Saturday, March 7, 2009

If not for women...

The planet’s burgeoning population is placing a strain on our natural resources, the environment, and the availability of good parking spaces. My wife has suggested a solution to this growing problem – temporarily transfer responsibility for pregnancy and childbirth… to men.

She says temporarily because she fears (with good reason, I think) that if men permanently assumed responsibility for birthing, the human population would decline at such an alarming rate as to force us to list our own species as threatened within months.

The raw truth is: Men can’t do it.

Man-pregnancy wouldn’t be a good idea for a number of reasons.

Imagine: Five guys sitting in the waiting area of a Jiffy Lube, when the technician walks in and tells one of them that he went 500 miles past his scheduled service. The hormonally charged customer starts to weep, openly and uncontrollably, and at least three of the others start bawling, too - I can’t even think about it.

Many of us would eventually suffer the symptoms of false labor - what are known as Braxton-Hicks contractions. Many women don’t even notice them. We men would notice them! We would experience a panic attack, race to the hospital, demand to be admitted for the remainder of the term, and let rip with an episode of hysterical wailing while being forcibly removed from the facility.

The sudden jump in babies being delivered en-route to the nearest delivery room would create additional cause for concern. This would be attributed to the fact that the only thing a man fears more than pain in his nether-region, is asking for directions!

Labor and Delivery? Forget it! Nausea and swelling would have sapped us of all but the will to survive months ago.

Admittedly, we men would shine in certain elements of the pregnancy experience. Take nesting for example – we’ve already demonstrated similar tendencies in the way we prepare a comfy place for our tools, our television, and our dog.

Then there’s the weight gain. As things stand now, we put the weight on right along with the women. The only difference between us and the ladies is they take the baby-weight off - we keep it on so we’ll be ready for their next pregnancy. We’re creatures of efficiency, you see.

And birth statistics? Men can remember detailed statistics of every sporting event from the past half-century, so recalling the newborn’s birth weight, length, APGAR score, clocked time in the 40 yard dash, and decibel level of that first squeal would be a breeze.

Naturally, our competitive tendencies would come into play and we would start to embellish the facts, making them more impressive with each telling, until delivery times would be whittled down to fewer than 20 minutes and the average reported birth weight would be 41 pounds.

And yes, the women would laugh at us. After centuries of ensuring the survival of our species they’ve earned the right – but since they laugh at us already, maybe it’s just as well if we leave things as nature intended. Please?

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