No she doesn’t have kids and she doesn’t appreciate your patronising comments, thank you very much
My sister has just given birth. I'm an auntie again! I'm also afraid that at all the get-togethers I'll be cast as the Patty to my sister's Marge.
When the womenfolk gather in the kitchen at parties, talking in hushed tones about the birth, I feel a little excluded. "You have NO idea", they'll say as they take another swig of Chardonnay. I did once stand on a piece of Lego in my stocking feet, so I do know something about pain.
I get the feeling that some people feel sorry for me; I'm 'the poor barren aunt'. They probably picture me kneeling down in my unfertile garden, in full 'Platoon Pose', clutching dead Basil and crying, "Why. Will. Nothing. Grow."
Being a lesbian and having kids are not mutually exclusive. Still many people, outside my North London bubble, don't entertain the thought that I could choose to have children. "You'll be next!", they say to my niece's other (straight) aunts as they shoot me a look that says, "You'll be lucky!"
"Wouldn't you have liked children?" others ask, past tense, as if I had to make a Sophie's choice between The Candy Bar and Motherhood. Do they really think I've given up my womb, letting it wither away like a dried porcini mushroom, in favour of 2 for 1 cocktails?
My mum will make well-meaning excuses on my behalf like, "She has her cats". She says it in such a serious tone, that it sounds less like domestic pet ownership, and more like a vocation. People probably think my girlfriend and I are the lesbian Siegfried & Roy.
One Christmas, my dad grabbed the Conran Turkey baster by the ball, and stole himself to ask, "Should I expect grandchildren?" Turned out he'd been reading The Daily Mail again. After a very pregnant pause he said, "Because it does happen, you know", before dropping the baster and mentally reaching for the mind bleach.
Some people, however, are interested in the 'ins and outs' of how my girlfriend and I would make a baby. They ambush me at the buffet for a blow-by-blow account. "But you can," nod, nod, "have children?", wink wink. To those people I just want to say, "Look buddy, we only just met. I'm not giving you the birds and the birds speech. Eat your quiche and use your imagination."
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