03 October 2013

Beds of Sin (ii)

[Fickle Ears makes its first and probably last foray into the issue of human reproduction, posted today in honor of the author's thirty-first birthday]

The only time I've ever heard the notion of population control raised matter-of-factly in conversation was, not surprisingly, among a group of gay men. Even so, I don't think it's possible to come live in Los Angeles from somewhere smaller (even if that somewhere gets called a "big" city) and not have the thought at least cross your mind. And if it is possible not to think that way, then you're free to judge me for having slipped into it anyway, but you won't stop me from thinking it.

Los Angeles is a place where a lot of people would like to live, or think they would. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so it's undoubtedly foolish to think about population control while you're stuck in traffic. If people here had fewer kids, more pasty-faced midwesterners like me would surely flood in, guns and sunscreen bottles blazing, to clog up the freeways again and pursue our acting careers. All of that aside, though, I am constantly reminded here, as I was when I worked at the MSP airport, how lightly people seem to take the notion of having children and how ill-prepared they truly are to handle it. I'm even learning that to be 30 (make that 31) and childless in L.A. arouses a certain amount of...suspicion in working class circles. Now isn't that a tad bit over the top?

As far beyond the pale as, say, a two-child policy might be in the U.S., I'm willing to say that simply leaving sociology and biology to their own devices strikes me personally as no more or less crazy at this point, not when people I work with during the day are heading off to second full-time jobs at night instead of sleeping just to feed their kids; not when we have millions of intelligent people out of work along with millions of underserved children, yet we cannot collectively seem to figure out a way to play those two problems off against each other; and not when children (let's not forget pets in this one, either) are more or less seen as material possessions even by some we would otherwise consider to be among the economically, physically, and socially fittest parents around.

It would be nice to think that simply winning the fight for reproductive rights and affordable health care would solve the problem. It certainly couldn't hurt. I submit to you, however, with all the empathy of a rock that this is a cultural issue as well, one that all the condoms in the world won't fix. So, sorry to be one of those people, but the whole thing just makes me cringe, and more so with each passing year, another of which, I'm reminded today, has just passed before my very eyes thanks to my parents' own one-child policy.

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