The Honorable Thing


Things are a bit tough at the moment. You’re telling a young woman who at the moment thinks far too much of you that you think it would be best for everybody involved if you went your separate ways. Everything is going to be fine, but things are going to hurt a little bit in the meantime. You know what she sees this coming. Over the past couple weeks she has latched on to you with the increasing ferocity that comes with knowing that something is about to be lost. You start talking, but before you can get there, she drops a bomb.

“I think I might be pregnant.”

The words echo in your ear and you forget the platitudes that you were attempting to put out there with all earnesty. The strategizing for how you are going to handle the decoupling gives way to a wave of different thoughts, mostly pertaining to not expressing the string of cursewords running through your mind. It’s okay, though. In the narrowest sense of the word “okay”. You don’t know what it says about the current state of affairs that it’s not the first time you’ve been in a situation like this.

Frankly, you think that she’s lying. Probably to herself, but maybe just to you. She is always best at lying to herself. Regardless, the correct response to “I think I might be pregnant” is not “You’re full of excrement” but something else entirely. You’ve never been able to put your finger on exactly what, but you know it doesn’t involve substituting biological terminology for expletives. So you ask “Why do you think that?” when you’re really thinking “Okay, lay out your case, woman.”

She doesn’t have anything concrete to hang her fake fear on. They never do. Either because the symptoms of incoming heartbreak mirror those of pregnancy or because their subconscious is performing some wicked trickery, it’s always vague things like increased breast tenderness, headaches, cramps, and the like. The sort of thing one finds if they google “symptoms of pregnancy”. You try to express with confidence and consolation that she’s not pregnant. She tries to get upset that you don’t want her to be, but she can’t get too upset because that’s what she claims, too. Three times something along the lines of “Of course I hope I’m not, though if I am I’m glad it’s with someone that would help me through it.”

Therein the lies the groundwork for the fork you have in the road. You can dig your heels and tell her that she is of course not pregnant and get on with the whole breaking up thing. Since she almost certainly is not pregnant, you’ll probably get along just fine being straightforward like this. There is always the risk that she’s going to tell people that you ditched her when she said she was pregnant, but her friends don’t matter to you, anyone that knows you knows that you’re not like that, and it’s not in her character to start a smear campaign even when hurt.

If she is pregnant, though, the results can be devastating. You’ve just alienated the mother of your child. You’ve hurt your chances at custody hearings. Most of all, though, you’ve injured the likelihood that you will be able to work with her to come to a satisfactory arrangements and out there on the fringes you’ve probably killed any chance of raising the child with her, which would be ideal with the childz. If she is pregnant and she’s not making any of this up, then the goal is not to keep you from leaving. If you’re the asshat that would call her a liar and ditch her when she’s legitimately pregnant, she might want you to leave.

Everything depends on what you don’t know and by her account you won’t know for a couple of weeks. So you have to go with the other fork in the road, which means dishonestly straddling and waiting to find out if you’re going to leave or if you’re going to try to fix the voluminous problems in your relatively young and previously imminently-discarded relationship. It’s important that if there is a child that you try to make another go of it, you reason. You know that you could do a lot worse than to marry her. You think that if you were insistent on fixing the problems rather than bolting, you’d have a chance of making it turn out all right. The most immediate problem, after all, is her attachment to you and her jealousy over you. With a child in the picture, that becomes moot. You would be attached, after all, and the things that you’re doing that make her jealous would immediately stop.

Regardless, the ball is entirely in her court. When it comes to pregnancy, women have the power. The power to bring it into life and the power to make it go away. The power to tie you down or sometimes to cut you out. She gets the benefit of the doubt in court. She is likely the gatekeeper to your potential child and the person with the legal authority to prevent your child from actually becoming a child. With the burdens and responsibilities that she is under and you are not, she has the power.

So you straddle. You tell her that of course you will be there for her. She puts all the cards on the table and tells you that she’s been getting the impression that you were about to bolt. You can’t outright lie because you probably will be bolting once it’s determined that she’s not pregnant. Instead you say that there are problems but that if she’s pregnant you will work through it. the preciseness of the language is not lost on her. “So you’re only doing this because I might be pregnant?”

