Most of the pieces of advice I have written have been pretty common sense. It seems surreal that I even have to write the above one out, but let's peruse the recent high-profile case of director Andrew Douglas suing his ex for deliberately duping him about the paternity of her daughter and extracting hundreds of thousands of pounds in child support from him and not being at all contrite when this was exposed:
‘Of course I didn’t lie. I obviously didn’t think that he wasn’t her father,’ she said. ‘If he wants to be her father, he should provide for her. Isn’t that what’s fair?’Dear greedy, duplicitous skank Ameena Meer: it would be fair if you told him up front that he was not the father and he chose to parent anyway. However, given that you at least suspected he wasn't and, despite not being in a relationship with him, pressured him to marry you so as not to shame your Muslim parents, and, after you divorced him, you blithely took your child out of the country he was living in, I'd say nothing about this was "fair."
fair adj. fair·er, fair·est : marked by impartiality and honesty, free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritismMamma Mia, whose plot revolves around a young woman's search for her father, one of three possible men her mother slept with in short succession some twenty odd years ago. She wants him to walk her down the aisle. Ignoring for a moment the fact that a father's main purpose in life is not to serve as a prop for the perfect wedding, there's the fact that this play/movie was written, acted, watched and enjoyed without any apparent outcry about the irresponsibility of a woman deliberately denying her daughter even the information about who her father was, let alone respecting and actively trying to involve him in her life.
From the Wikipedia synopsis: The issue of Sophie's parentage is left unsettled, as none of them have any idea whether they are actually her father. Everyone involved agrees that it does not matter which one of them her biological parent is, as Sophie loves all three and they are all happy to be "one-third of a father" and a part of her life at last.Read the above paragraph again. Everyone involved agrees that it does not matter which one of them her biological parent is. That's right, the message of this thing is dads don't matter. Kids can be successfully raised without them, and they themselves are happy to be considered interchangeable. Too bad none of that is true. I do find it interesting that the same people who ascribe to the above beliefs would be horrified if adoptive parents simply did not tell their children they were adopted. It's strange how biology is of critical importance to a child's sense of self only when it does not inconvenience that child's biological and custodial mother.
Finally, let's take a peek at the views of Melanie McDonagh, a writer for The Spectator. Recently she opined in "Who's the daddy?":
Now, a cotton-wool swab with a bit of saliva, plus a small fee, less than £200, can settle the matter. At a stroke, the one thing that women had going for them has been taken away, the one respect in which they had the last laugh over their husbands and lovers. DNA tests are an anti-feminist appliance of science, a change in the balance of power between the sexes that we’ve hardly come to terms with. And that holds true even though many women have the economic potential to provide for their children themselves.Dear Melanie: clearly you hate men and think they should have no say in life's most basic urge, reproducing one's self. But just so you know, cuckolding was never a female right or privilege. It was always wrong, always fraud, always cruel, always selfish. A man has a right to know if a child is his. A child has a right to know if a father is his. A woman has no right to interfere there for her own convenience. Women have all the other reproductive rights: birth control, abortion, single motherhood, abandonment on a firehouse's steps. Isn't that enough?
The subject has resurfaced lately, courtesy of a story in the Daily Mail, about a married television presenter who for years had been paying for the support of a child conceived, as he thought, as a result of his relationship with a writer. It seems that after meeting the child for the first time, he asked for a DNA test; it duly turned out that he was not, after all, the father. Poor child...
Many men have, of course, ended up raising children who were not genetically their own, but really, does it matter? You can feel quite as much tenderness for a child you mistakenly think to be yours as for one who is...
A.C. Grayling, the philosopher, has written with feeling on this question this week, in an article for the Evening Standard. Noting that 4 per cent of men are, all unknowing, raising children who are not genetically theirs, according to a report in the Journal of Epidemiology and Human Health, he ponders the impact a DNA paternity test can have: ‘The result can be shattering, leading to divorce, marital violence, mental health difficulties for all parties including the children.’ Well, yes. Scientific certainty has produced clarity all right, and relieved any number of men of their moral obligations, but at God knows what cost in misery, recrimination and guilt.
Our generation sets a good deal of store by certain knowledge. And DNA tests have obvious advantages when it comes to identifying less happy elements of our heredity: congenital disease, for instance. But in making paternity conditional on a test rather than the say-so of the mother, it has removed from women a powerful instrument of choice. I’m not sure that many people are much happier for it.
Here's a tip for women who don't want the messy humiliation of determining paternity after the fact: sleep with just one man at a time. I know that's hard, but, you know, it works pretty well. The average woman's cycle is only 28 days long, so every four weeks or so you've got a built-in pass for more promiscuous wild oat sowing, but take it one guy at a time, 'kay? If you fool a man into thinking your child is his and it comes out down the line that that child isn't, the resulting mess and emotional trauma is all your fault. Yes, it's a lot better for children to have fathers, so pick one good man, reproduce with him, stay faithful to him, and work at keeping that relationship healthy.