Guest Author - Lori Bradley
The holiday season is coming up fast and it's almost time to buy new calendars. This season is stressful for many childfree couples and singles so I hope everyone is taking loving care of mind and body, and enjoying good friends and understanding family.
The New Year is a great time to do some housecleaning so here is a collection of year-end observations and notes I made for articles that haven't come to fruition but deserve to be addressed.
Childfree Dating Sites
I've had a couple of letters from people wanting information on dating sites designed specifically for childfree people. Indeed, these are hard to find and an opportunity exists for some enterprising person to develop a good one.
I did receive a link to a new CF dating site: www.idonotwantkids.com. It's very young and doesn't have many members but it's a step in the right direction. Increasing numbers of childfree people will drive demand for high-quality sites.
The I Don't Want Kids site is humorous and a little confrontational in tone. This might put some people off, especially those looking for a warm and fuzzy-feeling dating site like EHarmony.com. However, as kindly as EHarmony appears on the surface, their rejection process is harsh. In fact, it inspired Christopher Puzzele to develop idontwantkids.com.
Puzzele states on the main page,"Since people keep asking me, I do NOT recommend eHarmony for the childfree. Indeed, I have even been banned from eHarmony wherein I consider their matching system complete crap. Why? Simple. Here is an exact quote from an email eHarmony sent me which confirms they do NOT match childfree singles: "Currently, we do not have a specific setting that will match you only with members who have never had children or currently do not have children. [Incident: 090602-000610] Henry R., eHarmony Customer Care."
This is especially sad because with an additional question about childbearing preferences, EHarmony could be proactive in driving conversations about childfree choices early in the mating and dating process. Conversation, early and ongoing, seems especially important to me this year since two of my friends are finalizing divorces due to disagreements about having kids.
There are not young couples, but long-term partners. In both cases, upon approaching midlife, one partner panicked. I believe both couples made assumptions about their partners’ needs without really sitting down to discuss children, until the issue arose with such urgency that one had to break free in reaction.
Childfree dating sites enable conversation to occur at the outset of a relationship and long-term communication will surely be more frequent and open. If anyone is aware of other good childfree dating sites, please let me know so I can post them here.
Childfree People are not as "Pure" as Parents
During a particularly low-point in the media discussion about airport search tactics last month I heard an interesting interview with the mother of a baby who had undergone a "pat down" before her flight. She apparently was offending at "being groped" by security personnel and spoke indignantly to the reporter saying, "I can’t believe a mother, one of a young child, of all people, can be frisked in this demeaning manner."
My assumption on hearing this was that this woman thinks mothers are too pure to undergo an airport search in which private parts might be touched. Childfree folks are another story. Not having been anointed as near holy (by undertaking a sexual act that produced a child) we are more unaffected by being touched by strangers.
Angry commentary in our forums often indicates an attitude that parents are somehow sanctified through reproduction and therefore deserving of favors and exceptions that exclude the childfree. The airport interview was an especially absurd example – all mothers with small children should be exempted from airport searches that reveal the privates because they, being parented and pure, would never hide anything impure in those holy spaces?
This woman is another example of a truly self-centered parent. If moms with babies are allowed a pass at airport security it will be a certainly be a boon for anyone seeking to bypass the terrorist profiling system. But, who cares if the safety of hundreds of travelers is compromised? More important to this Madonna-mom is the respect she feels she deserves as a member of an exalted breeder-class.
Urban Open Space is for the Kids
Last month I wrote about a local issue - our little zoo is planning to expand into a historic, beloved and carefully landscaped park. The argument for and against is starting to divide along childfree vs. parent lines. In a recent editorial, a zoo board member urged residents to push for the zoo expansion because the zoo "really belongs to the kids."
The park/zoo issue is symptomatic of the current condition in this country by which children and their desires are considered far more important than those of adults. The people who have spent the least time on the planet, who have invested the least in their communities, are ordained by kid-obsessed adults to be the most deserving among us of favors - small and large.
Of course, the favors are mostly directed towards children of particular economic and ethnic backgrounds. The zoo board seems to feel that entertaining mostly suburban, white kids - whose parents can afford to drive them in and pay an entry fee - are more deserving of open space and exercise than the city kids who now enjoy the park for free. Also, the needs of older residents, those who walk the park daily for exercise and respite, are deemed by the zoo and city hall as less important than those of kids.
The fight for the park will continue into the New Year and beyond. The upside is that I enjoy community activism and I will make sure the voices of adults are heard in this issue. My wish for everyone on this forum is to keep up the good fight - use your voices to ensure that childfree people everywhere are not marginalized or denigrated, but are considered valuable members of the global community. Apply the time-honored adage of environmental activists: "act local, think global." And, enjoy a peaceful holiday season.