A long time ago, in rural Trinidad, we settled the ongoing battle of nature versus nurture, or whether an individual’s innate qualities are more important than personal experiences in determining how that person looks and behaves. In other words, is it heredity or environment, instead of manners, that maketh the man, woman or child.
I grew up in a kind of musical chairs sexual environment where people changed partners with greater frequency than the national telecommunications authority could allocate, and more bandwidth in terms of tolerance than any service provider could ever deliver. There we had a rule of thumb- if the child resembled the father it was heredity and if it resembled the neighbour it was environment.
Talking about neighbours, something funny happened on the way to paternity in Stuttgart, Germany. According to several reports, Demetrius Soupolos, 29, and his former beauty queen wife, Traute, wanted a child badly, but Demetrius was told by a doctor that he was sterile. So intent was Soupolos on having the baby that he over-rode his wife’s objections and hired his neighbour, Frank Maus, 34, to impregnate her.
Maus, who had a close resemblance to Soupolos, was already married and was the father of two children so the odds were that he could make both the beauty queen and Soupolos happy, though not necessarily in that order.
Soupolos paid Maus $2,500 for the job and for three evenings a week for the next six months, Maus tried desperately, a total of seventy-two different times, to impregnate Traute. It was hard going and made even more difficult by the stiff resistance Maus encountered from his wife who vehemently objected to Maus’s moonlighting.
However, he explained, “I don’t like this any more than you. I’m simply doing it for the money. Try and understand.” After six months Traute was still her lissome self and Soupolos was upset and demanded that Maus get a medical examination to see whether he had a problem. Confident in his virility, Maus took the test only to find out that he was sterile.
The only person not surprised was Maus’s wife who was forced to confess that Maus was not the real father of the two children carrying his name. Soupoulos, after demanding his money back and not receiving any satisfaction (on both counts) has sued Maus for breach of contract. Maus is claiming that he gave it all he got. He also claims that he never guaranteed conception and that Soupolos was labouring under a misconception.
In the meantime, Maus faces his own dilemma with his domestic situation and has to prove whether he is man or Maus.
Even though it is highly possible that the Soupolos story is an April Fool’s joke, a lot of people have taken it seriously including a US Law Professor who advised, “there did not appear to be an acceleration clause in this particular sexual subrogation contract. Just for the record, this could have been brought as a torts action under fraud and battery charges in the United States. Indeed, if this was not a ‘casual seller’ it could have been brought under product liability…It does not appear that this contract had a force majeure clause for such an act of God.”
Talking about the Almighty and his actions, there is a story that bowing to female pressures about the pains of childbirth and the inequity of the male contribution to the extremely painful process, He decided to allow women to continue to bear the child but on the condition that men experience the agony of having a child.
A Trinidadian man from the neighbourhood in which I grew up, realising that the time was nigh, armed himself for the new fatherhood experience. He bought Phensic by the dozen, some extra Cafenol and Panadol, two bottles of Limacol and some Bay Rum, together with a bottle of Puncheon or over-proof Rum and waited for his wife to start giving birth and for the pain to arrive.
Feeling fully fortified for the battle, the man sat on his rocking chair and waited, and waited. Perhaps the Almighty had changed his mind, he thought, as the wife had just started and no pain had yet arrived. Suddenly, from next door, he heard the most awful screams of agony as his male neighbour shouted, “Oh Lord! Oh Lord! Ah can’t stand this pain…”
There are all kinds of jokes about neighbours and mailmen impregnating lonely housewives. In some of these stories, the husbands are naïve and extremely gullible. One example is the man who had just returned from sick leave and was boasting about how much his wife loved him.
“Imagine,” he said, “I didn’t realise she loved me so much that when the milkman and postman walked down the drive she ran out of the house and shouted excitedly, ‘My husband’s home!’”
Fact, however, is always stranger than fiction. According to several newspaper reports, Thomas Beatie, formerly Tracy Lagondino, a former Hawaiian beauty queen, was born female but underwent sex change surgery to wed his partner Nancy legally. As part of the reassignment procedure, Thomas took male hormones, inducing a beard and an outwardly masculine appearance. He kept his womb and ovaries intact in the hopes of one day having a child.
His wife Nancy had a hysterectomy. When Beatie announced he was expecting the child, of an anonymous sperm donor, a backlash ensued. Critics claimed that as a natural-born woman Beatie was not in fact a man but was merely masquerading as one. However, the state of Oregon recognizes his marriage as official and the couple enjoys all the rights and privileges of typical married couples.
Beatie gave birth to his first child (Susan Juliette Beatie) naturally following a 40-hour labour on June 29, 2008. He then gave birth to a boy, Austin Alexander Beatie, on June 9, 2009 and on July 25, 2010, another boy, Jensen James Beatie, was born. It is not known who donated the sperm and who felt the pain but both Thomas and Nancy were overcome with joy on all three occasions.
* Tony Deyal was last seen talking about a man and a woman who decided to save their marriage by buying a water bed but instead they continued to drift apart.
Jagdeo will make ayo sell ayo bodies to feed ya’ll pickney.
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