the fears

Here’s another thing that scares me about having babies: you never know what you’re going to get. I’m not necessarily talking about “will it be fussy?” versus “will it be content?” I’m talking about its personality. What if you and your kid just plain don’t get along?

I see you out there, rolling your eyes. Come on, you say. If you’re a decent, reasonably self-aware person, this shouldn’t be an issue. You will raise your kid to be intelligent and kind and loving, and to solve problems and take responsibility for themselves, and to remember to put on fresh underwear every morning and wear a coat when it’s chilly outside, and not to bite or kick anyone unless they really had it coming. You will love your kid and your kid will love you and everything will turn out fine. There will be hard and dark times, sure, but they will be balanced by the amazing heart-swelling times; those moments you look at your partner and say, wow, having children was such a fucking good idea and totally not a disaster in the least, let’s high-five on this.

Right? You folks out there who are parents already are nodding along to this, aren’t you? Well, I call shenanigans because I don’t trust you. It’s like you’re in a cult and you’re all simultaneously trying to hand me a cup of the Trust-us-it’s-worth-it-you-should-totally-have-kids-flavored Kool-aid. You’ve been brainwashed to say the exact same things. It’s hard to explain, It’s an amazing experience, He/She is just the best thing ever, You won’t understand until you have your own. WELL FINE THEN. Let me just test your theory by having OH SHIT TOO LATE NOW I’M ONE OF THEM ARRGHHHH!!!!

That was your plan all along, wasn’t it, you sneaky and malicious parents?

But seriously. I’m being serious, now. I put on my serious pants and everything: they have pleats and a button-fly. Taking the long view, what if you go ahead and have a baby and it turns out to be someone you wouldn’t even want to invite over for dinner if not for the bonds of family? Someone you may love but you don’t necessarily like? And then what if you have multiple children and you end up getting along with one more than the other(s)? How do you reconcile the guilt and weirdness?

I think about this a lot because of my in-laws’ relationship with the beau’s younger brother. Now, the beau and his brother were each raised by their parents to be kind, respectful, and responsible people. And indeed they are. Yet personality-wise, the two are complete polar opposites. His brother is difficult to get along with. The beau’s parents genuinely don’t understand their second son, and they don’t quite know what to do with or say to him. I see it on their faces and hear it in the long, awkward pauses at the family table when he’s is in attendance.

And I always think, wow. Wouldn’t it suck to pour all your knowledge, experience, and love into a child; to power through the teething, tantrums, midnight trips to the ER, and sleepless hours when they start going out late with friends; and that kid finally grows up into his or her own person and you can barely figure out how to even talk to this person? All that investment and so little return, if I want to sound like a heartless jerk about a love that’s supposed to transcend all.

I feel like the rising chorus of responses here would be, “Well, if you’re already thinking about it this hard, it couldn’t possibly happen to you.” And again, I call shenanigans. This is the same kind of hippy dippy faith-conjuring that once assured me that since I’m a decent person who values my actual marriage over chair covers and centerpieces, my wedding will just be full to the brim with magic. Well, it didn’t happen like that, okay? Life doesn’t always just work out all nifty-like, no matter how good and clever we are as people. Even the good and clever ones don’t automatically get handed children whose personalities gel with theirs.

I should really write my congresswoman a strongly-worded letter about that.

Part of why I’m so terrified to have a baby is because I’m keenly aware that a baby is also a person, a person who could grow up to disappoint you or break your heart — and vice versa. No matter how hard I try not to let it happen, I know I could end up passing on some of my bad behaviors or negative personality traits on for my kid to deal with.

Maybe that’s the scariest thought of all.

I have no idea why I’m taking this whole thing so seriously. Maybe it’s because we always hear about babies in the context of joy and blessings. Greeting cards depict angels blissfully sleeping in the curve of a crescent moon, storks delivering pink and blue bundles, teddy bears and lambs and tiny booties and all the other markers of innocence and wonder. There are no greeting cards for the inadequacy you feel when you encounter breastfeeding issues, for the confusion and shame you feel when you don’t immediately forge a bond, for the guilt you feel when you drop your baby off at daycare on the way to work, for the derision you sense from others when you quit your job to stay home with the baby, for the irrational anger that comes when you haven’t slept and baby hasn’t stopped screaming in three hours.

