September 15, 2014

Breeder Bingo

Breeder Bingo Card created by Deadly Sinners

Breeder Bingo Card created by Deadly Sinners

I recently mentioned a typical Breeder Bingo response posted by Nullipara Life (@NulliparaLife), and ever since I’ve been hyper conscious of the usually presumptuous, often daft questions and assertions breeders dish out to childfree folks. Time for a Breeder Bingo expose!

What is Breeder Bingo?

Breeder Bingo means one of the “usual” phrases we hear over and over again from breeders, so much so that someone created a bingo-like card to use. As they say the dumb things to you, you cover the blocks on your card until you have Bingo! (Happily Childfree)

Fun right? Think of it as making lemonade when you’re repeatedly dished up lemons. Or clinging the levity despite the cloying, nagging, persistence quest of friends and family to bust out a baby before meaningful life leaves you in the dust…

Ramona Creel recently posted a Breeder Bingo primer of sorts on her blog that explains the game:

It’s a fun little game we no-kidders play with those who think that (with enough bullying) they can convert us to their way of thinking and convince us to have kids. For those of you who have never had your life choices and values questioned by complete strangers who don’t even know you, you’re missing out on quite a treat. (RamonaCreel.com)

Many childfree bloggers have published lists of Breeder Bingo examples, often with their own responses. Here are a couple of examples:

The lists are endless. And familiar. It’s staggering how often perfect strangers presume to know me  better than I know myself. So quick to assume, to judge, to advise. It might be time to print a Breeder Bingo card (here’s another Breeder Bingo card) and start keeping track of my wins! Maybe if I celebrate my wins often enough, perform goofy enough victory dances while chanting “Breeder Bingo! Breeder Bingo!” breeders will start to get the message. Probably not…

Every time a child-free individual comes upon a baby-zealot, he or she is guaranteed to hear the same mindless arguments over and over again — an endless braying and baaing and mooing of natalist propaganda. These folks like to explain why the decision not to breed is wrong, why the unencumbered are shirking their duty by not reproducing, and how much the other person is going to regret having gone down this path later in life… The biggest problem I have with most of these “reasons” for having kids is that they are emotionally-driven, backed by no real logic — and smack of a desperate attempt at justification on the part of the breeder attacking you. (RamonaCreel.com)

I’m choosing to be a bit more optimistic than Ms. Creel, but nevertheless, it makes sense to reconsider the typical Breeder Bingo scenarios I encounter as a childfree married man. Instead of sighing inwardly and thinking, “Really? Again?” I’m going to start celebrating the parade of cliches!

About virtualDavis

G.G. Davis, Jr. (aka virtualDavis) is a writer, storyteller, unabashed flâneur and eager-beaver uncle. Despite two whiz-bang nieces, two superstar nephews, and rewarding teaching/coaching stints at the American School of Paris and Santa Fe Preparatory School, he remains willingly, enthusiastically and happily childfree. His WNK posts are part of an ongoing attempt to understand why. Rosslyn Redux, a transmedia chronicle about rehabilitating an historic property in the Adirondacks, offers a more ironic twist on his childfree adventure. He also blogs at virtualDavis.com and EssexonLakeChamplain.com. Connect with G.G. Davis, Jr. via Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Comments

  1. It’s not just the child-free by choice people like us who get harrassed; it’s also women who want children who can’t. A friend at work can’t have children due to health problems, but wants children. Thoughtless parents (both men and women) often say to her, “It’s you next!” and as she is getting married soon, “I bet you come back with a honeymoon baby.” People know she has health problems which affect her ability to carry a baby, as she tells parents not to go on at her about it……but the insensive ones still go on. How selfish, thoughtless & insensitive can’t breeders get?

    • Now THAT is an unfriendly way to behave! Or at least it seems like it from your perspective. And mine. Which might bring us to a critical part of the equation: perspective. Whereas I totally understand your point about your friend from work, I venture a suggestion that her colleagues may unintentionally harassing her. Just as the majority of folks assume that the next step after marriage is baby making, most people operate on a default level of learned habits and assumptions. The default in our society is still that married folks procreate. A bizarre assumption, to be sure, but I think that most of the emotion that gets tangled up in the broader childfree conversation is fueled by biases and assumptions that we don’t even realize exist. And my own bias (hope?) is that by dilating the conversation and de-emotionalizing the positions we might begin to step beyond habit and open our minds! All that blather aside, my heart goes out to your colleague. I hope she finds the fortitude to rise above the noisome comments. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I’m only 17 (I do not have a particular afinity or endearment towards children, and I currently have no desire to have any in the future) and I already have people saying these things to me. So far, I have heard atleast 13 of the statements on that bingo card.

  3. CactusHeart says:

    So….I’ve blacked out at least several of these cards over the years…which leads me to ask: what exactly does one “win”? And is it worth enduring the intrusions, the aggravation, the anguish and yes, even hurt one encounters in the process of “winning”?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] me until recently when I discovered Rhiannon Alton’s blog, Nullipara Life while searching for breeder bingo examples. A catchy title from a woman unabashedly committed to her childfree choice. Don’t [...]

  2. [...] a little huffy, but many of us have been at one point or another when slighted bingo’ed one time too [...]

  3. [...] If you are not familiar with the concept, here are some places you can check out Breeder Bingo and some discussions about it. Its hard not to crack a smile seeing so many familiar [...]

  4. [...] getting “you’ll regret it!” and “children are the greatest joy” and other choice BINGO [...]

  5. [...] me until recently when I discovered Rhiannon Alton’s blog, Nullipara Life while searching for breeder bingo examples. A catchy title from a woman unabashedly committed to her childfree choice. Don’t [...]

  6. [...] me until recently when I discovered Rhiannon Alton’s blog, Nullipara Life while searching for breeder bingo examples. A catchy title from a woman unabashedly committed to her childfree choice. Don’t [...]

  7. [...] are merely the springboard for a much broader conversation. Just as we bemoan (or mock) the myopic Breeder Bingo exchanges we encounter, we don’t pretend that our individual preferences, biases and [...]

  8. [...] notwithstanding, this chapter talks about issues that the childfree already know very well, such as bingos, double standards, and the idea that parenthood is a choice, not the default.  This chapter seems [...]

  9. [...] heard all the usual ‘Bingo‘ calls, and they are rot. All of them. No, I won’t ‘change my mind when I get [...]

  10. [...] notwithstanding, this chapter talks about issues that the childfree already know very well, such as bingos, double standards, and the idea that parenthood is a choice, not the default.  This chapter seems [...]

  11. […] frustrating it must be when child-ed folks badger childfree people with their incessant rounds of Breeder Bingo (ie: asking presumptuous and often judgey questions like “who will take care of you when […]

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