它发生在沉默中。一个男人年轻，高，连帽坐在候诊室里。所有的椅子都被拍摄，除了从他对面的对角线。一个女人带着孩子。她坐在唯一的座位上，并且自己拆除了孩子的外套和帽子。那个男人的眼睛切到了拐角处检查母亲和女儿。这个女人假装不注意到他的凝视。有人靠近母亲和孩子旁边的座位。那个男人迅速移动到座位上，仍然坐在孩子身上。他向前倾身。 The child tips toward him. She raises her little hands and reaches out. He opens his arms to embrace her. They fall into each other. He lifts the little girl onto his lap. The woman looks away.
I am watching this scene unfold while dressing my own daughter for the cold wet outdoors. I am touched by the man’s tender interest and love. I see his bond with the little girl and I wonder, what are they doing here? Here, being the DNA testing office. Here, being the place where we baby-mamas bring our offspring to prove that we’re not lying or mistaken about who the father is. It is a task best done with a light heart. Better not to delve into the nastiness that wafts from the demand for a DNA test. The test itself is not overly demeaning or embarrassing, yet when I walk out of the testing office, I am changed. I wonder how the process affects the middle-aged woman and her two round-headed boys who were being tested when I arrived. Unlike my daughter, these two boys are far from infancy. How does a mother explain to 8- and 10-year-old boys why they had to have a large q-tip rubbed inside their mouths by a white man listening to country music and calling their mother “mama”.
“Fatherhood,” James Joyce writes, “in the sense of conscious begetting, is unknown to man.” The physiological reality of gestation unfoldinginsidethe female body creates an irrefutable certainty about a woman’s relationship to her child. Women learn about a child’s presence through internal notices—a missed period, tender breasts, morning sickness. Men, however, find out about their offspring’s impending arrival from an external source, from the lips of a woman. The vast difference in the physical proximity of women and men to a growing fetus is one of life’s confounding complexities. Babies grow outside of men’s bodies. This simple biological fact breeds questions and doubts in the minds of men that pregnant women never experience. Maternal love, Joyce concludes, “may be the only true thing in life, [while] paternity may be a legal fiction.”
Due to biology’s immutable rules and formulas, the stage is set for the disputes that lead women and men into family courtrooms and DNA testing labs. Procreation is—in its nature—an unbalanced event. While conception demands material from two bodies—female and male—to create a child, only one body—female—is required to gestate and birth a child. Through the unchangeable laws of the universe, the “we” that creates a child disappears when the embryo attaches itself to the uterus. From the moment of conception, women are physically, physiologically and chemically altered to a drastic degree while men are not. The female body is literally the field upon which the dance of life plays out.
鉴于今天的地形，在同意性行为方面，避孕是一个动力女性不能放弃。And when they do give it away, they cannot then turn around and say to men, ‘we had an equal choice.’ [The assertion that women and men have equal choice] may be true in theory, [but] it operates as fiction in real life. In this instance sharing the bucket, feels like an attempt to pass the bucket.
In other words, women be warned: should you conceive a child, you bear the burden of pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing. You cannot afford to have sex under the pretense that you and the man will share the consequences of unprotected sex equally. Whether married, partnered, or single, mother and father are different animals.
父母身份是一种苛刻的，有时会衰弱，责任。如果可以，也许更多的女性会逃离育儿。但是，在它所存在的时候，男人 - 父权制的受益者 - 有权免除自己的育儿，而女性作为我的朋友Radha宣称“留在默认位置...儿童饲养，有所有的物理，心理，情感带有婴儿爸爸或没有。“用它来的精神和财政职责。”
Many disinterested men ward off fatherhood by asserting that a pregnancy ascribed to them is not the result oftheirsexual activity, but rather someone else’s indiscretion. Even without proof of a woman’s infidelity, these reluctant fathers imagine themselves as one of many men on a firing squad. In this imaginary firing squad, only one man has the bullet, everyone else is shooting blanks. When they are ordered to shoot, each man aims and fires, banking on his belief that his gun is loaded with blanks. It is a comfort, a psychological cover that allows would-be fathers to sleep at night after they have denied their children. Patriarchy grants men this refuge. In some male minds, the hypothetical possibility that any man’s sperm可能有reached the woman’s egg is justification for negation. It doesn’t seem to matter how many hours, days, or months a reluctant father may have spent engaging in unprotected, baby-making sex. If he does not desire fatherhood, denial is a reflex and a right. In a society where men get to choose whether or not they want to be fathers, a man can always convince himself that he was “shooting blanks.”
简单地通过质疑孩子的亲子关系，潜在的父亲将谈话的焦点重定向到他对女人的信誉的责任。对于男人来说，不确定性是怀孕的生物现实。宇宙 - 它似乎不关心父亲知道哪些孩子是他们的生物后代。男人的故事被愚弄为父亲错过的孩子比比皆是。直到对DNA测试的发明，没有人可能会肯定他的孩子是他自己的。这让我回到了我目睹了DNA测试办事处的场景。父女之间的爱是显而易见的。也许他不是否认父亲和责任。也许他在那里有疑惑，这个孩子不是生物学上的疑惑。暂时，我在这种情况下抓住了一个男人的脆弱性。 In a bizarre way, it seems that he needed external permission to love his daughter. Perhaps his pride, as well as his wallet, balked at the prospect of fathering a child that wasn’t his.
Published in有时节奏,有时蓝调:年轻的非洲mericans on Love, Relationships, Sex, and the Search for Mr. Right ©2003年