Warning: this week is a biology lesson. Yep, you heard. I'm discussing that ultra-taboo subject of women and their fertility rates as they age. Don’t want to hear about biological urgency or time limits? Well, I don’t really want to discuss them in 2018, either, but a rather charming (please sense the sarcasm) date decided to raise said topic, and it’s rather ruffled my feathers.
It was a lunch date (we’d been hung out twice before), and he was an incredibly self-assured (I want to say arrogant, but I’ll be kind). He was also 33 (age doesn’t interest me, compatibility does, but it’s an important detail here).
After loudly ensuring that Café Bateel was definitely valid on The Entertainer discount app to a blushing waiter, he asked if I had a plan. “For the rest of the day?” I enquired innocently. “For your life, my dear.” He replied. “I am only getting better with age. I am becoming more sought after, due to financial income and being in the fortunate position to offer stability.” I swallowed a mouthful of avocado toast, and blinked.
“You, on the other hand,” he continued, “Have a ticking biological clock. If I were you, I would strongly consider your options when it comes to the rest of your life.” Now, I’m sure you’d like a moment to fume – I’ve exhausted my quota – but it doesn’t end there.
He added, “And I’m not long-term dating material. Trust me on this.”
I apologise, it does get worse. He was saying this all so very loudly. Call me a prude, or simply British, but I couldn’t bear a conversation filled with such outdated views in an audible range of other living, breathing humans. I wanted to say what I'm about to say, but I didn't. Instead, I moved conversation on to safer territory (how's the pasta?) and didn't cause a scene.
But I'm sorry to say, oh lovely other half in the baby-making equation, that your biological clock is also ‘ticking’. That's right, male fertility decreases with age too. It infuritates me that some men believe they have all the time in the world to have children, and women don't. Actually, they can’t keep putting off fatherhood without factoring in consequences - such as the child's health - of late conception. They also shouldn't presume that, after finally settling down, they can get a younger partner easily pregnant. Life doesn't work like that.
Furthermore, in today's age, there is no pregnancy cut-off. Instead, there are options compatible with modern-day life. So, whichever path you wish to take, I guarantee it won't be to a harbour where a man says you've 'missed the boat.'