Monday, September 11, 2006

Anyway You Want It

Now that my former classmates have a yahoo group devoted to them, I, as a member of the class of '86, am privy to any exchange between classmates until it gets personal enough for them to switch to individual e-mail accounts in lieu of addressing the entire group.
One member of our class is now part of a rock band. Though they might be great, you've never heard of them. This in and of itself I have no problem with. In editing her questionnaire response for our 20th class reunion, however, in the line where you would list you children (names and ages) she wrote "none, thank you." Now, I realize I'm a person who has children so maybe I'm taking it the wrong way, but frankly I thought that was rude and unnecessary. You don't have to dis someone else's choice, if it's not your own. Just leave the question blank.
So okay, fast forward two months. Now she's sending out group e-mails listing tour dates and encouraging "come check out our band if we swing thru your area."
We're lame for having kids but thankfully we're still good enough to "bring earplugs" and head over to O'Brien's in Allston.
Now there's at least three former classmates planning to hire babysitters so they can head out for an 11PM show and see a woman who, in my opinion, is making fun of their lifestyle choice, but as I've said, I'm probably taking it too personally, I am the person who held a grudge against classmates who couldn't seem to remember that my name ends with an "E" and not an "A."

artist: Anyway You Want It • artist: Journey


Anonymous said...

Dear Joanne,

I continue to enjoy your blog entries on a daily basis! I recently visited the classmates website and hesitantly entered my own info. (I say hesitantly because I really didn't think anyone cares to know where I am.) There are a couple that I keep in touch with, and a few more I'd like to, such as yourself. Anyway,
I didn't attend the recent reunion (didn't even know about it until last week). I don't know if I would've gone if I did. I do think I remember seeing that entry, just don't recall who it belonged to. Not that it matters, because I agree with you! I'm a Mom too but I don't think that makes a difference either way, it's still harsh. Some people! Sounds like sour grapes to me.
I know what you mean about the a and e thing, happens to me too...Laura (Laurie) Ugh! Hope that makes you feel a little better! I didn't know we had a yahoo group either (geez!) Feel free to write me Joanne... (


Anonymous said...

I disagree with your interpretations and that of your commenter.From someone who seems to be really open minded- letting their son wear their earrings etc.- I am surprised by your comments on this matter.

It sounds to me like the person was being very polite about their valid choice. Their is no judgement on anyone else's choice in their response. They even said Thank You! They have not said they hate kids or moms or anyone's "lifestyle" choice. On Myspace for example, lots of people say, "Love kids, but not for me." These responses seem to me to be quite honest and yet polite as well. If you read any sarcasm in their "thank you" or anything malevolent that is your own issue.

We should be in an age where everyones choices are accepted. Why should the person who HAS kids be allowed to answer the question in the affirmative when the person who does not ought to "leave the question blank???"

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that there is something to the "thank you" in your classmate's response. Whether it is sour grapes or a comment on your (mommy) lifestyle or something else is impossible to say. But as a single non-mom myself, I don't find it particularly surprising. We 38-year-olds are at an age where it's expected that we would have been married and had kids by now. Perhaps she doesn't want to have children, perhaps she did/does and it just hasn't worked out; in either case, maybe she's tired of being asked the (completely natural) question.
Maybe there should be a line on these questionnaires such as "Alternative lifestyle? Tell us all about it!"

Anonymous said...

while i'll admit that having children is quite popular- for example
1.) the National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as voluntarily childless (or childfree) was at 6.6 percent in 1995---
that's a pretty low %.

2.) A 2003 U.S. Census study found that a record number of women in the United States are childless; 44% of women in the age group 15-44 fit that category.

Why does society still consider the "norm" as having children? Not having children should not be labeled "alternative." We ought to simply accept a range of choices people make in life.

I even disagree that the question is "completely natural to ask." By that I mean that really just posing the question implies that one ought to even consider having children. If the person is against having children for whatever reasons, perhaps you may take some slight against your choice. However, others may never have even considered having children. Rarely is it not implied in the question itself that it is an expectd part of life to consider children.

Somehow, it is fine to make many choices in life and society has happily accepted gay couples adopting children; for some reason society can still not wrap it's brain around the fact that some people simply don't want children. For no greater reason than they don't want a particular car or meal for dinner. For those who have children, this sounds like a terrible comparison. In fact it is no more terrible than saying "no, thank you" to children. While you may somehow feel slighted, for them it is simply another choice.