Friday, October 21, 2005

Parental conspiracy.

Being a parent is like being in a club. The members recognize each other, and they're comfortable talking with each other about this topic they have in common. Out in public with our newborn, I was stuck with how much other parents would talk with us. Sometimes we'd be recognized by our habitual rocking even when we didn't have our child with us.

Even non-parents recognize parents as safe. Anyone with a child in tow is not a mugger, not a stalker, not a psychopath. Parents can lack sanity, but not in a dangerous way. It's not universal, but people trust parents.

Now look at it backwards. People mistrust non-parents. There are a lot of people out there—parents, mostly—who would look at a childless parent-aged adult with some suspicion. What's wrong, they think, can't you have children?

Trusting parents is not the same as mistrusting non-parents, and they don't even have to go together. Still, I think they're both comfortable attitudes lingering today from decades ago when contraception meant rhythm and marriage meant children.
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