I don’t have any new development or link to point to, but I was reminded of something recently that annoys the living crap out of me. Whenever some news comes through about some breakthrough in the search for a chemical contraceptive for men, a whole lot of women make the same comment: as if any man would take such a pill. Because, as they would have you understand it, men have no interest in contraception. It’s not as though pregnancy is a man’s problem. We’re all a bunch of Peter Pans without a care in the world while it’s women that have to concern themselves with such things. Of course, it gets worse when men agree with this.
There is, naturally enough, some truth to this. Women should not rely that men take the speculative pill reliably. Because, you know, they could fail. Then his failure becomes her problem (as well as his). I have to point out, though, this is something that is asked of men more often than one might think. Some women find the condom to be uncomfortable and so will ask men not to wear one. Some men have certain troubles with a condom. In these cases, the options are either to trust the woman when she says that she is taking the pill, withdrawal and risk outlining exactly how much you don’t trust her, or go home frustrated. There also comes a point in the relationship where continuing to wear a condom demonstrates a lack of trust unless the woman is on the same page.
I’m not saying that guys are uniquely put-upon here. I’m not saying that we have it tougher than women. To some extent that depends on the morals and philosophies of the participants. I mean, worst case it’s not something a guy has to worry about for nine and a half months or so after the deed. That should matter a lot more than it does to a lot of guys, but some people have pretty short time-horizons. Even if in most ways we have less urgency to our worry, in some ways we can have more to worry about (simply because we can’t make the “problem” go away, once conceived). We can have the best of all possible worlds (an abortion we supported but did not have to undergo or decide on) or the worst(a baby that we vociferously did not want from day one but have our wages garnished for 18 years to support).
But even to the extent that we can agree that it’s something that women have to worry about more than men, that does not mean that it is not something that men don’t have to worry about it. Some guys are extraordinarily detached from their responsibilities, and some guys will get away without having to pay a red cent in child support. But for guys that could not or would not forgo child support even for a child they did not want, this is some pretty serious stuff. And even if the more conscientious guys are not as worried about it as are the conscientious ladies, they’re still a lot more worried about it than are the less conscientious women who know that they can abort the problem away or just think that having a kid would be neat.
I guess where the women that say things like “men wouldn’t worry about it” are partly coming from is that they don’t have to worry about the less conscientious women. They just have to worry about the dudes. They don’t have to worry about some girl getting pregnant accidentally on purpose. They have to worry about some guy that just doesn’t give a flip. The standard of female behavior is defined first and foremost by their own conscientious behavior. The standard of male behavior, on the other hand, is far more varied. At most, these guys are as conscientious as they are. Often, they are not.
But make no mistake, there are a lot of guys that would be very interested in a pill for men. They would be very interested in having the freedom to not worry about a woman accidentally missing a pill. They would love to be able to tell the woman sitting across from the table that needs him to stick around because she might be pregnantbecause she might have missed taking her pill by an hour or two, “I don’t think that’ll be necessary because I didn’t miss mine.”