Children are Humans, not Handbags.

When we were originally given the topic "Sexual Ethics", my immediate thought-because I'm a sick bastard like that-was of Aristotle, Spinoza, and Nietzsche in various compromising positions. With toys. Maybe whips and chains (Aristotle, in particular, liked the kink). I told you I was a sick bastard, didn't I?

There are many ways to be sick, and many ways to be a bastard, and many ways to even be both at the same time. Attaching your child to a leash is one of them.

I was at the store a few days ago when I saw two toddler-age children wearing oddly small backpacks. But they were cute, shaped like monkeys (the backpacks, that is, not the children. Although I suppose most children at that age resemble monkeys in a way.)-until I realized that the overlong tails, in fact, led to the very manicured hands of a very oblivious mother, and that the cute, monkey backpacks in question were actually harnesses and the tails were their leashes. Child leashes. Overspoiled Highland Park mother. Monkeys. I stood there in slack-jawed wonder with a bag of powdered sugar in my limp hand.

Words could not express...

Putting your child on a leash is horrifying and pretentious and lazy in a way around which I can't even wrap my brain. Disguising them to look like cute little monkeys so you can gab away on your phone to your girlfriend about the sale at Neiman-Marcus (because that's what she was doing) is even worse.

"...no, *sigh* I have Avery and Blaine..."

Avery and Blaine. But of course their names were Avery and Blaine. What else could they have possibly been?

"...KNOW, I can't BELIEVE she did that to her hair..."

I stood there under the pretense of scouring the baking aisle, while surreptitiously watching the antics of Monkey Avery and Monkey Blaine. If Oblivious Highland Park Mom had been paying attention, she would have noticed two things: One, that there was a strange woman standing in the baking aisle far too long and stealing glances at her children, and two, that said children were running amok, despite being strapped unceremoniously to leashes. But of course she didn't. She was...oblivious.

As I watched, Monkey Blaine and Monkey Avery got into a tussle with one another, and Oblivious Highland Park Mom didn't even bat an eyelash or pause for breath in her conversation. A moment after that, Monkey Blaine darted forward and pulled some bags of brown sugar off the shelves. Without even sparing him a glance, Oblivious Highland Park Mom yanked him backward and kept talking.

And it suddenly occurred to me that because of those leashes, Oblivious Highland Park Mom felt she was absolved of all responsibility of having to look after her children. Why did she have to break her conversational stride when all she had to do was give the leashes a yank now and then if she felt the monkeys getting restless? If they hadn't been on leashes, would she have paid more attention to them? I would never know, but I was willing to bet she had a nanny for the times when being a mom was just too mom-like and she needed to get liposuction or Botox or, I don't know, have an affair with her husband's golfing buddy. And then I started thinking of all the materially overspoiled children I knew, and how they always inevitably grew up into entitled teenagers and snotty, socially irresponsible college students, who would then turn into oblivious, distant parents themselves.

This, then, is the logical end to a lack of sexual ethics, I thought to myself, This is what happens when you have the sex that makes the kid without first thinking, really thinking, of what you'll do when they arrive, or what type of parent you'll be, what type of kids you want your children to be, and whether or not you'll raise them to understand the things that truly matter in this world are respect, and love, and joy, and owning up to your mistakes and trying very hard not to drag people into others, and taking responsibility for your life, and whether or not you will ever just say "No."

And it made me wonder that, if the time ever comes that my own sexual ethics fail me and I end up pregnant, would I be a mother strong enough to say, "No, no, NO, I will be better than this," or would I just attach my monkey children to their leashes and drag them along behind me? I could only hope it's the former.