Wednesday, October 28, 2009
MOTA: Mates Of The Abortioneers
We've had a couple posts here about the romantic lives of abortioneers -- the frustration when a first date turns into a debate, the anxiety of meeting anti-abortion in-laws, and just how weird it can be when people introduce you as "Abortion Girl" to their friends at the bar. If there were a blog for Mates Of The Abortioneers, it would have an even smaller audience than this blog does. Not that we aren't plenty lovable!
I think about these things and often conclude that if I separated from my partner, I'd probably remain single for a long time, because meeting someone who is fun, caring, smart, feminist, anti-racist, and pro-choice and who's a foodie and who doesn't care that I'm always running late* (etc etc) can take a long time, and I'd much rather be single than settle for less. I'm OK with that. But I've been in a happy relationship for quite a while, so all of this is a little bit abstract for me personally.
Anyway the point is, I wanted to write a post about having an abortioneer-supportive mate, but didn't really know where to start. We ended up doing an "interview" for me to share with you all. (And as you can see, the third-person-interviewer voice broke down pretty quickly.) Hope you enjoy it.
Placenta Sandwich: How long have you been dating Placenta Sandwich?
Mate: 5 years. She wasn't an abortioneer when we met, although she was decidedly pro-choice. As she moved into that role, it moved being pro-choice from the abstract to a part of day-to-day life.
PS: What is your favorite abortion-prevention policy?
M: Dry humping?
PS: Ha. List five good things about dating an abortioneer.
M: 1. Knowing that my partner is involved in an important struggle for equality and freedom for everybody.
2. The vicarious sense of self-righteousness.
3. Going to kickass abortioneer parties and hanging out with other cool abortioneers.
4. Getting the inside scoop on an issue that superficially has two sides to it and seeing that in fact I'm on the side with absolute moral clarity.
5. Knocking allegedly pro-choice family members off their guard by using the title abortioneer.
PS: Wait, you call me an "abortioneer" to your family?
M: Yep. Sometimes I describe you as the Michael Jackson of abortion.
PS: What? No you don't!
M: I definitely have done that.
PS: Oh no.
M: Wait, I meant Michael Jordan.
PS: Oh... OK then. What did you mean by "allegedly pro-choice" family members?
M: Well, I have a lot of relatives who would identify as pro-choice but still want to seem centrist, so they'll moderate that position by opposing a straw man -- like, "I'm pro-choice but I don't think you should be able to have an abortion in the third trimester," or I've gotten the vibe from some of them that I'm too cavalier about what you do -- like they're OK with it but think it's a distasteful line of work.
PS: Like it's something that people shouldn't feel comfortable talking about even if it's ok for them to do?
PS: OK, list five bad things about dating an abortioneer.
M: 1. Having to worry about the safety and wellbeing of my life partner because of the work she's doing.
2. Waking up early to drive her to the clinic.
PS: You haven't done that in a really long time.
M: Oh yeah. It was still really early though!
3. Feeling inadequate next to a partner pursuing something so important to them.
4. The unfortunate lack of enough badass pro-choice mates to form a sufficiently large chapter of MOTA in many cities.
5. Passing out during "The Coat Hanger Project" while I was trying to pee.
M: Remember, I was watching it and the doctor was saying how women would try to do their own abortions and I tried to head to the bathroom but I got dizzy?
PS: But you made it sound like you were peeing and watching the movie at the same time.
M: I don't think this is a very good interview.
PS: Fine. What do you think of my office happy hours?
M: They are awesome and fun, once you get over the complaining about the office, and once you're comfortable with the amount of time spent discussing the topic of the vagina...It's like being in an episode of Cheers, or the Golden Girls. But with abortion.
PS: What are you trying to say?
M: Idunno, it's like, you're funny, and you're all classic characters...like a sitcom. But with abortion. Actually that would be a really good idea, a sitcom!
PS: Are you just hamming for the interviewer?
M: [silence]...Ask another question.
PS:OK, I have a semi-serious question. Does my job ever create a feeling of isolation for you, the same way some abortioneers say it isolates them?
M: In my private life, no, because I don't have many friends -- probably less than five -- who are anti-abortion or even on the fence. And with my family, I kind of expect that if there's a problem, it's theirs. At work I do feel like I need to feel people out before I open up about something that we feel so strongly about. I don't really feel like I could talk about our relationship without bringing up choice. It's like, if you were dating Bob Vila and some people were offended by construction, you'd probably have a hard time talking about your significant other with them.
PS: You're being silly!
M: I should rephrase. I do talk about it without talking about choice -- if a stranger asks what you do, I say you help people access health services they need -- which is completely true. But if I haven't determined whether or not someone is pro-choice, and I'm leaving your specific occupation out of the conversation, it's like we're not talking about the real you, because it's such a big part of your identity.
PS: Are you saying I'd be different if I stopped abortioneering?
M: I think that's a chicken-and-egg question. You weren't an abortioneer when we started dating, but you were socially conscious and wanted to make a difference, and as that carried into this field you got more adamant about it and settled into this role. The two things feed into one another. But I guess maybe if not abortion then it might have been something else, but with the same motivations and fervor.
PS: Nffff. Did you fart?
*ETA: I found out after publishing this post that my partner does, in fact, care that I'm always late, but loves me anyway. Sweet!