You think that she knows that damn well to be the case, but that has to stay as far underground as her intrinsic motivation to try to salvage everything by feigning pregnancy. So you have to come up with some sort of reason beyond the absurdly obvious why her pregnancy matters as to whether or not you will stick with her without coming out and saying it. To tell her that you don’t enjoy her company and don’t want to be with her would likely create some variation of the same problems that dumping her now would. You have to pretend that it’s not about the kid while it surely is and she has to pretend not to see through you while she surely must. So you decide to tell her that you’re giving this your all whether she’s pregnant or not. You just contradicted yourself, but you didn’t outright lie. After all, until the pregnancy test comes back, you’re really going to try to repair things as best you can. It’s important for the child, if it exists, to do the best you can. You keep telling yourself how much worse it could be. You come around eventually and believe it.

Over the next couple of weeks you really do try to make things better. It’s hindered by your subterranean belief that she’s deluded herself or is lying to you, but bolstered slightly by knowing that if she is pregnant then neither of those things are true. You live in two different realities at the same time. In the first, she’s the mother of your child. In the second, she’s a liar or a self-deluded broken heart that’s trying to trap you. On the surface you exist in the first world. Below the surface, you remain cognizant enough of the second so that you do what you had intended to do before this (Staged? Staged. Probably staged).

You and her see one another more over those weeks than you had in the month prior. Gambit or not, she’s getting exactly what she wants. You’re treating her like a princess. Like the mother of your child that you know she isn’t, in one reality at least. You’re keeping all your doubts and anxiety below the surface. You’re being as strong as you can. She periodically brings up the truth that you’re there because she might be pregnant, though she always brings it up in question form in hopes that you will answer unequivocally that you’re in for the long hall. But you’re not, and even the compliant part of you that exists in the surface world knows that to be the case.

You’re sitting in a car in the parking lot of a loan center. She can’t drive because she’s crying too hard. You’ve asked twice what the matter is, hoping that you know the answer, but she just sobs. Finally, she gets it out. Her period started. She wasn’t pregnant. You don’t know whether to tell her that this is good news and that she herself had proclaimed not to want to be pregnant. At this point she could come clean and tell you that she was hoping that she was. She sticks to her story, though. “I know that this is good news, but I feel like I’ve lost something here.” She then looks over at you. “And I’m about to lose something.”

A plane flies above you, indifferently going from somewhere to somewhere else and of no relation to you. Its sound scrapes in your ears, however. The truth is scraping in your ears, too. It’s indifferent to your efforts to imagine your way around it.

You try to comfort her as best you can, but you can’t say the one thing that you know will stop her crying. You hedge. You straddle. You know that now isn’t the time, so you say something vague about knowing what she means about losing the baby that wasn’t there. You make more than one reference to the baby so that she doesn’t get the idea one way or another about losing the other thing.

“You would have been a great father, you know.” She tells you. “That’s what I’ve been telling myself this whole time when I’ve been wondering how I am going to have this baby. I told myself that it was something that we were going to do and that there is no better person to have a child with.”

Two weeks later, you are both single again.

[This post was originally written for Hit Coffee. It has been posted here for possible reference on a future post]

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. In December 2012, around Christmas time, I received the scariest phone call of me life. I just got back to my apartment after spending the day with my parents and my land-line rung. On the other end of the line was a young woman. She told me that she was pregnant. I said thats very nice but who are you. She said you know who I am. I asked her who are trying to call. She said me. I told her that I’m pretty sure that she has the wrong number. She insisted that she did not. I asked her why she was telling me that she was pregnant. The woman said that the baby was mine. I told her that simply can’t be the case because I have no idea who she is and its been awhile since I did you know what anyway. The woman than just gave out a scream and hung up.

    Luckily, I did not hear back from her and she really did have the wrong number. It was still very scary to hear a woman telling me that she’s pregnant with my child even though I know she was calling the wrong number, since the woman did not sound like anybody I know. Thoughts still ranged in my mind of unexpected fatherhood.

    • I had a phone call not along ago from a woman asking where her son was. She insisted that her son had texted her the previous night from my number. She had the number right, and regardless, she hadn’t dialed it manually; she was calling back the number that had texted her. She wasn’t angry, but she was upset, because her son, who had both emotional and substance abuse problems, hadn’t come home, and she was desperate to reach him.

      Her story was impossible. I hadn’t been out the night before, and my phone had spent the whole night on the desk in my bedroom, nor had it sent any messages close to the time she described. I eventually convinced her of that, aided by some hand-waving about how it’s possible to forge the number a text appears to come from. I felt a bit bad about making that up, but I couldn’t find any other explanation, and there was nothing I could do to help her.