Because nobody would buy those cards, I guess.

Children aren’t easy. My lands, no. They’re not ornamental. They’re not accessories. They’re not miniature versions of you. You can’t send them back. You can’t possibly know what you’re in for until it quite literally comes out of you (and rather violently I might add). You’re signing a contract without knowing the terms of the agreement.

Yes. Yes, this is why I think the decision to have babies is, for me, infinitely harder than the decision to get married was. I mean, at least I got to take my partner out for a test drive before I initialed all the forms, amirite?

I made a choice to love the person I’m with. With a kid, there is no choice. You’re bound to each other in ways you can’t necessarily understand. And somehow, this feels a lot more volatile. More vulnerable. More raw.

Maybe that’s the genesis of why I’m putting on the brakes so hard. Maybe it’s why I’m so hesitant to take this leap of faith.

In the end, there’s really nothing I can do but cross my fingers and hope for the best. That’s all we can ever do, is our level best. As a parent I’ll make mistakes. My kid(s) will make mistakes. Hopefully we can all forgive each other and move on together.

And hopefully, in the end, we will manage to share more high-fives than disasters.

***

I don’t know. Does anyone even have any thoughts to spare about that ridiculous ream of thoughts I just spewed? Any actual card-carrying parents care to weigh in? Are there any other baby-reluctant people out there? And those of you who are currently gripped with babyfever, can you tell me how that even happened? Pharmaceuticals, perhaps?

47 Responses to “the fears”

  1. I share some of these hesitations, and a few others not mentioned. I recently had a conversation with a father who outlined all the ways his weekends are planned around his kids – it was all very obvious, but nothing I had thought concretely about – and I thought wow, my weekends will be like that for years. That’s sounds…. awful.

    There are a lot of things that scare me about kids, and things that I’ll miss about my no-kids life. For me, it came down to the fact that I always imagined myself in a family larger than two. All the things that I’ll give up to have kids, I have tried or experienced in some ways. Almost all the things I’d give up if I never had kids, I’d completely miss out on and not get to experience. It’s the *one* thing I can’t go back and do later. That’s what ultimately made up my mind.

  2. I am so there with you. My sister is very difficult to get along with, and the only person who can do so for any length of time is my dad. I’m terrified that I’ll end up birthing someone who I just don’t understand or can’t relate to. Also, this may seem mean, but I’m scared that my theoretical children won’t be smart. I want smart kids, motivated kids, kids who are passionate about learning and couldn’t even imagine *not* going to college. But that’s not a given either, is it? So yes. Kids = scary, because you want certain things from them that can’t be guaranteed. What to do about that fear? Yeah, I have no idea. Wish I did.

  3. I’ve always been baby reluctant because our parents hated all of us, though my mom hates my sister less than the rest of us, we all hate our parents, we (siblings) all hate and can’t understand each other – basically only keeping relationships alive out of familial duty, but otherwise, wouldn’t spare time for each other if not for the DNA connection. And my brother is a sociopath, drug addict and felon serving his 8th prison sentence. So. Yeah. Worried.

  4. You are reading my mind. This is probably the biggest reason I’ve decided I don’t want to have kids. No one likes to think about the idea that you might not like your kids, or worse, might hate them. And since I’ve decided not to have kids, I generally keep these thoughts to myself. Like you said, you can pour yourself into a child and what it turns out to be might not be like anything you can understand, get along with, or it turns out to just be a bad person. And yes, you are totally right that it is signing a contract without knowing the terms. Spot on.

  5. They should let you test drive your baby though I suspect that it is part of the plot.

  6. Your posts always make me think, Lyn. I certainly have no answers, and, honestly – you’ve covered so much of everything…all the concerns, doubts, fears. Life is hard and everyone faces it in their own way, our kids included. All we can do as parents is, well, parent. Our children are going to be who they’re going to be, just as we are for our own parents.

    So many people put *no* thought into having kids. That fact that you do and are has to mean something (and a good something, imo). But, it doesn’t mean everything will always be groovy (which, of course, you know).

    You do your best. You roll the dice. You live and learn. And you love. And you face the what is, every day, and try hard not to worry about the what if. That shit’ll drive you crazy if you let it.

    Don’t let it.

