I can’t tell you the exact day many of my friends’ Facebook feeds started filling with pictures of pink, sausage-like swaddled infants.
My pals and former partners-in-crime, many of whom relished posting drunk selfies and spent hours creating their “going out” looks, now put the same sort of astronomical effort into staging the perfect, Instagram-worthy shots of their offspring. Here they are at the beach. At a friend’s birthday party with a DIY bunting. Trading happy hour for nappy hour, Stoli for strollers.
While I’m not here to shame anyone for their life choices, but it’s a little jarring that the most interesting thing about my fiancé and myself is whether or not (and when!) we’ll procreate. Because, after a wedding, that’s just. What. Comes. Next.
I’ve come to dread family gatherings, because it’s a nonstop interrogation of our “plan,” and an ongoing chatter of how cute our future babies will be, which are usually sexist AF (“oh, with your looks and his smarts, that kid will be unstoppable!”).
One friend asked outright when we were planning to have kids, with the flattering, if not misinformed, reasoning that we were so awesome, so absolutely there should be more of us in the world. If I could have said anything back, it would have been “mind your own damn business!” But I am a lady and the friend was well-meaning, so I just moved on.
For the record, my partner and I are stolidly on the fence about kids — while they’re cute and squishy and smell factory-fresh, they’re also expensive, they’re noisy, they demand most of your waking hours (and all too many of your sleeping ones, too). Then there’s the truism that most of them grow up to break your heart.
That’s to say nothing about rising world population, a shaky global economy, an uncertain political climate and the havoc it would wreak on my body. And realistically, there just aren’t that many free hours between the two of us.
But the questions kept coming at every turn, and somehow, my twee deflections like “oh, let’s just get through this wedding first!” and “I can barely take care of my plants!” only worked for so long. I knew we had to take action. The solution? A puppy.
My partner and I talked it over. We crunched numbers. Lots of them. We ran it by our landlord, we found reputable walkers and a nearby daycare facility. We started stockpiling BarkBoxes like hoarders. And then, last fall, I flew to Wisconsin to pick up Björn, our very own fur baby.
Björn’s a mini goldendoodle and was a very fluffy five pounds when I got him. He was the very textbook definition of a roly-poly puppy, with comically stubby legs and a curly-cue red tail. There was no new human smell, just the milky, slightly fermented scent of puppy breath.
And suddenly — as if by some canine magic — the prying questions quelled, as we now had the perfect fluffy deflector. We filled our social media with a never-ending barrage of cute puppy photos that seemed to satiate the thirst for adorable things. He’s the cutest, most polite “fuck you” to anyone asking about whether there’s a bun or a baby or a wedding cake in my oven.
Yes, I know that when you boil it down, it’s really no one’s business whether or not my partner and I want an actual baby in addition to our furry one. But for now, having Björn as not only a buffer, but a bona fide pal, is the best choice for us. And I think Björn agrees.