Starbucks Shocker

I’ve talked about this a bit before but I’ve had a few more thoughts on the issue so now I’m going to put them all in blog form on the off-chance that some of those thoughts are worth the reading. Basically: my ovaries. Hello, you. See, it was quite funny for a while – in some ways it still is. Oh, haha, Jenny’s just seen a small child and she’s gone all crazy and gushing about it. To be honest it was quite amusing to me because obviously I’m not likely to have children of my own for at least another five years or so. There’s part of me that somehow believes I never will get married and have kids, just because I’ll never find someone who I love as much as they love me, or vice versa, I just believe it’s somehow never going to work out for me. I don’t know why I should think that but there you have it.

Anyway. I was in Starbucks the other day with some friends, M and H, who are a couple, P, a bachelor of 64 who was on the same MA as M and is now a good friend of his; and A, who I’m always talking about, who was, incidentally, suited and booted for the funeral later that day of his friend’s grandmother, may she rest in peace. We’re all in Starbucks with our coffees and mochas and hot chocolates, M soothing his hangover with fruit salad and water, me pigging out on crisps, sandwiches, syrup waffles and an apple fritter doughnut (it was just one of those days, I don’t know). And into the cafe arrive: five mothers, about seven children between the ages of about eighteen months and four-ish, buggies and bags and toys and coats and a lot of noise.

We carry on talking and actually at first H and I are OK. The group is directly behind H so she can’t really see them without turning round; I can see them over her head but currently I’m more interested in eating and a fairly absorbing discussion of something pretty surreal (yeah, you’d be scared if you spent any time with us as a group, things get a bit mental).

And then one of those children, small, curly headed, blond, just under two years, at a guess, starts crying. It’s probably partly the fact that I am twenty years old and a girl but hear a child crying and there is nothing you can do about your response, it’s completely preconscious, and it was all I could do not to get out of my seat and run to him and pick him up and try and make it all better. Just a completely emotional, hormonal lurch. H felt it too, I could see, and we were transfixed from then on in. She was constantly turning around and neither of us were particularly participating in the conversation any more as we literally just stared.

I wasn’t particularly thinking, ‘aww, that’s cute’ as two of them clumsily hugged one another, or marvelling at the way they play and how you can literally see the learning process going on, which is amazing really – oh! if I pull this cord the lamp switches on! and off again! And if I do it again…? it switches on! and off! and on!… – I was thinking all of these things, yes, but what I was mainly feeling is this irrepressible gut instinct about just how much I pray I have children myself one day. I’m not mad – obviously I don’t mean now (though jokingly I did ask A if he would be the sperm donor for my children) – but it’s not as if I have got any rational mental choice in the matter. Hormonally I am absolutely and completely cut out to be a mother, because that is my evolutionary role – to have children, and to teach and protect them until they can look after themselves.

Sometimes it amazes me that we think we’re all so clever – we build buildings higher than we can really imagine, we fly planes, we invent computers, the internet, solve the enigma code, know how to blow up our own planet, drive cars, play chess, write great literature, record history, the Bible, produce the most heartstoppingly beautiful music and paintings and sculptures, have conversation, complicated humour and wit, brew ale, set fire to things, cook food, ferment things to create whisky or wine or whatever. We have clothes, watches, make-up, houses, streets, a money economy where most of the money these days is in the form of imaginary numbers that get shifted about from computer to computer, transactions going on that sort of don’t really exist (you can see just how much I know about the economy…)ย  – and underneath all of this, all this intelligence and thought and beauty and might and power – we are just animals. We’ve just designed a hugely complicated system for satisfying basic animal needs for food, warmth, companionship, sex, having offspring. We are only a bunch of hairless apes with bad posture and 20/20 hindsight, and we only want these same basic things, on some level. We cannot escape the fact of our nature and in some ways why would we want to?

Think about it. You invite all your friends out for a sophisticated-sounding dinner party, when what you’re really saying is, come to my place where it is warm, look potentially sexually attractive, eat too much food and we’ll probably have lots of humorous but slightly coarse conversations and jokes all evening before finally going home and falling asleep. You go out to dance somewhere and it’s all just about the display. We may as well have bright green shimmering feathery tails like peacocks, we just happen to be a bit less elegant and (perhaps?) a bit less weird about sexual display but that’s all it is, posturing.

We are still animals, underneath it all. It doesn’t make the art or the philosophy or the science or the architecture or the other millions of amazing things we’ve done pointless, of course not, they add to our experience and appreciation of the world and they are great achievements, but we shouldn’t forget that we are basically apes who just happen to walk on their hind legs. That’s what I tell myself anyway, because otherwise there is no rational explanation for the complete hold small children have on me (no paedophilia jokes in the comments please, I might just cry…).



Filed under Family, Food, Friendship, Happenings, Introspection, Life, Sex, Society, Thoughts, Women, World

15 responses to “Starbucks Shocker

  1. Adam

    “no paedophilia jokes in the comments please”

    Well then I have nothing to contribute… I bid you Good Day….

  2. Kat

    I want to run away from the crying cos I only make it worse or hit the kid… I’m a bad person the maternal streak is far away and yet to come.

    And your not only one convinced you’ll never marry/have children cos you don’t think find someone worthy I often think that!

