Croatian people are obsessed with fertility.
I am by no means a cultural anthropologist. This fertility obsession is merely an anecdotal observation.
As an American, I am accustomed to strangers taking personal responsibility for my uterus. You would almost think that congressmen are more emotionally invested in My Uterus than I am.
In fact, there are so many strangers caring about each other’s Uterus’ that they had to enact a law that said that pro-life advocates could not protest abortion clinics within so many feet of clinic doors. That law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer because the Supreme Court Justices did not feel that enough Uteruses were being adequately protected.
I assume that’s the reason, anyway.
I get emails from both the university’s Pro-Life Club and the Pro-Choice Club, often back to back.
Little old ladies on college campuses pass out little bloody rubber fetuses.
That’s what your baby will look like when you kill it.
Lady, I can guarantee this Uterus is emptier than the heart of a Wall Street banker who spends his weekends seal hunting.
This summer the Supreme Court also decided that a craft store chain did not have to provide health insurance coverage for two types of contraceptives- IUDs and morning after pills because, contrary to all scientific evidence, the shareholders of the company believe that these contraceptives cause abortions. They also appear unclear on the definition of contraceptive.
You would think that, being shareholders for a store called Hobby Lobby, these men would have hobbies more meaningful or at the very least, more constructive and creative than concerning themselves with Uteruses, but Uteruses seem to be the objects to which they chose to devote their time and energy.
Like a shrine?
No, then the Shrine Vessels would be paid more. Maybe even paid the same. Might even have maternity leave and not get fired.
So you see, strangers taking responsibility for my Uterus is nothing new. I had just assumed that the only strangers concerned about my Uterus were rich white Republican males and little old ladies with bloody rubber fetuses.
Don’t get me wrong. I am also quite concerned about my uterus. I hope that one day it’ll grow something- preferably a human something or two, although I suppose I’d also like a cat or maybe even a dog. I try to avoid plastic water bottles; sometimes I remember to opt out of the full body scanner at the airport. The TSA says they’re safe, but I figure you can only go through a giant x-ray so many times before you wind up with a six-headed snake hair baby with webbed toes. For God’s sake, they give you a lead apron at the dentist.
My main uterus-related concern for the moment, however, is, as a twenty-three-year-old graduate student, that it doesn’t grow anything- fetuses, cats, dogs, tumors, cysts, nothing. These eggs are unfertilized and, if my once again newly single relationship situation is any indication, will likely stay that way forever.
One demographic from which I believed My Uterus to be safe was that of teenage girls.
Valentina found me on sitting cross-legged on the ground playing with the cat.
“Bok!” I greeted her. She looked back at me and appeared to be horrifically offended.
“What are you doing?”
I assumed that maybe I was not supposed to be playing with the cat, and maybe outdoor cats were not meant to be shown affection.
But that was not the problem.
“The ground, it is cold.”
It had been about ninety-degrees that day. The concrete was most certainly not cold.
Maybe she was having a hard time explaining the problem to me in English? I told her she could try in Croatian, and that I would do my best to understand.
Same thing. It was not good for me to be sitting on the cold ground.
Maybe she was just being polite? Perhaps she found it inappropriate for a guest to sit on the ground. I didn’t mind sitting on the ground. I work in dirt, for God’s sake. Sitting on concrete is like taking a bath. By this time, Nada had emerged from the main house to see what had her granddaughter so worked up, and they started speaking very quickly and enthusiastically in Croatian. I couldn’t understand. Nada demanded that I sit somewhere else because where I was sitting was unhealthy.
Now Lisa had finally finished her shower and come out of her room, and I say finally because Lisa seems to have had some experience with being told off for sitting on concrete floors in Croatian courtyards. Valentina turned to her, still very concerned, and told her that I was sitting on the ground and that it was cold. Lisa, having previous experiences with floor-sitting, nodded and said to me that I could not sit on the ground because it was bad for fertility.
Still confused, I looked behind me, thinking that maybe they were trying to let some plants grow between the cracks in the cement. Not seeing any plants, I asked if she was talking about the plants’ fertility.
No, Lisa said. They’re worried about your fertility.
I stared back at them blankly for a second before bursting into a fit of laughter.
I know you’re not supposed to laugh at foreign customs and beliefs. But it just came out. I was sorry afterward for offending them.
They might be onto something though if the new health insurance mandate doesn’t work out. Plan B? Nah, I think I’ll just go have a sit, thanks.