  2. Will, I admire you, tremendously. But this pissed me off. So I am going to critique this as a work of fiction. My critique is not kind; feel free to tear it apart.

    Your narrator seems trustworthy.

    Things are a bit tough at the moment. You’re telling a young woman who at the moment thinks far too much of you that you think it would be best for everybody involved if you went your separate ways. Everything is going to be fine, but things are going to hurt a little bit in the meantime. You know what she sees this coming. Over the past couple weeks she has latched on to you with the increasing ferocity that comes with knowing that something is about to be lost. You start talking, but before you can get there, she drops a bomb.

    The timing here seems awfully convenient; a method for the narrator to frame the discussion from his perspective; and attribute things to her that may or may not be reliable. How does he know she senses he’s about to break up with her? There is evidence that she has good reason to think far too much of him; if he’s at a point of breaking up, there has to be something there, some sort of commitment, to break. For a couple of weeks, you say he’s felt this, felt he didn’t want this commitment, doesn’t like this person; simultaneously, she’s just now wondered if she’s pregnant; which, coincidentally, takes a couple of weeks.

    He’s got some culpability because he’s fucking her while he’s not sure he wants to be. Screwing around when you’re beginning to doubt equates to dishonorable behavior, at least by my standards. Maybe that’s just evidence that I’ve read too much Jane Austin, too.

    But I don’t see him shouldering any of the responsibility of that dishonor, and this matters, because that dishonor frames the discussion of honor that follows. There, I see him blaming her; she’s feigning, she’s deluded, she doesn’t have anything concrete to hang her fake fear on. They never do. That last leads me to wonder if this is not the first time this has happened to the narrator; if he’s a repeat offender.

    She could be as horrid and manipulative as he says; but some evidence of her poor character would be helpful; she’s getting what she wants is a cruel line, yet has nothing substantiates it other then his suspicions that she’s imagining herself pregnant as a way to hold onto him. Maybe she really is worried she’s pregnant; given the implied timeline, she’s missed her period by at least two weeks or more — it takes two weeks after ovulation to miss a period that you’d begin to wonder, and then a few more weeks for the story to resolve with it’s final entrance. If my interpretation of the timeline is correct, she could have miscarried. Happens all the time.

    I have not developed any trust for him; so the examination of honor that follows rings hollow. I want to explore his role; his rights, his feelings. This paragraph lies at the heart of the piece, though I’d challenge the notions of actual power held:

    When it comes to pregnancy, women have the power. The power to bring it into life and the power to make it go away. The power to tie you down or sometimes to cut you out. She gets the benefit of the doubt in court. She is likely the gatekeeper to your potential child and the person with the legal authority to prevent your child from actually becoming a child. With the burdens and responsibilities that she is under and you are not, she has the power.

    I do agree on one thing: we should discuss if he should have the right to consent to becoming a parent. Right now, there is a double standard; he get’s consequences of child support and the some minimal relationship of shared parenting that’s legally provoked; she get’s choice about forcing that role on him (though the choice to not become a parent herself, to not force that roll on him is under constant threat, but another story). He consents upon sex; she consents on upon deciding remain pregnant. If she’s pregnant, which he doubts.

    The important exploration of his rights in the face of her power gets lost in your narrator’s story. The only positive light we see is his recognition of what an asshole he’ll look like if she is pregnant and he follows through with his desire to dump her. He’s doing the right things for all the wrong reasons.

    • Ugh. Second paragraph was meant as a question; “Does your narrator seem trustworthy?”

    • The guy is credible insofar as it’s “you” in the second-person sense. He is a character, but he is also not a character. He is the embodiment of the a situation, as is she to an extent. The second-person narrative was primarily meant to place you in the head (and heart) of this individual. It is the situation as he knows, believes, and understands it. He’s talking to himself, more than anything, rather than trying to convince others of his righteousness.

      This work is a line between fact and fiction. I could describe the situations that I have been in, but I would end up bogging the piece down in detail. Hit Coffee is replete with stories talking about things I’ve done and places I’ve been. This was something different. Not exactly a hypothetical, but a sort of “imagine yourself in this situation, and now try to figure out what the honorable thing is.”

      How does he know she senses he’s about to break up with her?