  7. Oh, sure, add more things to my list of Things to Be Scared Of. Like it’s not a long enough list already. And I’m due in 8 weeks, so there are no take backsies now.

    No baby fever, ever. Just cold rational calculation of knowing that I want to have been a parent before I die and that now is a good time. David had some baby fever but I never did. Still don’t, even with Skipper kicking away inside. I’ve decided to take it on faith that things will work out well enough.

    My parents always promised me that they would always love me, even when they didn’t like me. I thought that was a pretty fair statement.

    I don’t know. It’s such a leap of faith and much like everything else, there are no promises at all. As always, I come back to this quote and chose to leap, because what else can I do? ““Every one of us is called upon, perhaps many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job…And onward full-tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another–that is surely the basic instinct…Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.” – Barbara Kingsolver

    • Morgan, the fact that you relied on cold rational calculation is a huge relief to me. Because that’s where I am now, and it’s making me feel bad that I’m not emotionally into it. I was hoping that just DOING it would solve that problem, but that seemed like a ridiculous way to go about making a huge, life-altering decision. You know?

      I’m sorry to have scared you. Know that I’m kinda looking up to you in this.

      That quote is rad. “Glorious debris.” That’s what I imagine most of the rest of my 30s is going to be like.

  8. My worst fear is giving birth to a tiny replica of my mother, so yeeeeeeeaaaahhh.

    I do have the baby fever, but it’s more of a now or never fire pit of panic who’s flames are fanned by everyone around me having babies while my ovaries wither and die. Also I love how little children seem to really dig their moms. I’ve always wanted a little kid to dig me that much. Also I think I would be good at it. Being a mom I mean. & I feel like there need to be more people with my political beliefs out there. So basically I just want to have a baby so I can have a little person who likes me to indoctrinate, and who hopefully bares no resemblance to my mother in either personality or appearance.

    You’re revoking my child baring privileges aren’t you?

    • NO. You get to keep them. Anyone who wants to have babies for the purpose of indoctrination really ought to become a parent immediately or sooner!

  9. You guys. All of you guys. Knowing that some people out there are thinking about having kids and then still thinking about having kids makes me so pleased. So happy.

    Babies are supposed to be all sunshine and joy (sounds like weddings, no?) but there’s definite downsides too. They’re supposed to be all worth it in the end (like marriage? says the unmarried). And I don’t know. Maybe parents are all brainwashed. But that seems scientifically unlikely. So maybe the really are worth the lack of sleep, poopy diapers, worries and strife.

    (My head is screaming “Nahhhhh. But make sure all these people have babies so you have cute pictures on your blogreader…”

  10. OH GOD STOP SCARING ME!!! I’ve barely gotten past the terrifying idea of a baby screaming and shitting at all hours of the night and now I am picturing sitting at a dinner table with a grown child that I just want to throw a fork at.

    I have given some thought to what our kid might be like personality wise and maybe struggling with them not being driven/smart/anything like me but I honestly haven’t thought about not liking them. I really should because I actually don’t like a lot of people. I do feel like it might have to be an extreme case to really not like your kid long term, right? RIGHT??

    But yeah that parents conspiracy? Totally real. Sometimes they slip up and say something to hint at the hell of it but then they quickly try to cover it up with “… oh but they bring so much joy! JOY!! You should have one immediately!!

    • “Grown child that I just want to throw a fork at” made me laugh out loud.

      And yes. I think not liking your kid long term HAS to be an extreme case. I just have… very extreme mental issues here.

  11. I think that’s majorly scary. I think about it often.I get along with Little Josh. I enjoy his sense of humor and we laugh and dance together. When I think about future-Little-Josh, I’m pretty confident he and I will get along pretty well.

    But. What about the rest of them? What if I pop out some obstinate or socially awkward little thing?

    That’s when I think it’s better to compare to blood relations than to husbands or wives. I love Josh because I picked him, but I love my weird mom, dad, brother and sister because I was given them. I don’t get along with them all the time… actually, sometimes I think I got married just so I could get out of the house. But even though they all get on my nerves, have horrible politics, chew with their mouths open, whatever… I love them and I would never want to be without them.

  12. It’s like you have a microphone in my mind, and you’re transcribing all my thoughts but they’re much better written than they sound in my head.

