Oh, Liz Jones. Thank you, Liz Jones. I was feeling sick, I was feeling tired. But you filled me with enough adrenaline-fuelled rage that I was dressed and doing the hoovering within an hour.
I have been known to perform think-by shootings on
Sadly, this is the Internet, and you can't 'accidentally' hop onto a blog when what you really wanted was to read the
The craving for a baby that drives women to the ultimate deception Not one woman, not just Liz Jones, no no. Women. Women plural. All of us. All of us do this. It's in the paper, it must be true.
Liz Jones makes her most shocking confession yetBy Liz Jones
Last updated at 10:43 AM on 3rd November 2011
Anyone who meets me, or reads what I write, would think I don’t like children and never wanted to be a mother. Indeed, for most of my adult life, having a child was the furthest thing from my mind.
I wanted a career, freedom, a nice house and to keep my figure. As a feminist, I looked down on mumsy types. This sentence first made me do this, and then, once I'd got the power of speech back, ended up repeating "You what? You what? You what?"for approximately half an hour. I have a lot to say about this last sentence, but to keep it short:
1) You sly old dog, Liz. You know that most people have stopped reading a newspaper article by the third paragraph, so you whack that in up here in the first. Because that's the image of feminism people will take away from this sentence - feminism is about women looking down on other women,
2) Mumsy types. Can you be a little bit more specific? If you write As a feminist, I looked down on mothers, you are writing off 80% of the adult female population, so that sentence had to go. So what is a mumsy type? What do you mean? Do you mean stay at home mothers? Do you feel they are shying away from 'real life' to hide behind crayons and play doh? That they're wasting their time? Or is it mothers working part time? Do you feel they have ridiculous expectations of themselves? Do you feel they're spreading themselves too thin, that they'll do a bad job at home and at work? Or how about mothers working full time? Bringing all that horrible information about children with them, and asking for sick days when their children have the lurgy? Because every woman who has children will read that and bristle that your 'mumsy type' applies to her, regardless of her situation. Because that is what that sentence does - it makes every mother who has the misapprehension that feminism is about hating men and being all po-faced about a career think that feminism is not for them.
But when I was in my late 30s, I decided that if I didn’t get pregnant soon then it might never happen. I had also reached a point in my life where I wanted to settle down with a man, and though my boyfriend at that time was wildly unsuitable,(so why were you going out with him?) I thought that I could change him.
Just in case you think you've read enough now, we're going to insert a soft-porny airbrushed photo of a woman with - bah-bah-baaahhhhh - short hair (she must be trying to be a man!) to distract you. He's kissing her neck, but she's looking at the camera! The harlot! She shuns his affection! Look at her, being all come-hithery at you! She's only with him so he'll pay for a better set of Acrylic nails for her!
|The look of cold dread you get when you realise the last nappy has been used and the shops are shut.|
Going behind his back: Would you go as far as Liz Jones did in an attempt to have a baby?
And yet I wanted to hang on to Trevor. I thought that if we split up I might not get a replacement boyfriend in time to use my rapidly dwindling egg supply. Get me a man! Any man! This baby business is limited edition! Better have one as not! Better to shackle yourself to some hideous no-hoper for the rest of your life and shoot your quality of life through the kneecaps! That's feminism, folks!
Trevor had never given me what I wanted from a relationship. At first, he wouldn’t even have sex with me. Ummm... ok. Because all 'real' men wander round with a horn the size of a prize cucumber 24/7. I loathe this pernicious myth that men are always 'up for' sex just as much as I loathe the flip side that no woman can really like sex, we're just all faking it, like porn stars. Except the fat girls, who are 'more grateful' and so 'make more of an effort'.Then, finally, when he moved into my flat (probably more out of a desire to be able to walk to work than any real love for me) we started a physical relationship. This is why you need real feminism, proper feminism. Women need to be imbued with a sense of self-respect to leave shoddy relationships. Better go alone that badly accompanied.
He was still very cautious, though. He refused to believe I was on the Pill, and insisted we use a condom for every moment of our intimate contact.
‘I don’t trust you,’ he said, muttering something about women claiming to want a career, but underneath wanting to start a family. And it was on this basis that you wanted to breed with this man? You want to perpetuate these genetics?
