This is a bit of an odd Manuscript Monday, I’ll admit, but the post is a riff off part of the manuscript in which Kurt and I had some tough conversations on what life would be like without children. As it turns out, my husband is much more comfortable in a life without kids, whereas I had the more difficult time accepting and even embracing a childless life.
But since we moved to Africa, the question of children comes up more times than I can count. What’s considered impolite in many circles is a commonplace question we’ve received from both men and women here. And regardless of how casually I answer that we don’t have children and don’t intend to, the reactions lean toward that “end-of-the-world” mentality: how can we possibly endure a childless life? What other purpose could we (or, more importantly I, as the female) possibly have?
My favorite response so far has been from a friend from another African country, who explained to me that where he is from, Kurt would be required to get a new wife who would bear him children. Not suggested. Not recommended. Required. “You are lucky,” he said, “that you are not from my tribe.”
“I am lucky,” I replied, “because there are far easier reasons why Kurt might consider choosing a new wife.”
Reason #1: Marla is constantly taking awkward photos of Kurt and posting them online:
Reason #2: Poor Kurt. His errant wife writes about every blasted indecent and sensitive thing about her life and posts it on a blog, including such saucy selfies when writing about working out in Rock Star gutchies.
Reason #3: Marla refuses to discard said Rock Star gutchies and other similarly wretched skivvies, regardless of wear and tear, with alternating arguments of: “Every woman needs a couple good pairs of granny panties!”; and “Someday I might learn to quilt and I want to incorporate this cool design into the edges.”
Reason #4: Kurt’s wife is terrible at the female “role” in marriage. She hates cooking and cleaning and anything expected out of domesticity. She would rather lift weights and chop wood and do the “men’s work” like taking out the garbage or sticking her hand in her waistband after dinner, Al Bundy style, and farting while watching the television. In short, she simply cannot be domesticated. She’s like one of those cows that you hear about escaping a truck on the way to the slaughterhouse. She doesn’t understand she was born to be a cow. Maybe she wanted to be a bull. Or maybe a dog.
Reason #5: Marla is friendly to a fault. She’s always making new friends with some unique characters outside Kurt’s normal social networks, or “adopting” adults she thinks she can help engage in a better, healthier, or more productive life, like this dude, John, she met whilst he was minding his own business, sitting in a shopping cart reading a newspaper.
Well, there you have it. Kurt’s reasons to leave have nothing to do with children. It’s those above five reasons he should have run for his life years ago. And yet, somehow he manages to stick around.
Happy Monday, friends. Whatever trials life gives you, I hope you have the fortune to marry your best friend and have the kind of relationship in which to pass your opinions, and your gas, with equal aplomb.