Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Pregnancy Test Gender Gap

Whether you believe in nature, nurture or a combination of the two; whether you think that sex and gender are the same thing or whether gender, to you, is  socially constructed; whether you're a GI Jane or a Susie Homemaker; whether your male role model is Vin Diesel or Sheldon Cooper, it's safe to say that only biological women with fallopian tubes will pee on a stick any time soon and have it say anything other than "Not pregnant."  A conversation with Mat last night showed me just how fully the pregnancy test can emphasise the male/female divide.

Due to a wonderful coming together (or rather going away) of work schedules, bosses and internet connections, we had the opportunity for a rare Saturday night of doing not very much together.  Smoked salmon was placed onto gently toasted - OK, slightly cremated - bread, wine was poured and we settled down to watch a bit of Dara O'Briain.  

Some way into his set, Dara started talking about Clear Blue pregnancy tests.  This reminded me that I'd taken a (thankfully negative!) test that afternoon, so I shared this snippet of information with Mat.  As I prepared to settle into a litany of reasons I'd thought it was necessary to take a test, he turned to me and gently mentioned that not listening to 20 seconds of Dara O'Briain would mean having no clue of what the remaining hour of stand-up was about.  Fair point, thought I, assuming that he'd either pause the show or be dying to hear all about it the moment it was over.  Nope.  Apparently, the only word he needed to hear was "negative."  He didn't even need to see the test.  Weirdo.

Not my actual test.  Good job, because that faint line would worry me if it were.

Where's the fun in that?  Where's the interest in not hearing that I did the test because a common side effect of the mini pill is to stop ovulation, meaning that I no longer have a monthly "Not pregnant!  Woop woop!" moment?  Also, I've put weight on - sure, NOW I know that I've piled the beef on because I haven't stopped eating for three months, but there could have been a more complex reason.  (If I'm perfectly honest, despite not wanting another baby any time soon, there was a part of me that went, "Shit.  Suppose I'd better get off my arse and put the biscuits down, then.").  AND - and this was the clincher - my ribs hurt on Friday.  They've only ever hurt when I was having Dom, so obviously my brain put two and two together and came up with a little one.  Now see?  Wasn't that interesting?

I honestly cannot imagine sitting down with a woman - any woman I get on fairly well with and am pretty comfortable with - and telling them that I did a pregnancy test, it was negative, and moving on to another subject.  It just wouldn't happen.  There's too much to be discussed.  Why did I think I might be?  And I'm definitely not?  What would I have done if I was?  What would they do if they were, right now?  When do I think I'll want to be again?  What would Mat say (clearly not very much)?  How would Dom feel?  Do I want to be?  Do they want to be?  Is anyone else pregnant?  How do they feel about it?  There's hours of conversation to be had around an imaginary pregnancy, for God's sake!  Even some of my male friends would show more interest than Mat did. Come to think of it, only my very gay and squeamish friends would be less concerned about the inner workings of my reproductive system than Mat was.

Cheers, babe.  It's a good job he's generally fabulous, given his lack of interest in his non-existent second child.  And it's a good job that I'm pretty sure that he wasn't clutching at his hair demanding to see the test to be sure it was negative because he actually thinks another baby would be a great idea.  Which is sweet, if deluded.

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