I’ve kissed a lot of frogs. I’d like to blame my mother for her insistence that I dance with every boy that asked me at school because, as she put it: ‘It takes a lot of courage for them to ask you and one dance won’t kill you!’
In all fairness to my mother, she didn’t ever say anything even remotely like I had to kiss every boy that asked me to dance… But, nonetheless, I have kissed a lot of frogs, gone out to dinner or the movies with a toad or three and, yes, in homage to Pumas everywhere, I’ve kissed more than my fair share of tadpoles too.
Ah, the tadpoles. Even though I am sitting at the sharp end of another failed paddle in the dating pond with a partially-developed but quite sweet amphibian (although at 29 he was more metamorph than tadpole), I am still in favour of, um, swimming downstream with these delightful specimens… Mostly delightful.
On the whole tadpoles are incredibly energetic and eager to please and a great deal of fun, particularly as, at the time of writing, I am mid-thirties (going on mid-twenties), taking in the delights of a new city and in no rush to settle (not to be confused with settling down but more about that later).
My tad-Beaus have ranged from 10 plus years younger, practically bearing engagement rings and scientific references as to why the age gap won’t matter in 40 years’ time (when they’ll be happy to help me in and out of my Zimmer frame), to 3 years younger, with fears that I (mid-thirties remember) am “too old” should they want to wait 10 years to have children (when, I presume, he will miraculously and overnight want to give up all his “me time” on the golf course or partying with his friends to be with these children and the partner that gave birth to them). Yes, I know, if you’re doing the math, you have already figured out that the 30-ish Mam-padda* in question was not a tadpole but actually a full-fledged toad.
Older frogs have weighed in on the subject of procreation too. An ex, now nearing 50 who had an irreversible vasectomy before we met, expressed concerns that I would not be happy with him if we could not have children of our own – and he was not willing or capable.
But my absolute favourite has to be an Italian stallion my age, who asked me to move in with him after the second date because he was “ready to get married and have children” and I apparently looked and sounded like the loon, I mean lady, to do it with. When I declined, Rana Italica** pointed to the empty corner of the restaurant and declared: “Don’t kill our children because you can’t make up your mind!” When I looked over to the empty corner quizzically and asked which children he was referring to, he cried, still pointing at the empty corner, “Our unborn children!”
I will give the Italian stallion this: I have not made up my mind when it comes to having children.
I don’t have a furiously ticking biological clock… It’s ticking (I mean, it must be) but I can’t hear it over the din of a career, the most blessed social and family life and settling in a new city that I have dreamed of living in for the past 11 years. I have not had a burning desire to be a mother at any cost like many of my friends and I don’t feel my ovaries leaping into my chest when I see parents with newborn babies. No, I was not raised by wolves (although I only have one hand bag) but by two very loving parents and I guess that may have something to do with the fact that I cannot see children in my future when I have not yet met the right partner in crime to do that with.
Of course I’d like to meet someone I can grow old with but wanting to settle down doesn’t mean I will settle. Having children is a tough, life-long commitment that is often entered into all too lightly and I would rather not attempt it alone if I can help it. I know that I will be a great mother, but I do not have the desire to step into that role unless I meet a man who will be an equally spectacular partner and father… A prince, if you will, that I can trust with my offspring… And I’m not choosing to have them without him!
Yes, life is not a fairytale and I am quite prepared for the fact that by the time I meet my man (with or without his white steed), we may have met each other too late in the game to make that decision for ourselves: we may not be able to have children or, quite likely, even want to. One thing is certain, for me the possibility or fear of never having children will always be a terrible reason to settle for a frog.
So I’m leaving the pond and heading for the ocean… I hear that there are still plenty more strong swimmers out there and I intend to make a big splash!
*Mam-padda is a play on Mamparra, an Afrikaans word that is used to describe a stupid person or an inferior product. “Padda” is the Afrikaans word for frog.
**Italian Stream Frog
Note: This great big lovely splash of a post first appeared on Naked Living. You must, must, must check it out!