    I can’t tell you the number of times we are at Ikea on a Saturday, or at a museum, or (gulp) visiting friends with kids and I turn to my husband and say ‘Oh God, what if we have a kid and he turns out to be a total asshole?!’ And he says ‘I don’t think we would raise an asshole.’ And I say ‘Well what if his assholishness is just INNATE?’

    We’ll see if I ever make it past that line of reasoning. It’s comforting that others think similar awful thoughts.

    • Most asshole kids I’ve seen have parents who are either a) assholes themselves or b) don’t believe in discipline. Seems easy enough to avoid those traps.

      Except for teenagers. All teenagers are sometimes assholes, yes? I’m hoping if we raise kid(s) well, that the stage will pass and a decent human will come out the other side. You kind of have to hope that, right?

    • Yes. I’m on board with the “asshole children are raised by asshole parents” theory. I just still… have FEARS that I will end up with one. I have a friend with two brothers and all three kids were raised very well and lovingly by their mother. Lots of discipline. And the oldest brother still ended up in and out of jail and fathering random children with random women. I have NO IDEA how it happens, how someone who was a pretty good parent could end up with a “bad” kid.

      God, that story didn’t help at all.

  13. I am 33 and currently pregnant with my first (only?) child. Deciding to have a kid was a huge decision for us. We talked, read books, hung out with babies, hung out with parents, talked with parents who adopted or fostered babies, and generally freaked out. What kind of baby will we get? Will we be good parents? Will having a baby screw up the awesome marriage/friendship we have? The questions cannot be answered – not now, not before you take that leap. So, yeah, it’s really really scary.

    What pushed me to “pro baby” was the following. There are only so many big life experiences you can have. Having a kid is a huge one. Would my husband or I regret not having this experience (regardless of outcome) later in life? I think I would – I want to live my life as fully as possible. For me that meant having a kid. For other people it may mean inventing some new thing, becoming a pilot, trying every whiskey currently in production, writing a book, or starting their own company. Hell, I might do some of those too – even if they scare the crap out of me. Depends on what life I want to live.

    • Yes, I’m with you on this, Carolyn. Like you, what’s pushing me towards yes is the knowledge that I would feel like I missed out later on. And part of living life fully is opening yourself up to all your fears. I need to remember that. Thanks.

  14. We have chosen not to have children and are really happy with our choice. We are selfish, want to travel, and have difficult families. My grandmother was a control freak who probably had an untreated mental illness or personality disorder, and my uncle was diagnosed as a sociopath. My dad’s side has alcoholics who swore they weren’t drunk when they hit parked police cars and men who cede their parental rights when they marry someone new. I wish I would have someone to pass down all the fantastic family heirlooms to, but I’m glad I WON’T be passing down the record of therapy, screaming, running away as a teenager, hitting, possible molestation, and just general horribleness. I understand your fear perfectly – as an only child, I am constantly weirded out by The Mister’s relationship with his siblings. The idea of all the stuff I’ve gone through with my family makes me exhausted just thinking about it, so I won’t drag another person with me into that raging riptide.

    But obviously it works for lots of people, and we know some awesome couples with fantastic kids. I’m sure it is totally worth it, but we are just not going there.

    • This. It’s impossible not to weigh your family history in as part of your decision. And gawd, I’m so sorry you went through all that. Sometimes family just isn’t fair.

  15. I’m 48. I have two grown children. I love them both with all of my being. Do I always like them? Hell no. There have been periods of time (13-19 for my daughter and 17-20 for my son) that I was pretty sure I hated them but by then it was too late. My daughter (now 24) and I are really good friends now. Like really good. We hang out together and I think she is beautiful and hilarious and an amazing person to boot. I’m not only proud to have her as my child but to know her. My son is 21, there are still times I’m perplexed. He’s coming around though. My point is parenthood… man, it’s a leap of faith. You don’t know what you’re getting. I can say with absolute certainty that you will love your child more than you’ve ever known it was possible to love anything. Other than that, nothing is for sure.

    • Oh! I had a similar thing happen with my mother. We did not get along from about age 11 to age 24. Now we talk on the phone at least once a week. She called me the other week to say she wished I could move into the house next door to her.

      I’m glad you came through the other side, and you like what you’ve found. I think having adult children could be a real thrill — being able to share more of yourself instead of just being the disciplinarian and teacher. And it’s part of what’s encouraging me forward. Thank you so much for your insight.

