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03/24/2008

Jenny from the bleccch

Dear Ms. Lopez:

Oh, you know what?  That sounds so phony.  I mean, it's just us, right?  Jen and Julie?  J. and J., Lo and ho', shooting the breeze, chewing the fat, anxiously asking each other if our emaciated husbands make us look, you know, kind of pudgy?  Let me start again.

Jennifer.  Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer.

So imagine me poring over the Wall Street Journal, thoughtfully chewing my healthful morning muesli...what, not believable?  Okay, fine.  Picture me completing a punishing circuit of cardiovascular training and rewarding myself with a quick glimpse at the gym's dog-eared copy of The Economist...okay, I didn't say I did that.  Just picture it.  Because we're not all that concerned with the truth here, are we?

In my case, the truth is that on the Internet I happened across an interview you gave People magazine.  I didn't even buy the issue myself.  In your case, the truth is...well, what, exactly?  Let's look at what you told The Christian Science Monitor — I mean, People — about the recent birth of your boy/girl twins:

It was natural. We didn't do in vitro, which I know was reported. Everybody assumed that because we had twins. I wanted to have a baby, but I've always said exactly what I said all those years they (reporters) asked us since we've been married: 'Well, when are you guys gonna have some kids?' 'When it happens naturally, I guess!' And that's when it happened. It was a surprise to us.

Now let me get this out of the way right at the outset: I do not believe that your celebrity robs you of any claim to privacy.  You have every right to reveal as much or as little of your private life as you see fit.  I do not believe that you have any special obligation to be an advocate for other infertile people, nor do I think any less of you — long have I found you most thoroughly fly — for keeping your private pain private.  Because infertility hurts, doesn't it?  You allude to that pain briefly in your hard-hitting tête-à-tête with PBS's Frontline — whoops, People:

You start getting older, you think to yourself, 'Maybe (having kids) is just not meant for me.'

Every infertile I know has faced that feeling, the worry turning to panic, the possibility that maybe, despite all the determination in the world, we won't become parents the way we'd hoped.  You're one of us.  And I can't see holding you to a different standard than I apply to myself: If I don't announce to strangers that my son was conceived via IVF, I don't expect you to, either.  Even if better singers, actors, and seven-time Tour de France winners than you have gone public with their infertility treatment, we all have different comfort levels about how much of our souls we bare to the world, right?

So I don't personally have a problem with your reluctance to confess to treatment.  (By saying "confess," I realize I seem to be suggesting that you actually pursued treatment, despite your unequivocal denial of same.  Don't worry; I just threw that in there as a sop to all the people who read and believed reports of at least two years' duration that you and your "rumpled-looking" spouse were seen at clinics coming and going.)  I mean, I'd like it better if you'd just worked it out with the interviewer ahead of time that you simply declined to answer any questions about your children's conception, but I don't expect you to structure your media encounters around what I would like to see any more than I expect you to run any movie scripts by me before you commit.  (Although come on, Jennifer: a lesbian assassin?  I realize you can't see me, but I am now making the little "call me" gesture with my hand.)

No, where I have a teensy little problem is your statement here:

I knew there was nothing wrong with me. I knew that I could. Deep down, I really wanted it badly...

Jennifer.  Jenny.  Jen.  J.  What.  The fucking.  Fuck?

First off, if you've been trying, as I read in Foreign Affairs, to have a baby for years without any success, then, yes, there is something wrong with you.  It's called infertility.  Deny treatment all you like, but why not admit that?  It's not, like, the dripping clap.  It's not even an embarrassing addiction.  It's a medical condition that affects people in all walks of life.  It doesn't make you any less of a woman, or less of a wife, or less of a bootylicious megastar.  It just makes you human.

But apparently it doesn't make you any more humane, if your second sentence is any indication.  Really, Jennifer: "I knew that I could"?  That sounds a little smug, almost as smug as your husband's assertion that "it never entered my mind that it would never happen."  It's as if you believe it was the strength of your faith, your boundless optimism, and your unswerveable determination that allowed you to conceive.  I ask your leave to differ.  If it wasn't medical help, then it was some good God-damn-me luck.  I would hope you could acknowledge that.

Seems like not, alas.  The way you tell it in the New Republic, medicine and luck played no role; you just wished hard enough and it happened.  "Deep down, I really wanted it badly."  Well, hell, I take it back.  Maybe you're not infertile.  Because that does distinguish you from people who want it only a little.  (You know, just enough to risk their financial stability, test the strength of their relationships, and undergo unpleasant invasive procedures for what is generally a fairly long shot.) 

Look, I don't care what you tell the press about how your children were conceived, although your husband's claim that everything you touch turns to gold does cast an interesting light on the idea of the two of you copulating.  (To his contention that having twins was inevitable because "nothing you do is small," I can muster no comment, as it only forces me to imagine his intimate dimensions, and, Lordy, that's not right.)

Really: I don't care.  Lie if you will.  (Not that I'm accusing you of lying, but if you could produce some of those twins that supposedly run in your family, those skeptical others might find you more credible.  Trot 'em on out.  Give The Nation another photo op.  Careful, though; identicals don't count.)  Deny what you want.  But could you please try not to be such an asshole when you do it?  I and the entire readership of Mother Jones would thank you.

Hope you're well.  Good luck with that triathlon.  I just know your babies will be proud.  See you at the gym!

Love,
Julie

P.S.  Nice pics.  Très Petit Trianon, girlfriend.

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