I found a donor I like as much as #2882, and he comes from a better sperm bank — they don’t charge $75 for silhouette photos and other extraneous ripoff jazz. This new guy, “Bruce,” is the right size, the right coloring, hella smart and a funny writer. He’s an “elite-level lightweight sculler” who participates in “regattas” and other biased-SAT word type activities. When my mother saw his baby picture, she cried because he looked like me. The sperm bank lady said he has a great personality with no signs of creepiness or sociopathy. I decided Bruce was my guy.
But then I played Bruce’s 20-minute audio interview for my best friend. Halfway through it, she smiled meaningfully; the way she smiles when I’m missing something.
“What?” I asked. “Isn’t he great?”
“I’m getting a…seriously gay vibe here,” she said.
“Cut it out,” I said. “Why?”
“Well, his favorite movie is ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ He gave up singing in a men’s chorus to pursue rowing full time. And now he’s talking about sperm donation as a way to continue his family line because he isn’t sure he’ll ever have a ‘full-time partner.’ A straight guy would have said ‘wife.'”
“Nooooo,” I said, as I realized she was right. You can see Bruce’s gay from space, but I missed it specifically BECAUSE I try to live in a gay bubble as much as possible. “Full-time partner” is normal, familiar language to me; not a a Giant Big Gay Red Homo Flag.
So now I have questions: How strong is the genetic component of homosexuality? Am I doing my child a disservice by giving her/him TWO gay parents? Isn’t doubling up on the gaygredients a needless risk? Am I increasing the possibility that my kid’s life will be harder than necessary? Wouldn’t it be safest to go with my second choice; a man who didn’t knock his math SATs out of the park but who does refer to his partner as “the wife”?
Also: Does my reticence to use gay sperm stem from a good place; e.g. wanting to protect my child from the slings and arrows of flamboyant faggotry, or is this actually about internalized homophobia? Am I a self-hating queer? (I mean, I do hate myself, but I never thought it had anything to do with being a lesbian).
I’m much more worried about having a gay son than a lesbian daughter. I’m thinking about AIDS and anal prolapse and poppers making him retarded and no one thinking he’s attractive after he’s 30. Lesbians don’t make as much money, but I find we age better in terms of general happiness (albeit invisibility). Our ratio of joy to tragedy seems…more favorable.
My friend told me not to worry. “That stuff is cultural,” she said after I stopped rambling on about popper retardation. “It’ll be a different world in 20 years.”
“Well, sure,” I said. “We could be living in the post-apocalyptic Former United States of Romney, being kept by middle-class Asians as remote-controlled pets and fighting the Water Wars. It could be worse by the time this kid grows up.”
She said I was worrying about the wrong things and smiled meaningfully again.
I’ve decided to trust her. There are so many ways for life to be difficult that it’s madness to try to avoid them all. And the whole thing about having a child is: You don’t know who you’re getting; not at all. You issue an invitation to a stranger, and 40 weeks later that person shows up at your door. Hello, you say, and after a couple of years, they say hello back.