During first period today, one of the girls sprinted to the bathroom to throw up. A quartet of concerned friends gathered around her afterwards to whisper and comfort.
“She might be…” one of the friends told me, eyebrows raised meaningfully. “But it’s OK, miss! She’s married!”
Here is where I bit my lip not to scream, “NO, THAT MAKES IT MUCH WORSE.” The student, at 17, is married. And academically gifted. And her future is now a fucking waste — or, at the very least, difficult and limited — but none of these girls gets that. They think it’s romantic and sweet.
Then I went to lunch, where a 23-year-old teacher who is clueless was saying how she “wouldn’t mind” getting pregnant this year after her wedding, because “that’s what my mom did, and then she stayed home. Which I wouldn’t mind either.”
Look. It’s great to live the life you choose, if you’re privileged enough to choose it from an array of attractive options. But why are so many women willfully stupid about the consequences of their choices if something goes wrong or they change their minds about what they want?
Why is it not TERRIFYING to contemplate dropping out of the workforce in this economy? Why is it not A VERY SCARY THING to leave school or a career before you have any real skills; before you’re competent in your field; before you have a degree or tenure or any kind of work-related security? Why are women not understanding that economic dependence on a man LIMITS YOUR CHOICES in a very practical, day-to-day way? How can women see all the 30-year-old single mothers; the 40-year-old divorcees; the 60-year-old-widows scraping by and not think: That’s where I’m headed if I don’t take my own life seriously?