  16. “I have no idea why I’m taking this whole thing so seriously”

    Not taking it seriously is unfathomable to me; but then, over-analyzing is why I will probably never have children (and I’m cool with that). If I could have a guarantee, if I could have a trial period… I would be MUCH more willing to jump in. But it’s really the only job you can’t ever quit, and you have no clue what your signing up for until it’s too late… and that’s too high-stakes for me. If I had to have an arranged marriage, with no “get to know you” perod, I’d probably still be single.

    (sorry, if you were looking for reassurances, I’m afraid I’m the worst person to ask).

  17. *you’re and *period (auughhhh stupid typos!)

  18. Btw in case it isn’t clear from my comment: I sometimes wish I were less risk-averse, truly, and I respect people who weigh all the unknowns of this issue and say damn the torpedoes. Not likely to follow suit– but all the best to them.

  19. I suspect that I will be one of those moron parents who thinks their kids are the best thing since bagel slicers even though they are tiny monsters.

  20. So I walked away from this post today and kept thinking about it. Because, I imagine I’m one of those parenthood-conversion-seekers that you mention, and I was trying to figure out why. I’m okay with people choosing not to have kids (frees them up to babysit, amirite?), but really- I think people can decide for themselves what’s best.

    The more I thought about it, the more I realized I want to convert the ambivalent. Not those people who decide babies aren’t for them and know their own minds and can make grown-ass-decisions if they damn well please. I was on the fence way back when. I heard horror stories and didn’t know what having my own would be like and worried about the worst. But also imagined it would be kind of nice, maybe. Those people.

    Then, I had one by mistake, er, accident, er miraculous intervention. And the bad parts weren’t NEARLY as bad as I thought they’d be. And the good parts were a BAZILLION times better than I ever imagined them. I can’t get over how good the good is and how meh the bad is.

    Anyway. That’s my defense of the parenthood proselytizers. Even though it doesn’t answer any of your concerns.

    • Thank you, Liz. A lot.

    • Ehhhhh, I didn’t mean to single out the parenthood proselytizers. That is just part of the joke thing I try to do. I hope it didn’t come across too roughly.

      The thing is, I want to believe people who love parenthood, and it’s beginning to be obvious to me that I won’t really be able to put aside my fears until I just dive in and do it. I’m an epic fence-sitter about this, and I don’t know why. We’ve made this decision that we need to dive into the babymaking in a year, but I can’t work up the enthusiasm to look forward to it, and that makes me feel bad somehow. As if I needed more things to feel bad about.

      I always thought I’d be a parent — deep down, I think I’d make a great one — but I’m having a hard time pulling the trigger. What helps me in times like this is hearing other people’s experiences. The good ones — like yours — keep me grounded. And give me hope. Lots of hope.

      So basically what I’m trying to say is that even though I joke about how parents say the same things, I like hearing testimony from converts. Keeps me from sinking too far into the well of fear in my head.

      • I know, I know. :) I didn’t feel called on the carpet or anything- i know you’re all jokes. (it’s why I love you) But it really, really is next to impossible to find a nice balance of reality when you talk about the big things like marriage and babies. So what we end up with is a ton of naysayers and a ton of unrealistic dreamy rainbow tales. And neither seems right. I was just sad to realize I’m a rainbow-tale-er yesterday. Sigh.

        And, to be fair, as much as I always thought I’d be a good mom- I don’t know if I’d have ever done the deed if it didn’t happen by accident. It’s kind of a relief that it happened that way, otherwise I’d probably be in the same boat.

  21. My perspective on this is a little different because I *AM* the other kid. The one not really liked or understood.

    It’s almost funny you wrote this post because I am literally half way through writing one about babies and how sometimes parents and kids are a bad match. This is just fuel to the fire.

    Sometimes it happens that way. But if you love them and your intentions are good then that’s all you can really do. It’s a fear that is crippling, that’s for sure.

    • Reading this comment just reminded me of the This American Life about the babies who were switched at birth, and how one of the girls never fit in with her family. It’s pretty tragic. (Is that like really unique?) Anyway, just wait until you firmly make up your mind that you want them and then they just don’t come, month after month… God I’m a downer today.

