As you know, I hold in contempt women who try to use sex to get ahead. Those who go the extra mile and intentionally or negligently conceive children out of wedlock for the purposes of gold-digging or ensnaring a man deserve a special place in Hell for the havoc they cause to the man’s family and to their own child.
So of course, this Dear Prudence letter in Monday’s Slate really pushed my buttons:
Q. Death Around the Holidays: A man I work with and with whom I’ve had an affair the last two months died suddenly over the weekend. I am pregnant with his child. He didn’t know. His current wife, now widow, doesn’t either. How do I broach this subject? His estate is rather large.
A: I’d say I’m sorry for your loss, but since apparently you aren’t, I won’t bother. For your financial interests, contact a lawyer specializing in family law. I don’t have any advice on where you go to get help for your lack of morals—or heart.
I applaud Emily Yoffe’s pithy and unsympathetic response, but I’ll go a step farther: I am guessing (and kind of hoping) that this gold-digger will make little headway on those “financial interests” she seems so keen on.
Alas for Ms. Tart, if the man in question really did have a “rather large” estate, then a phrase like this one almost certainly appears in his will:
General Disinheritance. Except as otherwise provided herein, I have intentionally omitted to provide for any of my heirs, or persons claiming to be my heirs, whether or not known to me.
Yeah, don’t snag your fishnet hose on the way out.
Morally speaking, the dead man is most definitely not off the hook; after all, he engaged in this sleazy extramarital affair, too, and apparently took no contraceptive precautions. Legally speaking, though, his estate might very well be off the hook if he has a well-written will.
But I see the tart as even more morally reprehensible. Given that the affair was just two months long and she already knows that she is pregnant, I have little doubt that she fully intended to conceive with her rich, married lover. Perhaps in her mind, she replayed the best-case fantasy scenario: he falls in love with her, he wants to raise their child together, he divorces his wife and marries Ms. Tart, and they live happily ever after in the shining mansion with the pool out back. The old wife and any other children fade quietly into the background. Maybe they move on and find someone else; whatever – they’re not part of this fantasy.
The real outcome of such child-bearing sleaze-fests is usually something far less glamorous, and highly uncertain. In taking the apparently “easy” gold-digger route to a steady income for the next 18 years, Ms. Tart chose to put herself and her future child into a tenuous situation to begin with; had her faithless-husband-lover lived on, she could have sued for child support, sure, but how much? How easily enforced? And at what cost in ruined lives – the lives of her lover, his wife, his existing children and even her own child?
But the faithless-husband-lover did not live on. Now, Ms. Tart and her child will face the worst-case scenario: they may very well get nothing.
The moral for tarts: don’t conceive children as props to get into a man’s wallet: aside from the tremendous damage to everyone but yourself (not that you seemed to care about that), it’s not a guaranteed free ride (the part you do care about).
The moral for men: being dragged into a paternity case in front of your wife and (other) kids is even less fun than using a condom.