Personal Responsibility for Idiots


We’re going to try something new here on The Non Blogosphere. I’ m something of a fan of advice columnist Dan Savage. I tend to agree with him and his advice nine times out of ten. However, every so often I feel like he either misses something or is flat-out wrong. In any event, I’m not usually in the business of second-guessing the experts, but one recent letter really seems to demand a better answer — so I’m having a go at it. The letter in question comes from acronym-challenged “No Catchy Name Here” (NCNH) and goes through a bizarre tale of woe in which 1) he can no longer trust his wife, because she got pregnant against his wishes, although they seemed to be using no birth control other than the rhythm method (actual quote: “she lied about the time frame of ‘being safe'”), and 2) she “demanded” that he get a vasectomy afterward. Apparently this guy is having some post vasectomy-complications, which truly does suck, but mostly this is about his huge mad/sad feels about his wife — the phrase “which of course makes me hate her even more” actually makes an appearance. So with that in mind, it’s on those two points that I really feel the need to give my unsolicited second opinion, because that, my friends, is what the Internet is for.

So, here we go:

Dear No Catchy Name Here,

While I sympathize with the pain you’re going through post vasectomy, part of your letter left me confused. I wonder how your wife made you get a vasectomy. You say “she pretty much demanded it.” Is that the same as a regular demand or was it somehow different? You don’t say what part of the world you come from, NCNH. Maybe in your neck of the woods when a wife “pretty much demands” something there’s an inherent threat of physical violence. Maybe she works for a government agency that specializes in the sort of Black Ops that disappear people and then subject them to a hideous regime of torture. If that is indeed the case, you have my profound sympathy. However, it sounds to me that you’re just a punk-ass who’s blaming his wife for all of your troubles.

You being an autonomous individual, no one can make you do anything. Let alone force you to get a medical procedure. You say you only wanted one kid. You say your wife lied to you about the time frame of “being safe” which led to the birth of your second child. It seems to be that a vasectomy would be amongst the toolbox of options that a couple could avail themselves to avoid further fertility shenanigans. So that’s makes your whole she made me get clipped thing even more suspect. I’d advise you to look up a term known as personal responsibility and then try to apply it to your life. This will dovetail nicely with my next point.

You started your letter off talking about the lack of trust in your relationship. Chiefly this has to do with your wife supposedly lying to you about the time frame of when it was “safe” to have unprotected sex. Let’s leave aside the question of how you passed your junior high health classes without any sense of how absurd it is to trust in an absolutely 100% safe (i.e., no babies) time to have unprotected sex with a fertile/pre-menopausal woman — because if we go down that road, I might have to tell you some truly devastating news about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and I know you’re already upset. Still, as a fan of comic books, I really enjoyed the way your letter evokes a certain kind super-villain imagery. One imagines your wife sitting in a darkened room with her hands steepled together, waiting for the results of the pregnancy test she knew would be positive. Once her sycophantic assistant told her the results your wife slowly spun around in her chair with the most devilish of grins, and says, in a cloying-yet-menacing way, “All too easy.” Then she went back to building her orbital satellite with the laser pointed at the world.

It’s far more likely that you two fucked up the rhythm method. I say you two because you seem to lack appreciation for the fact that birth control isn’t only your wife’s issue. That being said, ovulation cycles can be a tricky thing which can affected by a host of different things like body weight, diet, if she were on certain kinds of drugs, or the stress of having an asshole for a husband. Seriously, “she lied to me about the window when we can fuck freely” (now paraphrasing) is not an appropriate reason to condemn your wife. Depending on the study, the rhythm method has something like a 25% failure rate. Pulling out at the last moment might give you better odds at avoiding pregnancy. Clearly, you should have consulted a professional to sit down with your wife and you and discuss options. If only there was an organization dedicated to helping people understand and access the full gamut of their reproductive choices. A place where folks could, I don’t know, plan their parenthood. Not to mention, there’s this thing called the Internet which you seem to have access to, since you emailed Dan Savage and also looked up the possible bad outcomes of a vasectomy. In addition to cute videos about sloths and a whole bunch of hardcore pornography, this Internet thing can also be quite useful for figuring out which contraceptive method is right for you and your partner.

So here’s what you do No Catchy Name Here: run-do-not-walk to a divorce lawyer. Your trust issues can be seen from space, and are likely noted as their own constellation even light years away by any sentient alien race with half-decent view of the sky. You have stated in a written letter to be published on the Internet that you “hate” your wife. I promise that your kids don’t need that kind of bullshit — particularly not the one you felt the need to go on public record saying you never ever wanted. And even if every single thing you’ve written is true and your wife is some kind of callous, baby-obsessed sociopath, I’m still not quite sure you should have ever been in this relationship in the first place if you just acquiesce to anything your partner demands. It’s a relationship, not a hostage negotiation.

Best case scenario is this relationship was over a long time ago. Particularly if you think your wife is actually a super-villain, filled with bad intentions toward your health and, bafflingly, concurrent sinister designs on populating the world with more of your children. As I before, I find that highly dubious. Especially with the way you casually throw blame around. It shows me that you’re completely unable to accept any sort of responsibility for your actions and choices. Not only is that bad for you, it’s horrible for your family. Dan Savage advised you to seek medical advice regarding the scrotal pain you’re experiencing. I’d make a slight addendum to that.

Talk to your doctor about being an asshole. He may be able to refer to a specialist about your condition.

The world doesn’t need another generation of entitled children who think no matter what they might have done, the consequences — to themselves and others — are certainly not their fault in any way. I’d further say that post-divorce you should wait a good long while before jumping back into the dating market again. You’ve clearly got some deep-rooted issues that smell like an awful lot like misogyny. You should work that out with a therapist before the MRA goons get hold of you and all hope is lost.

Good luck.

Categories: Dating? Yes Dating.

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Hmm.. Played with fire, got burned, now wants to take his balls and go home. Or not, as the case may be (seriously mixing my metaphors here). As someone with significant experience being an asshole devoid of trust for other human beings, I can say this man is plainly doing it wrong. You do not marry people you don’t trust. Failing this, which is a significant enough failure in the first place, you do not double up your risk by trusting junk science as well as this person you do not trust, as one is highly likely to fail by its nature and the other has great incentive to fail you by your nature. Figure your stuff out, NCNH, and should you decide to remarry, try to figure her out too before the sum total of the inevitable mistakes generated by the union of two humans ‘pretty much demand’ that you see her as a conniving baby-making back stabber.

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