There is only one candidate for the bearer of the warm bowl, Rhonda.
Sometimes you will see Rhonda in a Helmut Lang dress, her platinum hair in beachy disco waves, radiant in a Nordic way. Other times she will be covered in mud from landscaping, with a giant bleeding wound on her knee from skateboarding with her bras, and by that I do not mean brassieres but the pack of dudes she skates with, pack which includes a trio of feral teenaged boys she has adopted and even bought protective headgear for, as they are being raised, in her words, by raccoons.
Other times you will find Rhonda completely naked, or else wearing mens’ underwear as a bra, because she is a performance artist. Me and Rhonda have been besties since the early 90s when we each had really bad lesbian hairdos. Rhonda is a Scorpio, meaning she does not shy away from life’s grotesque intensities. And she very much wants me to have a baby.
Rhonda isn’t able to pop out a kid, and for a while I’d been telling her that if I had twins I would give her one, but then people suggested that would be a really messed up thing to do so I retracted the offer. Still, Rhonda agreed to ferry the warm bowl, and she even cried a little when I asked her.
With a donor on lock and my bowl-bearer set, I am really sweating it hard with Dashiell. I’m looking for the perfect moment between Whoa, TMI! and Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?
If I were to follow my own instincts I would have told Dashiell on the first date, as I tend to overshare (hence, this blog) but I am trying to be different. I am trying to be normal. At a loss for what normal is, I turn to my friends for advice. I don’t know why I think this is a good idea, because none of them are normal, either.
I start with Bernadine, who tends to know everything. Often, instead of figuring out something for myself, I just hit up Bernadine. A lot of people do this to Bernadine, which is why she is in a 12-step program.
On What Date Should I Tell Dashiell I’m Gonna Get Pregnant? I text Bernadine. #learnedhelplessness
If You Want To Tell Her Anything – Which You’re Not Required To Do Here – Just Be Honest About Your Plans To Get Knocked Up While You’re Still Fertile, she texts back. I Think Date Number Three. #ignoringmyownlife
I text my friend Gertrude, who actually has an advice column. She says date 5. I text Rhonda. Does It Feel Like The Connection Is Deepening, she asks? Totally! Because there is this sort of gorgeous goodness that emanates from handsome Dashiell, I am feeling very connected to her! We stare into each other’s eyes and eat cookies in bed together.
I intuitively trust her -- maybe it’s because she’s been burned by romance in a lot of the same ways I have. I really relate to her. And I’m so attracted to her I have to train myself not to daydream about her during the day, for the sake of productivity. So yes, the connection is deepening, but I feel it hitting a wall, because I am keeping this very big secret. I’m holding her a bit at arms length, because chances are she’ll bolt, and who could blame her?
Date Three, Rhonda texts, but we’re past that and I’m paralyzed. I ask my friend Naz, the first butch person I’ve queried.
OMG First Date Definitely!!! Naz screams at me via text.
Um, too late, I text back, my stomach sinking.
Well I Think I Would Wanna Know If That Was The Plan Of The Person I Was Starting To Get To Know. I Think It's Important To Mention.
That night I took Dashiell on a date to this charming French bistro near my house. Bonus -- one of the servers is a queer who gives us the "family" treatment, sliding over some homemade crusty bread slathered with burrata and herbs. We nervously pick at our food, alternately gazing at one another and giggling. We talk about Ryan Gosling and how hot he is. "I’m Not, Like, Attracted To Him, But I Would Really Like Some Of His Sperm," Dashiell says.
I choke on a brussell sprout with brown butter and sage.
"I’m sorry!" Dashiell leans closer, alarmed. "Was that TMI?"
I swallow my vegetable and gulp some lemonade. "No, no!" I sputter. "Totally not! I love TMI!"
This is my chance, I think. I should tell her! Speaking of Ryan Gosling’s sperm, I’m going to try to get pregnant in a couple weeks!
But it seems like an awkward place to reveal myself, here at the bar of the French bistro, hemmed in by fellow diners, the generous queer fixing a cocktail in front of us. Maybe Dashiell would like a bit of privacy, to have her feelings? A moment to even figure out what her feelings are?
"Ryan Golsing’s sperm would be totally great sperm," I cough.
Back at my house we’re making out in my bed and Dashiell is being a total champion about the fact that I am roommates with two feral cats, and she is allergic and forgot to take allergy medicine. Oh, my cats! What am I supposed to do with them once I’m preggers?
To be real, the decision to bring them back from Mexico, shoved under the seat in front of me, their little cat passports nestled alongside my own, was a whimsical one. I love cats a lot, but I’m not a cat person. I hadn’t really thought about how much work the cats would be. How they would find their way into my cabinets and tear open bags of cat food. How they would track little all over my house. How they would not only cover my white leather chairs with tiny, claw-sized pinpricks, they would smear actual shit across them as well.
Oh, look -- more shit, smeared on my rug! And there it is, the guilty shit-nugget lying on my floor! I come home to find a trio of glass candles shattered on the floor, beside a knocked-over stack of playing cards, feathers and a smudge stick, like they were casting spells in my absence. I don’t think I am going to be able to handle the two of them and a baby. Plus, I’ll need their cat-closet for baby things. My apartment isn’t so big.
Also, won’t I have a miscarriage or a mutated baby if I change their litter while pregnant? "They need to have eaten a parasitic rat for that to be a risk," my cat-friends school me. Frankly, I just don’t want to raise two feral cats and a baby. Does this make me a bad person?
I like my cats a lot but I don’t get dopamine off them, like cat-people do. I get dopamine off text messaging and sex, like a normal person. But back to Dashiell.
We’re making out in my bed and it feels really intense, like my soul is making out with her soul. But my soul has a secret! I can’t take it anymore. "I'm going to try to get pregnant in a couple weeks," I blurt. Dashiell does a double take, blinks and shakes her face quickly, snapping herself out of our dreamy makeout haze.
"What?" she asks. "Are you serious?"
"Yeah," I start talking fast. "I mean, it's something I’ve been planning since the summer, and I just found a donor, and If I don’t right now I might lose my chance. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier, but I just didn't know what to do.
"No, no," Dashiell slows me down. She’s smiling. "No, that’s..." She’s choosing her words. "That’s awesome."
"You think?" I ask.
"I have some stuff in ‘the vault,’" she tells me, sort of laughing. "My friends made me promise not to tell you right away because they thought I'd sare you off, but... I really want to have a family. I really want kids. It's what Iwant more than anything."
"Are You Kidding Me?"
"No!" Dashiell gets very serious. I know this is your thing, I totally get that, I respect that, I'm just sayig...I think kids are amazing. I'm really excited for you. Congratulations."
I put my hands on Dashiell, feeling around underneath her shirt for the circuitry board. She’s an android, right? My friends, overcome with pity for my poor dating history, pitched in and had a dream date android built for me. They did such a good job! Even as an android Dashiell is 100% kinder and emotionally available than all my human dates!
But I find no circuitry panel, and when I bite her neck too hard she says ow. I think she is real. So, I ask, "You'll keep dating me if I get pregnant?"
Dashiell pauses. "Does that mean you want to keep dating me?"
"Yeah, I want to keep dating you!" I try not to scream into her face. And Dashiell and I return to our makeout. Next Week: Bacon cheeseburgers!