My adoptalogical clock is ticking.
And this is, understandably, a tad eerie. First, I didn’t even know I had one of those. In fact, I’m still not exactly sure what it is, or where it’s located. Second, I’m turning 22 in less than a month.
My parents were married at 22, just out of college. My brother got married almost exactly a year ago. He was 22. My sister-in-law is now the same age that my mother was when she gave birth to my brother. So my sister-in-law decided to give birth at that age, too. I have a niece.
And as soon as my niece laid those big almond eyes on me, giggled and vomited all over my new Adidas sneakers, I was in love. And deep down, somewhere in my gut, resonating through the nucleus of each and every cell, my DNA started quivering, calling out to me. And the quivering became a time signature, ticking away to the tune of a nursery rhyme lullaby. Probably a really gay lullaby, written by George Michael, but the rhythm is unmistakable. My brother has a baby, and I want one too.
I know, I know, it’s a little bit impractical and a whole lot crazy. At this stage in my life I am definitely not parent potential:
I’ve changed a diaper once, and the thing ended upside down, inside out, and on the wrong baby.
I can’t seem to produce milk on my own, much as I might try, dry as my cereal may be: Male lactation seems to be a myth.
Whenever I’m mixing the cocktails my friends and dates always end up passed out on my floor in the fetal position. I’d hate to think what my formula-mixing abilities might do to my baby. Although … asleep in the fetal position might be ideal. What’s the drinking age in Connecticut these days?
I agonize enough over every clothing purchase for my own wardrobe. And babies need a whole new set of garments every five minutes, as their Miracle-Gro ever-sprouting limbs thrust suddenly beyond the pant leg and shirt cuff, without rhyme, reason or respect for fashion. Baby Gap must mint money.
And they always get fat before they stretch. Their height-to-weight ratio fluctuates more often than Oprah’s, and without Matthew Perry’s diet pills. How am I supposed to keep up with my baby’s celebrity-style weight issues?
And I don’t plan on getting married anytime soon, unless I meet a nice man from Massachusetts (I am, in fact, on my way to Harvard for The Game as we speak). And a lot of my straight friends have told me that divorce is often a prerequisite for successful parenting in the modern age. I guess my parents are just old fashioned.
What if I end up with a girl? I don’t know how those creatures work.
What if I end up with a boy? I REALLY don’t know how those creatures work.
What if my baby turns out to be straight? Will I be man enough to cope with the tragedy?
Clearly I have some issues to work through before I even consider conceiving. Especially since I can’t. Biologically speaking, that is.
But pragmatics be damned, they’re so frigging cute. And if you manage to make them smile, you feel like the Prince of Paternity. I’m already dreaming about our afternoon trips to Chinese school so she can learn her country’s language. And I’ll cook every imaginable derivation of lo mein (beef or shrimp), fried rice (chicken or house special) and sesame wontons in hot oil (the Ivy Noodle kind) so that she doesn’t feel homesick for her country’s heritage.
And I’ll be helping to solve the population problem while I’m at it.
That is, if I do choose to adopt.
I’m going to have kids at some point, there’s no question about that. But my adoptalogical clock, unlike my libido, has heterosexual tendencies. My adoptalogical clock may in fact be more of a biological clock.
I’m a little jealous of my brother: I kind of want to impregnate someone. I mean, I don’t, actually. Because that would involve far more female than I’ll ever be comfortable with. And I don’t really want to deal with the bloating and the cramping and the cravings and the popped-out belly button (ewwwwwww). But I want to procreate. I want to pass along my genes. It’s a basic biological urge that refuses to respect my sexual orientation.
My brother and I have always been competitors, but he’s found a way to one-up me and maybe win the game. Unless I make a biological baby, his genes win, perpetuating into a whole gaggle of offspring and offspring of offspring.
Love makes a family and all that political BS, but genes make a legacy. I refuse to be a Darwinian failure: I think my genes are some of the freakin’ fittest and they deserve to survive. And if someone is going to make more little Callaghans, it might as well be me. Screw that, it should be me. My genes are better. Pbbbbblt. And as long as I don’t have more than 2.2 babies, I’m not contributing to the population problem, even if I’m not helping things.
But it does mean I will have to get a woman involved, even if I choose to never get involved with a woman. Until some scientist invents a disposable uterus, the other gender remains inextricable from procreative activity.
Rumor on Medline has it that some scientists are developing synthetic gamete technology, which means they could take a Callaghan stem cell and make it into an egg. Actually, let’s be honest, the other man’s gotta be the egg. But the bottom line is this: two men (or two women) could potentially have a baby with a combination of both their genes. It means those XX/XX lesbians could only have little XX girls, and XY/XY gay couples would have a 50 percent chance of having a boy, and a 25 percent chance of having a non-viable YY embryo. But it would mean we could biologically reproduce. The lesbians have got all the bases covered, but unfortunately we gay men are severely lacking in the uterine department.
As long as a doctor does the impregnating part, I’d be open to exploring a modern three-parent family, so long as my man and myself could make the baby out of our own genetic material.
I’ve asked a few of my female friends: “Would you have my baby?” And the standard response is, “Sure, when?”
Well, I turn 22 next month. That means we have 13 months to find me some viable husband material with a nice set of … genes. And those scientists have got 13 months to perfect their technology. And I’ve got 13 months to get rich enough to afford the procedure.
Not to mention getting rich enough to buy out the Baby Gap.
Ready. Set. Go.
Chad Callaghan is that tall, dark, handsome man in the Baby Gap.