      It’s my experience that they often know it’s coming. They being the dumpee, male or female. And some people are transparent about doubts. They start cancelling plans, getting more alone time, etc. How likely it is that this particular woman knew what was coming or not is unknown. I would say that his skepticism is probably rooted somewhere, though. Protection, few encounters, whatever. Or perhaps a history of this sort of thing happening, which both you and him allude to.

      He’s got some culpability because he’s fucking her while he’s not sure he wants to be. Screwing around when you’re beginning to doubt equates to dishonorable behavior, at least by my standards.

      Well, I’m sympathetic in the sense that ideally, sex would be reserved for committed relationships during the tenure of the commitment. And when he is emotionally or mentally checking out, withdrawing from sex is probably the most honorable thing. But things are often messier than that. For one thing, she may not want to even if she is aware that your time may be limited.

      For what it’s worth, the main thing I think about with the girl going through this is sympathy. It’s a sad situation. The guy in this situation, though, is unlikely to be able to appreciate that until later. He has to navigate a complicated situation for which there is no purely honorable thing. Though, even then, he admits that he could do a lot worse and contemplates giving the relationship another chance if in fact they are going to have the kid together.

      I think the source for a lot of it is wariness. And I would argue that a guy in this situation is right to be wary. Whomever she is, she is hurting. And people aren’t themselves when they’re hurting. If they’re hurting bad enough.

      I agree that he is complicit. There is obviously something that happened to give him the idea that pregnancy is possible, even if he considers it unlikely. And if you have sex, there are always potential consequences. It’s baked in to that particular cake. And ultimately, regardless of a woman’s right to choose, I don’t think there are much of any circumstances that he is morally able to walk away. From the child, anyway. The mother is circumstance-dependent. I do think that we should be sympathetic to a point (if you’re not prepared to self-righteously tell her “you should have thought of that before having sex!” you should be similarly restrained with him), but it is what it is.

      This piece is not really meant to be a political argument in favor of male choice or whatnot. It’s honestly more of a description of a situation. A place, both emotional and logistical. It explores the morally complex area of “You’re here. Now what?”

      The obvious stuff is obvious, at least as far as I’m concerned. He doesn’t suggest that he would pressure her to get an abortion. He gives every indication that he will be there for the kid. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of which way to go. His best solution (and mine) he had was to be complicit in what he believed to be a falsehood, just in case it wasn’t.

      • Thank you, Will.

        It’s that he believes it falsehood that disturbs me; that he assumes this woman, a potential mother of his child, a potential wife, or so you say, certainly a lover, just a few weeks ago, he assumes she is lying to him about being pregnant. And she’s doing it to hang on to him, to put hooks in him. That’s disgusting. It’s like a false rape accusation.

        It’s also possible he’s in denial about what she’s actually going through. He doesn’t believe her, thinks she’s manipulating him, but he’s humoring her, just in case. . . He’s hedging his certainty that she’s lying.

        • To me, important words to me, are… “Probably to herself.” And later talking about the similarity of symptoms and the subconscious. In other words, she’s convinced herself on some level. She’s not knowingly saying something that is absolutely false, as would be the case with a rape allegation. Rather, she is saying she thinks something that could be true is true.

          I’d have a very, very hard time forgiving someone who made a false rape allegation, even under the strain of heartbreak. The pregnancy thing? I’d be more inclined to chalk that up to something more ambiguous. A form of living in two realities, the one that logically says that pregnancy is unlikely (not unlike, as you point out, the two realities that he is living in), and the one where the possibility keeps hope alive.

          • Pregnancy *is* actually an unknown thing until a woman either gets her period or tests positive the day after she would have had her period. Many women have irregular periods, so this time of uncertainty can absolutely last weeks.

            If a woman has sex in this cycle and is not on the pill or something similar, “I think I might be pregnant” is *always* a true statement. It might be unlikely, but she didn’t *know* she wasn’t until she had her period.

            In this way, ending a sexually active relationship is always fraught with this possibility.

          • Eh, I think you’re trying to have it both ways, and I think that doesn’t really work. If the situation is as “you” suspect it is, what she’s doing is, as zic said, a disgusting and terrible thing to do. Either it’s a serious no-shit pregnancy scare and she’s scared too, or it’s serious borderline-abusive manipulation. Exactly where you fall can depend, perhaps, on your relative trust for the two players in the drama. And there can be doubt about which it is; there’s always doubt. But I don’t think you can reasonably land in the middle and call a pregnancy scare a matter of “keeping hope alive”.

