What has happened to the ads on Facebook? You know those little ads running down the right hand side? I used to get ads about fun things, things I was actually interested in. For example, from 24/7 Creative, “a community for anyone who supports a more creative world.” And I think, “That sounds nice, huh? Should see what that’s all about next time I want to look like I’m working at work.” Or from Bud Light Port Paradise, which offers a chance to “win a trip to an island for the party of a lifetime.” Where do I sign up? What?!?!? You can enter daily?!?! Bookmark that shit.
But, like I learned back in 1985 when I evolved from an “only child” to a “big sister,” all good things eventually come to an end. Facebook ads are no exception. The past two weeks, ads that used to make my imagination drift to a hazy, beer-fueled island dance-off or a new creative endeavor have succumbed to the likes of parenting other peoples’ children. Specifically, the new ad states:
Meet Hot Single Dads
Meet 1000’s of single dads near you at singleparentmeet.com. Register now!!!
Now, according to Facebook, the site compiles all your information within your profile and customizes your ads to promote products that will be of interest to you. So exactly what information within my Facebook usage has made an ad for hot, single dads applicable to me? Yes, I am listed as single. But I have no children listed. And now that I think about it, my 28th birthday is about six weeks away. This must be all related somehow. I cannot come up with any other explanation.
Is the Facebook advertising think tank embarrassed by my blatant disregard for a Leave it to Beaver lifestyle? Is Facebook trying to “figure me out?” I imagine this think tank being about five nosey women in their late fifties, their child rearing years well behind them, their husbands currently at work, and them, still stay at home mothers, even with no children anymore to stay home for, all sipping black coffee, picking at sticky buns, and hurriedly whispering amongst themselves.
Ethel: “How can she have any will to live when she is 28, single and childless?”
Margaret: “This simply cannot be by choice. Who would choose such embarrassment?”
Cecelia: “Poor, unfortunate girl. How she must suffer every day living with such a burden as being barren.”
Maude: “Let us offer her a solution she cannot refuse. We shall give her children labored by someone else, children cared for by a single father, children who are missing the kind touch of a woman, a woman who shall be granted access to them on Mondays, Thursdays, and every other weekend.”
Evelyn: “That is so kind of you, Maude. You always know how to pull at the heartstrings.”
Here’s the cool thing about being a girl. If we want kids, for all purposes of this argument, we can. Wherever. Whenever. With whomever. We have our own little easy-bake baby oven to use at our disposal for roughly a thirty five year range. I have already spent half of my life having the option to try to have a baby at any moment I damn well please. Now, tradition tells you it is smart to make sure you are married, evolution tells you it is smart to make sure potential father is not just any old idiot, and common sense tells you that an education and a job are also important, so that you can provide for said baby in an efficient fashion. But, the point is, we have the ability to use this choice at our disposal and as we please. If I had already wanted children, I would have had it taken care of.
So why would Hot Single Dads advertise to childless women? If I have not yet chosen to have my own children, why would I want to partake in yours? Children are a delicate enough matter when they are your own, much less when you are talking about acquiring someone else’s. Now, this is nothing against single dads or single moms. People date, love and marry other people all the time who have children while the other one does not. It is common. It happens all around us. But their meeting seems to usually require some form of randomness, like being in line for coffee or on the sidewalk simultaneously plugging a meter. Never have I heard a single, childless person intentionally search out a single father or mother. This is my only point. Nothing more.
People may say that this makes me sound cynical. Uncompromising. Maybe a little mean, even. But I know myself well enough to know that I am not enticed by this ad at this point in my life. I have not had children yet because I am enjoying this time of my life to be selfish, and I will not apologize for it. For example:
I want to travel when I have extra money. To a foreign country. Not to Disney World.
I want to sleep in and read in bed all day on those days it is cold, dark and rainy.
I want to tan and drink margaritas on those days when it is warm, bright and sunny.
On those in between days, I like to just get in my car and go. I always end up somewhere I never would have gone if I had planned it.
Sometimes for dinner I just eat asparagus and drink a Newcastle. There is nothing better.
I want to decorate my home as I see fit. I do not want to buy things solely because they are stain repellant and odor repellant. I want to buy a red couch because it is vibrant and warm, not a brown couch so it will best hide the chocolate stains.
When I need a personal day, I call in sick to work. It takes maybe three minutes. I do not have to call a babysitter to coordinate schedules, my neighbor re-route a carpool, and the PTA to see if Julia can make the cookies for the bake sale this week.
Personal selfishness. Probably not the best aspect of my personality, but no less important. That’s why I’m keeping it to myself, and away from your children. And maybe, like with most things, it will pass with time. But for now I’m going to embrace it, so that this selfishness, angered by years of being repressed and ignored, does not emerge and overtake my life during the phases when I am married. Or when I do get around to having those kids. Or when I am needed to care for my elderly parents. Because that would be an unfair situation. And then I would be cynical. And uncompromising. And mean. It would be then I would deserve these labels. But not yet. Because today, tomorrow, and the foreseeable future? That time is mine.