In an article in Time magazine last week, a high school principle in a small town explained his school's high pregnancy by saying that a group of girls had made a pact to get pregnant together. Surprisingly, this unleashed a smidge of a media furor, of the sort that only the hint of illicit teenage sex can unleash. "Oral sex amongst teens drops in popularity" the headlines screamed, I presume. "Teen sex: More babies, less fisting" they continued, again, in my mind.
For some reason (a sudden influx of oily guys with camcorders?) the mayor of the town has reacted vociferously to the story, claiming that there is no independent evidence of a pregnancy pact. But the fact that 17 girls in a school all got pregnant within a year is undeniable. Everyone following the story is asking the same question: how else could so many teenage girls get pregnant so suddenly?
Yet a followup article by Time, backs the original story, finding more evidence of hot, taut, pre-planned teen pregnancy. Most notably, many of the girls in question were reportedly extremely happy when they heard the positive results of their pregnancy tests, and reacted with high fives, fist bumps and impromptu demonstrations of the 'Soul'ja Boy.'
Much as it pains me to say something sensible, I have to side with the media in expressing my distaste here. I'm no prude, but I feel really uncomfortable with the concept of girls making a pact to have babies together, for any purpose other than racing them. Some have suggested that the recent film Juno and high profile teenage moms like Jamie Lynn Spears are to blame for this new found desire amongst teenage girls to get knocked up. Personally I reject that easy answer, instead choosing another, easier one: I blame the girls, for the twin crimes of being stupid and fertile.
A more grounded observer might also lay some of the blame on teenage boys, the presumed fathers of the children, and a demographic not known for being terribly mindfull of the eventual destionation(s) or effects of their sperm. (As an example, at one point during my youthful, peak years of fertility, I believe I got a golf club head cover pregnant.) Yet the articles I've read only mention the teenage fathers in passing. They instead focus more attention on claims by local authorities that some of the fathers were in their mid twenties, one of them possibly homeless.Yikes. Who knew there was such a thing as a homeless pedophile? How do they get on to Myspace?
If I can conclude this with some kind words and guidance (probably not), I'd like to direct a message to any teenagers who are reading this. Kids, I speak from experience: no matter what the cool kids tell you, sleeping with a homeless guy is not the way to become popular.
And for the internet enabled homeless people reading this: Dudes. Not cool. We've all been there, ok? We've all been homeless before, and we've all been asked by a teenage girl to impregnate her. These are all just normal aspects of growing up. But by the same token, we've all had to find the maturity within us to look that girl in the eye and say "What are you, a cop?"