By Evie Peck
When I was about 5 months pregnant I went to a friend’s dinner party. We met at a restaurant in Hollywood. I was through the morning sickness and the extreme exhaustion and was excited to go out. I hadn’t bought any maternity clothes yet. I was wearing a lot of my normal dresses and skirts. (Which, post-baby, I discovered were stretched out and no longer wearable, along with my ruined $20 per pair Hanky Panky thongs.)
There were a lot of people at the party I knew, and a few I didn’t. There were also two other pregnant women there. One of the pregnant women was a friend of mine. The other was a new face – Paula.
“When are you due?” Paula asked. Her husband, Dunn, was massaging her shoulders; one of the few things I felt like I might be missing by not having a partner.
“Us too!” Paula said, looking lovingly at Dunn.
“We must have been having sex at the same time!” Dunn almost yelled, giddy at the idea.
I smiled and gave a tiny laugh, the mouth closed, exhale through your nose kind. I wasn’t going to get into it… no need to explain my circumstance. Dunn seemed so excited by the idea of two stranger couples, screwing at the same time, getting pregnant, and then meeting at a restaurant five months later… why ruin his fun?
The pregnant ladies all ordered lots of french fries, various burgers, fried calamari, and other filling entrees and we ate them with gusto. We drank water while the others boozed it up.
Paula and Dunn continued to be lovey-dovey throughout the dinner. It made me think about what I was missing being single, I’ll admit.
In my fantasy, my partner would be loving and massaging and all.
I thought back on every guy I’d ever dated and couldn’t really find one who was the right level of affectionate. I thought of a few who were too touchy feely and it creeped me out. (Was it too much to ask to actually like being touched by the man I was dating?) I also remembered dating guys who never touched me. I remember one guy I was with who was so stand-offish I’d actually think loudly please touch me. No one I’d ever dated matched up to my fantasy of what I wanted or expected.
I knew my options were: A. Lower my expectations. B.Keep Looking C.Just have a baby and give up on men/dating. I guess there’s a D option in there, but clearly I went with C.
My life had changed so much already; just the anticipation of having my son had given me such excitement, such happiness, such hope, that even a few pangs of envy didn’t penetrate my demeanor. I ate my fried food, completely satisfied.
“We were all having sex at the same time,” I heard Dunn say again, to another guy at the party, as he pointed at me with one hand and, with the other, was very physical with Paula. Ugh. Enough, Dunn.
I was proud of the choice I had made. I wasn’t ashamed of not having sex to get to this point. I’d been through a lot to get here, but I didn’t feel the need to tell this guy my business.
I started to wish that I had more single pregnant friends. ANY single pregnant friends.
A few minutes later, when Dunn said, for the third time, we were all having sex at the same time, I felt I needed to make things right.
“Actually, I didn’t have sex at all,” I said in my nicest I’m not trying to humiliate you in front of the whole party who are now all listening to us voice. “I was inseminated at a fertility clinic.” Sexxxxy.
“Oh,” Dunn said, not processing my meaning. “Well, still, we were all probably having sex around the same time.”
He really wasn’t getting it. Maybe it’s my responsibility to help normalize unconventional families. Maybe I’m supposed to be the spokeswoman for single moms. Maybe someday, I’ll start a blog or something….
“Actually, Dunn,” I said so nicely, “I’m single. I’m having this baby as a single mom. I was having NO sex at all.” Then I smiled and shrugged, “Sorry.”
Dunn grinned and mumbled stuff like, That’s OK and Oh really? Paula snuggled closer into Dunn’s armpit, grateful she’d gotten pregnant the old fashioned way.
I really wasn’t trying to shame him. I just want people to think about those of us who are making choices and not doing things the way we were told we should do them.