When I think of the term “biological clock”, I picture Marisa Tomei standing on a wooden porch stamping her foot and proclaiming that it is “ticking like dis!” The biological clock has always seemed to be a Hollywood plot point more than an actual biological phenomenon to me – until I reached my thirties. And then I discovered it is very real and also an aggressive stalker. It will turn you from a bright, fairly balanced young woman into a gibbering obsessive nagging ball of hormones in the blink of an eye.
I present to the court exhibit A:
Let me speak to the Gentlemen briefly. Sirs, perhaps you have not had a sister or lady friend in your life who has told you the woes of PMS. Another seemingly fictional affliction that is, indeed, real. Maybe not period commercial real, where we crave chocolate or feel “bloated”, but real in the terrifying way that your hormones can COMPLETELY OVERRIDE YOUR BRAIN. Yes, fellows, sometimes during our more sensitive lady moments, we will start to cry out of the blue. If you are sitting next to us, you will probably be alarmed, since .2 seconds ago we were merrily eating a tuna melt. The scariest part about it? WE are just as alarmed as you are. For no apparent reason, sometimes our body just decides it is time to cry now, even though logically our brains know we are just dandy, and that tuna melt was tasting pretty good. THIS is the truly frightening part of this whole situation for me – that we cannot stop ourselves from crying even though we know nothing is wrong. That biology will always win over intelligence. What good is a brain if it can’t out think its body?
I had several girlfriends get “broody”, as they say in England, before I did. One day they were cynical, defiant Grrls who thought marriage and babies were for chumps, and the next moment their voices were high-pitched and cooing at every single baby they passed – including ones on TV. It was enough for me to start believing in pod people. What the hell happened? They didn’t ever want kids, and now they wanted one THIS FUCKING SECOND. I didn’t understand.
Foolishly, I thought I was smarter. Stronger. I scoffed at their girlyness. For this mocking, I have dearly paid.
It starts small. A little voice every now and then whispering “Have a baby” in your ear. You cock your head, unsure what that weird noise was, and continue about your day. Three years later, cut to that voice having a megaphone and screaming “HAVE A BABY, GODAMMIT!” about three times a day into your eardrum. Every stupid magazine ad, commercial, trip to anywhere public becomes about looking at the adorable babies everywhere. Even though, logically, my brain knows I am unmarried and have just enough money to maybe splurge on a taco every now and then, I cannot override my biology. My hormones think that having a baby and living with it in my dingy studio Hollywood apartment sounds like a peachy keen idea! Hormones do not care about real life situations like poverty and part-time jobs, they care about continuing the bloody species, and at this – they let me know quite frequently – I am doing miserably. Lately, it has been absolutely horrifying me. “I am more than my instincts! I can stop this if I think hard enough!” my brain cries, and my hormones just laugh and put that big rag soaked in ether over my brains mouth again. I am 34 years old and I constantly think about how after 35, the chances for birth defects spike rapidly. Does that last sentence freak you out as much as it does me? Some spooky shit.
Wanna know what else it has been turning me into? The nagging girlfriend who is obsessed with looking at wedding porn online and who casually mentions once a month or so that she is ready to get married whenever you are….WHO IS THIS WOMAN?
Yes, I have always been a hopeless romantic. Yes, I have a delightful, patient boyfriend whom I adore that I have been with for over 2 years, but NO I did not expect to spent nights oohing and aahing over letter pressed invitations and sun drenched engagement sessions. If it was actual pornography, people would say I have a problem. So where did all of THIS come from? Now and then my logical brain peeks through and gets out very quickly “Marriage is an extinct societal concept! If you love someone, be with them, regardless of what the government wants you to do!” But that lasts about 6 seconds, and then I am thinking about my perfect engagement ring again. AArrrgh. I don’t want to be like this! I want to be cool, laid back girlfriend who isn’t bothered about marriage dates and biological clocks! Where did this come from?!
I’ve thought about it and the best thing I can come up with from being a little girl. My parents have been together since they were 12 and are more in love with each other now than ever, so I definitely had a good role model for marriage, but they certainly never drilled marriage into my head. However, at age 5 if you had asked me to describe my perfect wedding, I would have been able to give you an incredibly detailed description – dress, ceremony, reception, honeymoon, etc etc. I probably could have even told you the names I wanted for my children. AT FIVE YEARS OLD. You could have asked me at 13, 19, 25 and I would have had an answer for you, and I bet most other girls would have too. It is something, somehow ingrained in us. Girls LOVE to plan their weddings. They will do this in their head for basically their entire life. Most times when we are at other weddings, we are making mental notes about what we do or don’t want to do for our own wedding.
Even creepier? If you have a little girl cousin or niece or daughter, wait until she gets to be about two or so, and watch her start to play mommy. She will want a doll to be her baby and she will spend whole days taking care of it. We are talking about a child barely out of the womb herself who is fantasizing about having a baby of her own. And yet, this is normal and accepted and happens in just about every country in the world. This behavior, I think, is innate as well and biological, not societal. A little girls first role model is her mother, so it makes sense she will want to imitate her by basically pretending to take care of herself. Weird, huh? Even weirder, most girls stop this behavior around 7 or so and start taking interest in other things – Barbies, My Little Ponies, ballet. So its really only when she is very young.
So this is my mental state these days. As i’m sure you can tell, my boyfriend isn’t thrilled about all of this. And I do honestly feel bad for wanting the things I have been so badly wanting. I just want life to happen as it happens, and not have to angle and finagle and shove to get it to where my hormones want it to be.