I called his bluff and told him there was no way I would want a baby with him, given he didn’t earn any money. Because if you had a baby you would be giving up your job? If he seems such an astonishing catch that you plan to breed with him, why don't you go to back to work after your maternity leave and leave the one who isn't earning money to look after the baby...? But of course, as a feminist, you would definitely be uncomfortable to challenge the male-breadwinner, female-homemaker paradigm, Yet the truth was, I had hatched a plan that many will doubtless find shocking.
Because he wouldn’t give me what I wanted, I decided to steal it from him. I resolved to steal his sperm from him in the middle of the night. I thought it was my right, given that he was living with me and I had bought him many, many M&S ready meals.
The ‘theft’ itself was alarmingly easy to carry out. One night, after sex, I took the used condom and, in the privacy of the bathroom, I did what I had to do. I've been to the privacy of the bathroom to do what I had to do many times, yet none of it has involved me furkling in the bin for a used condom. Bingo.
I don’t understand why more men aren’t wise to this risk — maybe sex addles their brain. So let me offer a warning to men wishing to avoid any chance of unwanted fatherhood: if a woman disappears to the loo immediately after sex, I suggest you find out exactly what she is up to. "What's that you said, darling? You want to come and watch me on the loo to check I'm not actually inserting the contents of your used condom up my flump? Why, come right in! Bring an armchair."
As it turned out, my attempts to get pregnant by Trevor failed, and shortly afterwards he and I split up.
But my dreams of motherhood persisted, and I resorted to similarly secretive methods to conceive in my next relationship. And given that I was in my early 40s by then, this was an even more urgent situation.
At least on this occasion we were married, which you might think would — should — give a woman every right to want to start a family. Yes, you do have a right to want, certainly. I have a right to want lots of things - a baby that sleeps through the night, for instance, or to enjoy the spectacle of a little manly wrestling between, say, Captain Jack Sparrow and The Dread Pirate Roberts, but I accept these things may not happen. That's called being a grown-up. But my husband was 14 years younger than me, and he had told me he was not ready for children. In fairness, this must be a hard thing, if you want kids and your partner isn't keen. But at least he'd been honest with her and told her he didn't want any.
Guilty secret: Liz Jones and her ex-husband Nirpal Singh Dhaliwal. They met when he was 26 and she was 37
But I didn’t listen. All I heard was my own ticking clock, not his reasonable desire to be allowed to grow up himself first. Because that's all women do - think about themselves.
Of course, not every woman in my position would resort to extreme measures. But I do believe that any man who moves in with a woman in her late 30s or early 40s should take it as read that she will want to use them to procreate good use of a formal word to remove any sense of emotion from the sentence and underline the essentially calculating nature of the single woman over 35!, by fair means or foul, no matter how much she protests otherwise. Liz Jones knows the motives of all women over the age of 35, and she has warned you! Now don't say you haven't been told.
Among my circle, many girlfriends have told me how they have tricked their boyfriend or fiancé or husband. One found herself childless in her 40s, so she lied to a very new boyfriend that she was on the Pill. He is now in a new relationship having to pay support for a child he never sees. A throw-away comment with massive connotations. Beware! All women are golddiggers! The only reason we spend any time with men is for their money! God forbid we should actually enjoy their company...
Another friend was engaged but her fiancé walked out on her. She is 39, and told me she was hoping she was pregnant ‘so he would have to come back’. Yet men remain in blissful ignorance of such tactics. Because, to paraphrase what the ChapDad said, that is some seriously messed messed up tomfoolery. As someone who currently enjoying a spot of therapy (not because I stole my husband's sperm, but to do with extended necessary medical interference with me post-childbirth. I finally stopped having to be interfered with by the time the Chap was eight months old, but that's a long time to enjoy regular impersonal furkling in your nether) I would recommend going and seeing someone about this. The implication is that men and women cannot sit down and have a grown up conversation about what they want from life - that women are always desperate for families and men are always running from them.
I spoke to several men before writing this article. One, in his mid-30s, has just got engaged to a woman who is 39. He told me he is not yet thinking about starting a family, as he is self-employed and worried about the recession. They also live 45 miles apart, each in their own flat. Which is set up as if this is something about which we should be shocked and appalled. But for two people who are going out to live 45 minutes apart in this day and age? It's not so shocking. When my husband and I started going out after meeting at a party, he lived in Lancaster and I in Aberystwyth - a fun year of 5 hour train journeys if we wanted to see each other.
