|I have had one “surprise” party in my life, and it was a sweet little event thrown by the people who love me best; but, generally, I don’t like surprises. Especially in relationships. Maybe I have control issues, as some might charge, but I like to be as prepared as possible; I like to have a Plan B in mind, if not in place. That is why I was so appalled, recently, to hear, third- or fourth-hand, that this perfectly nice sister, not too long married, is trying out baby names. Of course, there’s not a thing wrong with that – most women are genetically programmed to do such stuff – except for the fact that her man is sterile.|
Hey, if I can know that (however I might have come by the knowledge), don’t you think it’s information the feller ought to have shared with his wife? I can’t help wondering whether he’s planning to do what another man I knew, some time ago, did: Had his missus undergo all kinds of medical tests and procedures, being well aware, since his first marriage, that he was unable to father a child. Well, after years of feeling inadequate, his wife, inadvertently, discovered the truth and packed her suitcases and her Dr Spock library. But by the time she remarried, her child-bearing years, by and large, were behind her.
Now, as all my readers would know, I don’t believe people should go around confessing/admitting to a whole bunch of stuff that is neither here nor there. In many instances, the past tends only to muddy the present and blight the future, and no good is served by rehashing it. In fact, I would go as far as saying that unless there’s videotape to support some types of accusations, you would do yourselves a favour by adopting Shaggy’s position: “It wasn’t me.” But in situations like I mentioned above, where other people’s lives stand to be messed up by your sins of omission, come on, man: Lay your cards on the table, please!
I don’t know, for sure, but I believe the fellers in these two instances were simply trying to protect their egos – because the way Caribbean society is set up, a man is not only expected to procreate but is applauded for being profligate about it. Hence, men would rather bite their lips and watch their women shrivel as they “bear innocent blame” than admit, as their crass and cruel buddies might put it, that they’re only “firing blanks.” However, ego doesn’t always account for men’s dishonesty. Because there are also fellers who have a child somewhere, or a parcel of pickney, and who marry off some woman’s naive daughter, never telling her that she’s not only a bride but a stepmother at the same time. Now, what would account for that, other than plain liardness?
Oh, yeah: They’re scared, you say? They’re “afraid” that if they come clean before the woman has made the commitment, then she just might call the whole thing off; buy a plane ticket back to whence she might have come; and leave them holding only the baby-bag? Well, how do you think the sister feels; especially when she inherits some big, hard-stoned stepchildren who are nearly her age; or some little ones whose resentful mother(s) decide that “if he can afford to marry, then he can pay more child-support?” Isn’t that enough to terrify her? Isn’t that enough to make her run behind the father-giver and beg him: “Tek me back!?”
And what way is that to start a marriage, in any case, when what it demonstrates is that neither good communication nor trust is in place? Wouldn’t it be better, more considerate, for a man to put his woman in the picture and give her the choice of staying or going – especially since women, in my experience, tend to be quite “staying” beings? Think of the many sisters you know who have married or settled down with men who fathered a string-band before meeting them; and then think of the significantly lower number of men who, in turn, have done the same for women. I guess the playing field tends to be as uneven as it is because a woman, generally, has to “own” her children – unless, of course, she is an immigrant who considers it “prudent” to reveal her motherhood only after she has become a wife.
Listen: One of the most ironic, yet true, stories I ever heard is of a man who was taken to court for child support by his ex. He challenged the paternity of the children – six or seven of them – and was vindicated when it was proven they were not his. But he was chagrined when the judge ruled that, biological evidence notwithstanding, he still had to support them since he was the only father they had ever known. The man said, no, not he; the police would have to lock him up first. Know what happened? His second, current, wife found herself a job and paid the child-maintenance in order to keep her husband out of jail. That’s what!
You know, I cannot help wondering how the sterile feller would respond if his wife, a year or two down the road, calls him at work one day to say, “Good news, Honey! I’m pregnant!” Will he think of all the “strong back” beverages he’s quaffed and believe that a medical miracle has taken place? Or will he then come clean by asking ominously, “Pregnant for whom?” Will he have the nerve, the cojones, to be angry and feel deceived and order her to pack her bags and her bassinet? Or, more appropriately, will his ego kick in, again, and compel him to say, “Wow! That’s wonderful, Hon! I hope it’s a boy?”
… In that case, boy or girl, I would encourage the gentleman to name the baby “Junior.”