A siring song for aging blokes

Murdoch Grace
Well, who knew? It seems men have a biological clock issue as well. To wit, if we don’t start fathering sprogs by the age of 40, it gets harder for us (well, probably softer for us, in truth) with every passing year. And only 2% of men even realised it was a problem. But don’t blame us. Blame Rupert Murdoch, Woody Allen and Jack Nicholson. They’re the guys who’ve kept producing kids well beyond an age where it was at all dignified. And they’ve given the rest of us false confidence.

I always thought women had a rough deal compared to men. The fairer sex pretty much have to get cracking by their mid-30s to have the best chance of getting it right, while guys can just keep callously trading downwards until we’re lying semi-comatose in a nursing home, hitting on 25-year-old carers. And of course, there’s still some truth in that. Especially now that we have Rupert’s good friend Viagra, right?

The problem is that, like putting out the rubbish or painting the wall of the spare room, men always figure they can have kids later.

This is not exactly surprising. Swapping free time and disposable income for sleepless nights and dirty nappies doesn’t always seem like a great trade. Many men don’t get into fatherhood until the sprog’s born, and then they surprise themselves with their cluckiness. Maybe there need to be some more incentives? Perhaps for each new baby fathered, you should get a carton of beer. Maybe even one with a Talking Boony.

Or better yet, what about a Talking Warney? He’s the cricketer most associated with sowing his wild oats. With Warney offering us regular lifestyle advice, who knows how many more babies would be conceived?

And that’s what I found most interesting about Mark Metherell’s article this morning – the first paragraph, where they say it might be time to bring back the idea of “siring a child” as a rite of passage. Literally proving your manhood, the old-fashioned way. That notion was fantastic for the propagation of the tribe, but no way is that going to work now. As the article later goes on to point out, men now define their masculinity in terms of how many women they can sleep with without conceiving before settling down. Getting a woman pregnant before you are ready to is perceived as a failure these days.

The only thing for it is for men to start settling down earlier, and the only way that’s going to happen is if women collectivise. If women universally withhold sex from men who really are old enough to be settling down and raising children, suddenly you’d find the fellas becoming more willing to give parenthood a shot. Because while men can just keep on moving on elsewhere, or kidding themselves that they can, they have to really, really want to settle down before they take the plunge. And many men just aren’t built that way. Some guys have always had to be dragged kicking and screaming into taking responsibiliy for child-rearing. Often with the assistance of a shotgun.

But there is some good news for us blokes. According to the same article, excessive exercise can inhibit fertility as well. Sure, that probably only applies to women, but what if it’s like this age thing, and turns out to affect us fellas as well? We can’t be too careful, gentlemen. I wouldn’t risk getting off the couch, personally. You can sire children perfectly well in front of the football.

Dominic Knight