            If she is lying to herself, maybe she’s pathological rather than evil, but that doesn’t really change the terribleness of the act. You can feel sympathy, but it’s “and I hope you get the help you need” not “and I understand what you did”.

          • There’s a spectrum of behavior. On the one hand, there’s “I had my period, but I’m not going to tell him that” which is pretty rotten, even if not as bad as some other things. On the other hand, there’s “Come to think of it, I might have missed my pill and though pregnancy is unlikely I should let him know that” which is pretty benign. (I mean, it’s not good to miss your pill and it’s better to let the guy know *before* that you might have, but mistakes happen.)

            In between those two is varying degrees of “internally or externally hyping an unlikely possibility.” Which is more-or-less the behavior I think described in this piece. I don’t think psych0sis is required to show psychosomatic conditions. Nor to warp your own perceptions of the likelihood of something happening.

            (In that sense, “lie” was not an accurate word to use in this piece. It is, though, something that can go through a guy’s mind in part because we lack a good word for “lending a greater likelihood than an unlikely situation warrants.)

            Which, it’s kind of weird. I am on one hand very empathetic to this sort of thing. The exploitation – not a good word but I can’t think of a better one – of this gray area. But I am also somewhat callous and jaded on a woman telling me she feels maybe-pregnant. It’s simply not a real thing to me until there is a test. (The latter got me in trouble early on in my marriage, when Clancy was genuinely worried that she might be pregnant and I was not really worried. It was not my finest moment – even if pregnancy wasn’t an issue, her state of mind should have been a bigger one than it was. It was, interestingly enough, the first iteration of this post that got her and I to revisit the issue and for me to realize that even if I was right about the non-pregnancy, I had not behaved as I should have.)

          • >….we lack a good word for “lending a greater likelihood than an unlikely situation warrants.

            If we consider this post a story, this is exactly the idea that I feel is unexplored but should be.

            “You” in the story seems to believe that the woman has perfect knowledge of whether she is pregnant or not but is not telling him out of spite. This is directly contradicted by the openness she displays at the end in telling him she had her period, but this seems lost on “you”.

            “Lending a greater likelihood than an unlikely situation warrants” is really nowhere close to lying. That “you” equate the two says a lot, but the piece doesn’t say what.

          • It’s one thing to hype up a pregnancy scare because you’re actually scared of pregnancy, even if the fear is out of proportion to the actual risk. It’s another to hype up a pregnancy scare (consciously or unconsciously) as a way of “keeping hope alive” for a relationship.

          • Vikram, I wouldn’t say “perfect knowledge”… but a greater sense of likelihood than she is exhibiting. The second-person you (“SPY”) seems to believe that she likely, on some level, does know how unlikely this all is. SPY could be entirely wrong about that.

            Fnord, I don’t really agree. I’m not sure why hope is a more problematic motivator than fear, when it comes to convincing yourself that something unlikely is actually likely.

          • Will, it’s not that hope is a worse motivation than fear. It’s not like fear (or for that matter hope) is absent in either case, anyway: fear of a break-up rather than fear of a pregnancy. The problem is trying to hold someone in a relationship via emotional blackmail.

  3. I had just graduated from college and was living at my dad’s house. My then-girlfriend was home in Texas. I had just gotten home from delivering pizzas and was on the phone with her. While we were talking, I got an IM (remember IMs???) from a close friend asking if I could pick her up and drive her to CVS because she needed a pregnancy test. I didn’t hesitate to say yes, abruptly telling my girlfriend, “I have to go by a pregnancy test, I’ll call you back,” and hanging up.

    My friend and I drive to the 24-hour CVS. She fears she’s pregnant because she’s late on her period; I don’t remember now if there was any other reason for her to fear, but that can be enough for a 19-year-old in a rocky, long-distance relationship with her boyfriend. She can’t bring herself to buy the tests and being completely devoid of self-doubt or shame, I have no qualms about doing so. “Which ones should I get?” I ask. “Just buy two of the cheapest.” “Really? Is this the right time to save a few bucks?” “Okay, fine, get two good ones.”

    I buy the tests and we drive back to her house. We go into the basement and she goes into the bathroom to take the test. This whole time, I don’t really think about what is going on. All I think about is doing what needs to be done… driving to her house, picking her up, buying the tests, escorting her home.