    On anothe rnote good lord woman you can eat ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. God, I hate the sound of small children crying. It’s designed by evolution to be the sound it’s hardest for me to bear, and I just react against the emotional manipulation of it.

    I think I’m still in the misanthropic stage.

  4. Jenny

    They’re not trying to be emotionally manipulative!! Gosh, you guys are older than me and you’re making me feel, like, old!!

    I suppose in some ways I can’t actually truly imagine myself being a mother and a wife and having kids. I can dream and fantasise about it but in some ways it seems about as likely as me going to the moon, which is a bit of a shame.

    If I carry on eating like this I guess I’m proabbly actually more likely to go to the moon than find someone who wants to marry me and have my kids…!!

    I shouldn’t post this late at night.


  5. If his nibs and I have kids, they’re going to be awesome. They’re going to be grammar fascists with a fascination with velvet, Toad of Toad Hall and the Canterville Ghost.

    Seriously. I understand where you’re coming from, but I would hate to define myself primarily by my relationships: someone else’s mother, someone else’s wife. I’d start beating the walls and screaming hey! I’m a person too! In my own right! You know I’d like children, most definitely, but I shall not be defined by my crotchfruit or elsewise breadwinner. I shall do it myself thank you. (Making you feel old, darling? You’re making me feel second-wave!)

    Adam. Well played.

    • Jenny

      I definitely want to be around to know your kids, they’d be amazing. And…crotchfruit?!! Did you come up with that?! I don’t feel like I would be defining myself by my relationships though; nor am I saying I wouldn’t also have a life of my own, merely that family is what I want most of all, and what Iost want to think back on with pride from my deathbed. Or something…! Xxx

  6. C R M

    “If his nibs and I have kids, theyโ€™re going to be awesome. Theyโ€™re going to be grammar fascists with a fascination with velvet, Toad of Toad Hall and the Canterville Ghost.”

    Fi, can I please, please, please PLEASE either adopt one of these wonders, be a godparent, babysit for you EVERY NIGHT or otherwise move in with you?! Those children sound amazing.

    Also, well done on the second wave thing ๐Ÿ˜›
    Hear, hear! Sez I.


  7. Actually, being fat is a much bigger barrier to going to the Moon than having kids.

    Every extra kilo that goes into space requires a massive amount more fuel. It’s a bit of a geometric series, because your extra mass needs more fuel, but then you’ve got more fuel to haul, which means you need more fuel… I cba to do actual calculations or look up the numbers, but it rapidly gets pretty painful and expensive.

    That means for the foreseeable future, you’re going to only get mass-efficient astronauts.

    However, you do get some hideously fat people with kids, so…

    (Sometimes I wish I could take things less literally)

  8. Jenny

    lol I meant I’ll be such a pie that no-one wants to marry me, but I did think that as I typed – if I’m fat i’m far less likely to make it as an astronaut because sending me into space will be significantly tougher.

    Anyway, I doubt I *would* get that fat. I’m way too much of a clothing nazi; if I ever get bigger than my so-far greatest weight ever, of last Easter (I think) I probably genuinely would have a nervous breakdown…

  9. Ah, kids, broody much?! ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. The sound of a child crying makes me want to cry and rip out my own ovaries.

    I just don’t get the whole ‘awww, cute, ittybitty BABIES’ thing.

    If you ask me, I think kittens are much cuter.

  11. There’s a certain joy when you hear your 22 month old nephew say ‘tractor’ for the first time. You can take the boy out of famerland but you can’t take famerland out of the boy ๐Ÿ˜€

    The joy of teaching is you can hand them back at the end of the day ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. I love how learning to blow up our own planet counts as one of the pinnacles of human achievement: and if I split the atom like _this_ bang goes our home and the only known harbour of life. Congratulations, have a prize!

    Needless to say, I don’t suffer from this affliction. I tend to just wish the child would shut up. After all, it is currently having the best time of it’s life. It can cry and instantly have the attention of a number of females, it doesn’t have to do anything but eat and sleep and play with light switches and dream of being superman. Unfortunately, the child has to grow up and become responsible. So I just get the urge to say “look mate, it aint that bad, ok?”.

    And to end I shall quote the matrix, specifically Mouse in the first one: “To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human”. What he means is, no matter how far we go and how advanced we get we’ll still be bound by the constraints of needing to eat, sleep. reproduce.

    And yes, I believe having watched the matrix I am a qualified philosopher. Just about everything you ever needed to know about philosophy is covered in that trilogy, down to the details such as bible-passage numbers as ship dates and the Nebuchadnezzar being a King in a bible story.

    Right, well, I’m awake and have 2+ hours before I can go to work so I’m going to read the rest of your blog…

  13. C R M

    my cousin used to say “abbidadence” instead of “ambulance”. It was sweet, but it never made me want to kidnap him.


  14. Jenny

    Then there really is something very wrong with one of us :P. I do’nt know, I didn’t feel like that then – after all he was about two and that would make me fifteen – but if some kid trotted out phrases like ‘abbidadence’ and ‘running! running! running!’ now, I would *actually* melt on the spot, straight through the floorboards, slosh, slosh, bye-bye Jenny.


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