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Father of the year

By Oliver Del Signore

Oliver Del Signore

June 28, 2001

When I write a column, it's usually because I have an opinion about something, but today I am asking for help. I am asking a question.

What is wrong with some women?

I read, in an advice column today, a letter from a woman who was wondering if she should take her two-year-old child and leave her boyfriend. This woman has been with the guy for about five years now, two before she became pregnant and three since. According to what she wrote, here is a list of some of the qualities the boyfriend brings to the relationship:

1. He's lazy and could not be bothered to work for three years until just before the baby was born. (One wonders where he got his money all those years.)

2. He's spoiled and self-centered. (And she found this attractive in a man.)

3. He's irresponsible. (Another attractive quality every prospective father should have, eh?)

4. He's inattentive. (Yes, if I were a woman it would certainly be my dream to meet a man who would not pay any attention to me.)

5. He's selfish. (And I'd definitely want the guy to not care what I think about anything.)

6. He's controlling and threatening. (And to top it off, my dream guy would simply have to be the sort who abused me and kept me "penned in.")

7. He "has problems with things that I don't want in my son's or my life." (No comment required, I think.)

Now, I do understand the psychology of the attraction some women feel to "bad boys" and, although I think it is stupid, I can even understand wanting a quick roll in the hay with one. But to establish a relationship with such a loser? To have sex with him on a regular basis, all the while exposing yourself to all the endearing qualities listed above? And then to have a child with him?

What could she possibly have been thinking even getting involved with the dope? Is she capable of rational thought at all? One wonders given that now, after five years with this mega-loser, she has this question to ask of the advice columnist: "Would it be selfish of me to leave to find my happiness and give up on my child's happiness of growing up with both parents under the same roof?"

Does she really imagine her child would be happier and better off by allowing Mr. Wonderful to teach his son to be the same kind of man he is? (And you just know if she stayed she'd get pregnant again and again, affording her boyfriend the opportunity to guide the development of a whole passel of future losers.) Can she really think it is good for a child to live with a man who ignores and bullies him?

The columnist advised counseling for her and her boyfriend. Personally, I would have advised her get as far away from him as she can as quickly as possible; to give her child up for adoption because she shouldn't be raising a pet much less a child; and to rush right out to her doctor and request her tubes be tied, severed, or completely removed because it is of paramount importance to the future of the human race that she, and other women like her, never, ever, reproduce again. (Or maybe I'm just overreacting. My wife tells me I do that sometimes.)

So now I repeat my question – what is wrong with some women? I really want to know because I really do not understand. What is it that causes women to choose men like that since it goes against all the laws of nature and self-preservation?

My wife didn't have an answer for me, nor did my daughter (which was actually a great relief to me since it indicated I'm not likely to end up with a loser boyfriend-in-law.) I am appealing to all the sane, rational women out there – the ones who visit the Backwoods Home Magazine web site – to educate me. Help me to understand what makes women choose such losers to father their children. Explain the thought process that leads them to conclude a lazy, self-centered, irresponsible, inattentive, selfish, controlling, abusive man with "problems" is a great catch.

I'll include a sampling of your explanations – if anyone has any – in my next column.

In the meantime, I'll be sitting here scratching my head, feeling very sorry for an anonymous two-year-old boy.

Oliver Del Signore is a freelance writer, proofreader, creative consultant, website designer, and the webmaster for Backwoods Home Magazine. He welcomes comments and inquiries via email to

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      Please address comments regarding this page to editor[at] Comments may appear in the "Letters" section of Backwoods Home Magazine. Although every email is read, busy schedules generally do not permit personal responses.


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