He told me he wants to wait until they have a house together, and for his business to become established.
I bet his fiancée will be pregnant within the year. Citation needed! Spurious opinion! Based on the information, I bet his fiancee will be too busy going crazy over how much someone wants to charge for a bunch of flowers the moment the word 'wedding' pops gaily from her lips!
Home alone: Liz is resigned to her own childless state now she is in her 50s but thinks it would have been better to have been honest with her exes about her desire to be a mother
That’s why I believe men should be much more wary. I believe that this is unnecessary scaremongering.Too many of them underestimate women; too many of them muddle along, swept up in the beady-eyed focus of the prospective middle-aged mum. Subtext: men are really stupid.
And the lengths these women are willing to go to make my half-baked attempts seem amateur. One tells me she used secret hormone injections to make herself more fertile; another uses a clandestine ovulating chart kept in the tea towel drawer (a place she knows her husband never looks in). She needs to have a chat with my husband about this one...
I spoke to another friend over the summer who told me she was trying to get pregnant with her fiancé. She said: ‘I really want a year off work. I might even go part-time after that, maybe two days a week. He will just have to work harder.’
It reminded me of the time when I asked my now ex-husband whether he was dating again. ‘No, not really,’ he replied. ‘I don’t want to get some woman pregnant, find out she’s a cow, and spend the rest of my life shackled to her.’ Have we no control over our sexual destiny? Is communication this poor?
Women today are used to getting what they want; they believe that ‘having it all’ is their right, not a privilege. Women no longer think merely being ‘married’ to their work is in any way satisfactory. Life without a child is seen as a failure. And this is an idea we need to challenge. As Caitlin Moran says in How To Be a Woman, when sent to interview Kylie she was told to ask her if she wanted kids, yet no-one demands you to ask Marilyn Manson if he's been hanging round Jojomamanbebe, touching little booties and crying.
A friend in the U.S., who is six months pregnant, has just responded via email with her thoughts on the subject
‘Did you steal his sperm?’ I asked.
‘Not in the way you described, no, that’s disgusting. But I stopped taking the Pill, mainly because it was making me fat and moody.’
I didn’t reply that I wonder how her boyfriend will feel in a year’s time, when she is fatter and moodier. And there you are again, as a feminist, reducing a woman's value to her ability to be an angel in the home, looking lovely and with a charming temperament.No matter how urgent that yearning for a child, deception is surely no way to embark on parenthood.
We are always debating a woman’s right to her own body and her own destiny, but what about a man’s right to his body, and to his future?
If there are any men out there even contemplating getting close to a woman in her late 30s or early 40s, I suggest you tread very carefully. Even contemplating!
She might be the woman for you; she might be totally honest if she says she doesn’t want to rush into motherhood But she might also be a duplicitous creature willing to go to any lengths to fulfil her dreams of having a family.
And the subtext? Feminism doesn't work. Look at Liz Jones - she's a feminist, look she says so! She concentrated on her career and then suddenly realised that she'd been wrong all along, and then she went batguano crazy trying to get up the duff! Give up your arguments about equal pay or your desire to be judged on what you think, not how you look. Stop complaining that women over 50 are shunted off our TV screens while men wizen into walnuts of wisdom. Just be barefoot and pregnant and get back into the kitchen, bitch.
The other, deeply depressing thing about this article is that it implies that men and women are fundamentally unable to communicate, to behave like proper grown-ups over serious decisions like mortgages and marriage and children. How fundamentally miserable to live in a world where you can't speak to your partner. This is what feminism should be for - to give women the balls to say what they want, to have the self-confidence to speak clearly, concisely, eloquently about their desires. To negotiate. To have the confidence not to have children if they don't want to. To have the self-belief, if you do want children, to choose a man to be the father of your children, a man who you respect. A man who will pick you up as you lie sobbing on your bedroom floor at 4am after you have spent an hour breastfeeding your child, only for them to vomit the entire feed up and leave you irrationally crying "He didn't do this with formula, it's me, I'm poisoning him.". A man who you trust to think straight for you when you can't. Feminism taught me not to settle. Feminism is about choice. And articles like Ms Jones' undermine our rights as women to choose our lives.