or otherwise. This introduction was made after meeting and becoming friends with Teri, the founder. She and I are both part of a larger organization called No Kidding!, an international club for couples and singles who, for whatever reason, do not have kids.

Okay, enough background using shameless plugs - let's get to the meat of this blog.

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 & 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 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 Women out there. (Actually, if "Men are from Mars" as the famous book states, wouldn't that make us green?)

Until Next Time...

Monday, February 20, 2006

No Children? No Problem!

Hello All!

Well, here I am trying out my first public blog. I've seen other posts on maybe a dozen other blog sites and, after wrestling with the idea, have decided to try my hand here. I've found most bloggers to be a pretty hardy bunch, so if you consider my first subject to be too controversial or somehow offensive, feel free to move on to another author.

Now, let's see...

Personally, I'm doing okay with my single life, but would really like to be able to share it with my future wife, whomever that may be. However, I've endured many days when one decision can turn into a seemingly monstrous roadblock on the path to Shangri-la. What was my decision?

I do not wish to have children. Yes, I can hear it now...
"Awww, you poor thing!"
"You’re a monster!"
"What’s wrong with you?"
"Why do you hate children?"

I've actually heard similar phrases, but have also seen it in some people's eyes and body language. Now before you start typing some choice words in a return post, let me just say that I do not hate children – in fact I get along with quite a number of them. I simply choose not to have the parent lifestyle. I have other priorities and it just isn't for me. (And we've all seen instances showing why some people shouldn't become parents, yes?) I know, I know – I've heard lots of great stories about parenting and I wholeheartedly applaud those of you who undertake that noble life choice. But me? I have a job and outside of that, I'm a writer and musician (two very fulfilling activities), so there are plenty of other ways I can leave a positive mark on society and still:
1) get decent sleep
2) be financially comfortable
3) not have to deal with a gazillion after-school activities
4) not have to worry about where someone is late at night
5) have time to myself (which I believe everyone truly needs)

I am not saying that parents can't achieve all these things as well. I know quite a few parents who schedule some "me time" or "us time" during their week, or maybe they are financially comfortable enough to go to Disney World with the twins and not worry about the credit card bills later. There are all sorts of families and all kinds of situations out there, but it seems to me that they have a much tougher time, in general. That is their choice, and this is mine.

Okay. Here's the crux, then I'll shut up:

Q1) Where are all the other single, child-free (or "child-less", if you prefer) people? How many of us are really out there? How active are you in looking for your future "other half"? Some of you readers may now be thinking: "He's writing this just to get a date! What an idiot!" Well, as I mentioned near the top, yes, it would be great to find someone. However, this is not some strange, self-induced pity party: These thoughts and questions are intended to bring together a collection of world-wide views on the subject – basic research. I would really like to help others who've made the child-free decision, not just myself. I'm especially keen on those opinions from around the cosmopolitan mixing-bowl known as Washington, D.C. (or other world-centers like London, Tokyo, New York, etc.), but all global replies are welcomed.
A1) In an attempt to prove that I've done at least a little homework on the subject, I'll partially answer my own question. I am a member of the world-wide child-free group "No Kidding!". They have a growing membership with chapters scattered across the world, and I've met some great people (single and married), but I still can not help wondering what the general populace is thinking.

Q2) For my brethren child-free people out there (Please note that there is a difference between "not wanting" children and "unable to have" children. I am focusing on the "not wanting" people here.): How and when did you come about the decision? If you're one half of a couple, at what point in your courtship did you find out that neither of you wanted children? How important was that in any long-range plans?
A2) I do not have my own answer, as this is purely a poll-type of question. I will say, though, that I am dismayed by the number of people who either don't plan ahead, or are too lazy to use protection. There's a reason it's called "Planned Parenthood".

At this point, I expect that some of you parents out there may be thinking about writing back and expounding on the joys of rearing a child. I've heard it all from friends and relatives. Some of you might even be tempted to "open my eyes" to your religion's teachings regarding children, but I am not religious. I know you mean well and I don't mean to offend, but please keep your mini-crusade to yourself. If you write anyway, I will probably not respond. Thanks.

All (secular-based) responsible replies are more than welcomed – I'm looking forward to reading your posts and possibly chatting with you!