  22. I have a slightly different take on this, probably because I’m almost 8 years into parenting. I am fascinated by my children’s personalities, but I worry, too. Bean is SO VERY MUCH like me, in all the good ways and all the bad ways. She is moody; she is bossy, especially when she gets her feelings hurt; she gets her feelings hurt so easily. Oi. So I have these fears that when she gets older, especially when she hits those dreaded teen years and 20s, she and I are going to be too similar, and I will lose her because our similarities mean that she and I are going to butt heads and privately nurse hurt feelings (which will fester). My point is that the fears don’t disappear just because we decided to take the leap and have a child.

    The thing about parenting is that you will always have fears — fears of the known and fears of the unknown. You can try to anticipate everything, but it is still scary (and there will always be surprises). You might find that the kid you have nothing in common with is the easy one to get along with, or you might not. You might not be a great personality match, or you may luck out and hit the jackpot. Either way, you will love your kid, and they will love you even when you both don’t get along and don’t really GET each other. You may not be best friends with your kid, but you will still love him/her, and s/he will still love you.

    I think that we educated women are sometimes too analytical, and feel the need to have every nuance sorted. The problem is that parenthood is messy. You WILL do something wrong, your kid WILL be a brat at some point or another. But here’s the thing: that’s okay; this is life. You don’t have to be a perfect parent (there is no such thing); you have to be a loving and concerned parent. There will be parts of parenting you don’t like, and there will be parts you love. And, if everything works out, even when you’re exhausted, sad, mad, frustrated, sick, grossed out, whatever, the parts you love will feel bigger than the parts you hate because that’s how a big love works.

  23. Don’t read We Need to Talk About Kevin. Or do, if you’d like to continue to feel this way. I did…and then I found out I was pregnant. I’m still not entirely convinced that whatever’s coming out of me won’t be evil….

  24. This is such a tough thing to think about, and one that completely freaks me out. Not for the reasons you’ve just said – as in luck of the draw and all that. But for us because we have to use a donor because of my hubs teenage life-threatening illness, and now I’m 100% TERRIFIED about what we’re going to get.
    Inasmuch as I’m about nurture and nature, there’s a lot of nature there. and my partner’s generally sunny disposition, massive smiley cheeks, floppy hair etc won’t be anywhere in evidence in our kid. that’s just the truth. I mean, maybe the sunny disposition, or the weird sense of old man humour, but not a lot of the other stuff. And there could be traces of some person we don’t know, or maybe wouldn’t even like, affecting how our kid turns out. We’re on the road already to doing this and there’s a lot I’m sure will be great about it (hubs’ amazing and clearly evident abilities with babies and kids) but all those uncertainties about the personality etc are magnified times 1000 with so much unknown.

    plus, there’s no chance of the whole ‘whoopsie daisy, guess we’ll just have to deal with this!’ situation that liz and many others have had. I *really* wish there was.

  25. Oh, man. Thank you, Lyn. This subject is on my mind every day, but not because I’m even close to considering motherhood. I teach kindergarten in a school with kids from ages 2-6, so I get to see a lot of parent-child relationships and interactions among the children, which can be really nice or really horrifying. But then I also get the more maternal, lovely time with the kids when they’re hurt or sad or just being silly. It’s kind of nice (sometimes, I guess) to act as a sort of surrogate parent eight hours a day, because it’s like a trial run with lots of different types of children. Like a pre-spawning taste test.

    Overall, though, I can’t even imagine having kids–the responsibility is overwhelming. Not to mention things like, suddenly you have to be an example for a tiny human? No more swearing or adult humor, and what, now jelly beans and processed cheese is not an acceptable dinner? AND ALL THE BABY TALK!! Plus, even if you like your kid, who’s to say you’ll be able to stand the friends (and dates!) the kid brings home? I don’t know if any of this hypothetical joy is worth the risk.

    More seriously, though, I do not think anyone who chooses not to have kids should ever be called selfish. Just like someone who stays home with her kids shouldn’t be criticized. Screw that. I do think it’s important, though, to have more conversations like this, because the decision is so complicated and so permanent. Thanks again for bringing this up.

    Anyway, I would buy the shit outta those Real Life greeting cards. Someone should get on that.

  26. Good questions. Although my question to you is, why on earth do your serious pants have effing pleats???

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