Liz Jones has written another of her confessional columns for the Daily Mail. This time it's about her attempts to become a mother by stealing the sperm of her partners. She begins by reminding us of the ridiculous modern girl life script that she and too many other Western women have bought into:
...for most of my adult life, having a child was the furthest thing from my mind.
I wanted a career, freedom, a nice house and to keep my figure. As a feminist, I looked down on mumsy types.
But when I was in my late 30s, I decided that if I didn’t get pregnant soon then it might never happen. I had also reached a point in my life where I wanted to settle down with a man, and though my boyfriend at that time was wildly unsuitable, I thought that I could change him.
Yes, it's the modern girl jackpot. She wanted to be the autonomous career girl type and she spent her fertile years looking down on motherhood and dating unsuitable men. But in her late 30s, at the very, very last moment she suddenly decided it was time to settle down.
She's not exactly alone in having pursued this life course. It's part of the cultural message being promoted to Western women. For instance, there's a hit romantic comedy film out called Bridesmaids. The "heroine" of this film is part of a player guy harem; she sticks with him because she thinks he's hot. But in her late 30s she finally sees through him and starts to consider an average joe type. That's modern "romance" for you - the heroines are ageing women who get rescued at the very last moment by a decent guy.
But there was to be no such romcom ending for Liz Jones. Her "wildly unsuitable" boyfriend didn't want children. So Liz Jones took matters into her own hands:
He refused to believe I was on the Pill, and insisted we use a condom for every moment of our intimate contact.
‘I don’t trust you,’ he said, muttering something about women claiming to want a career, but underneath wanting to start a family.
I called his bluff and told him there was no way I would want a baby with him, given he didn’t earn any money. Yet the truth was, I had hatched a plan that many will doubtless find shocking.
Because he wouldn’t give me what I wanted, I decided to steal it from him. I resolved to steal his sperm from him in the middle of the night. I thought it was my right, given that he was living with me and I had bought him many, many M&S ready meals.
The ‘theft’ itself was alarmingly easy to carry out. One night, after sex, I took the used condom and, in the privacy of the bathroom, I did what I had to do. Bingo.
I don’t understand why more men aren’t wise to this risk — maybe sex addles their brain. So let me offer a warning to men wishing to avoid any chance of unwanted fatherhood: if a woman disappears to the loo immediately after sex, I suggest you find out exactly what she is up to.
As it turned out, my attempts to get pregnant by Trevor failed, and shortly afterwards he and I split up.
It would be a lot nicer, you would think, for Liz Jones to have gone about things the traditional way, i.e. learn to be attractively feminine in her early 20s, reward a family oriented man with her affections, get married and have a committed and enthusiastic husband to raise a family with together. Surely that's a better outcome than having to scheme to steal the sperm from an unwilling boyfriend.
Liz Jones did marry her next boyfriend, but again he was wildly unsuitable. He was 14 years younger and unwilling to commit to children. So she stole his sperm too but again without successfully becoming pregnant. She's now in her 50s, divorced and childless.
The moral of the story is that women should ignore the cultural messages encouraging them to endlessly delay family formation. Would you really want to end up in Liz Jones's situation? Wouldn't that be crushingly humiliating?
Men, too, need to consider the timing of family formation. Liz Jones relates in her column that,
I spoke to several men before writing this article. One, in his mid-30s, has just got engaged to a woman who is 39. He told me he is not yet thinking about starting a family, as he is self-employed and worried about the recession. They also live 45 miles apart, each in their own flat.
He told me he wants to wait until they have a house together, and for his business to become established.
I bet his fiancée will be pregnant within the year.
That man hasn't thought things through. If he really does want a family it would have been prudent to marry a younger woman. But if he is committed to marrying a 39-year-old then the time to try for a family is straight away. It's not sensible for him to say he "is not yet thinking" about family.