Dear E. Jean: I’m a 37-year-old man who loves women but who finds something wrong with every girl I date. She can be the most beautiful and accomplished woman in the world and I’ll manage to find something that annoys me. With one woman, I thought her gums were too big. Another woman, I didn’t like the noises she made when she slept. I know I’m an asshole and that these are just excuses. What I really fear is giving up my freedom.
Despite my being overly critical, I’ve had several enduring relationships. However, three years ago, I was a bastard and I left my bride-to-be the day before the wedding. She was a kind, generous, intelligent person—I’m not proud of myself—but I think I did the best thing for both of us.
You’ll be surprised, therefore, when you hear what I’m seeking advice about: I want to be a father. I’m doing well financially, have many close friends, live a vital, interesting life, and now want a child as much as anything I’ve ever wanted. I think I’ll be a good dad. I have a lot of love to offer and could give a child many benefits and advantages. What do you recommend? How should I go about it? —Ready for Fatherhood
Ready, you rogue: My man, I promise you, if you believe a big-gummed, snoring female will kill your freedom, you have no idea what you’re in for with a kid.
Ask your friends to drop their progeny at your house the next few Saturdays. Observe what happens to your freedom when one of the little buggers hides his plate of spaghetti in your shirt drawer. (Of course, if none of your friends trust you enough to leave their kids with you, you can forget the whole thing. If the people who know and love you believe you lack the stamina, judgment, honesty, patience, mercy, restraint, humor, unselfishness, and sheer balls required to merely watch their children, throw in the towel right now.)
If the kids are still alive after this experiment, you’ve passed the test. You may now consult with an attorney who specializes in adoption, reproductive law, and surrogacy. But as you go through the options with the attorney—international adoption, taking an older child with special needs, foster fatherhood, private adoption, or contracting with a woman to become pregnant with your semen and deliver your child—why not consider becoming a father the old-fashioned way? Why not cease being a persnickety asshole and fall for a woman who wants to have a baby, or even better, for a woman who already has a child? Give it a try. I wish you spectacular happiness!
This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.