    Then it hits me: My close friend, a girl I’ve known and loved for over 5 years, might walk out of the bathroom and tell me she’s pregnant. With a baby she almost assuredly doesn’t want. By a guy whose past, present, and future are best described as “uncertain”. And I have NO idea how to respond.

    I damn near ran out right then. And the potential kid wasn’t even potentially mine!

    Thankfully for everyone, both tests were negative and her fears were not realized. Even my girlfriend was still up, giving me the opportunity to explain what must have been one of the strangest ends to a phone conversation ever.

    That is about as close as I ever came to a scare. Early in our relationship (a matter of months), Zazzy called me at work to say she was late. “How late?” “A few hours.” [Click]

    Remaining a virgin longer than most guys and being hyper safe about sex has its benefits, I guess.

    • >“Really? Is this the right time to save a few bucks?”

      This is what they count on when they mark up the same product 100% or more. 🙂

      > Thankfully for everyone, both tests were negative

      This is the movie-script version of how pregnancy tests work. If she got a negative result that night, she could still wake up the next morning and get a positive result. The test only works the day after when she would have otherwise had her period. Before that, it communicates no new information.

      • As I understand it, she was several days late. But I don’t know how regular her period was at that point. She was 20. I think her period ultimately came a few days after.

        But we were young and didn’t really understand any of this. I wonder what the response would be to including education about pregnancy tests in sex ed classes.

        • To extend on that second point, there is still a lot I don’t understand about pregnancy tests…

          – I think different brands use different methods. Is one more effective than another? Do either lead to greater rates of false positive and/or false negatives?
          – Hell, what is the difference between a false positive and a false negative?
          – When should a pregnancy test be administered?
          – What other signs should someone look for besides a late period?

          It wouldn’t shock me to learn that a number of girls and women take the test the day after unprotected sex, get a negative result, and don’t find out until much later they are pregnant.

          • Speaking to point #2, a false positive is when the test says you’re pregnant, but aren’t, and a false negative is when a test says you’re not pregnant, but you really are. They’re in constant tension; improving one parameter tends to worsen the other, so you have to decide which way you’d rather be wrong, if that’s going to happen.

          • IANAD, but yes, there are different tests. The most popular and reliable one will only give you a positive result if the woman is indeed pregnant and it is the day after the woman would have had her period anyway. Also, the woman really should pee on it in the morning with her first pee of the day. Otherwise, the concentration of the hormone to be detected will be too low, giving a negative when the woman is actually pregnant. The “negative” result really should be labeled a “maybe” or “try later”. This test rarely if ever produces false positives.

            That, of course isn’t fast enough for a lot of people, so there are some “early response” tests. With these, a negative still means “maybe” or “try later”. A positive, however, means “you’re probably pregnant, but take the other better test in a couple days to find out for sure”. These tests, however, produce false positives somewhat frequently.

            >Hell, what is the difference between a false positive and a false negative?

            False positive = saying you’re pregnant when you’re really not.
            False negative = saying you’re not pregnant when you’re really are
            Tests always trade-off these two things. In scientific research, we are more concerned about false positives than false negatives, so we calibrate tests to give a false positive rate 5%. I would argue that for pregnancy tests, the same sort of dynamic applies. I’d much rather have a high false negative rate than get a false positive.

            >When should a pregnancy test be administered?

            The most sensitive tests I am familiar with will still report only negatives until a couple of days before a woman has her period (and even then with the first pee of the day). IMHO, you are better off just waiting till after the woman is supposed to have her period and then take the less sensitive test unless those extra two days of notice that you *might* be pregnant are really valuable to you and you won’t freak out one if two days later you find out you weren’t actually pregnant after all.

            Again, the test should be the first pee of the day so that the hormone being tested for is available in the right concentration to be detected.

            >What other signs should someone look for besides a late period?

            Besides a positive pregnancy test?
            There are some symptoms like morning sickness or a craving for some foods or nausea toward certain odors, but these will only appear after the period is already late…

            > take the test the day after unprotected sex, get a negative result, and don’t find out until much later they are pregnant.

            I think this has probably happens fairly often. When you’re worried about having gotten pregnant, reading the fine print on the box is probably not high on your agenda. Also, I think people know how the tests work from various movies and TV shows, so they don’t bother to see whether it is true or not.

          • Vikram, I applaud you on knowing as much about this as you do. I learned it all (or a lot of it) eventually, though not under desirable circumstances. When Clancy and I were trying, we simply did the test like clockwork. We were of course anxious to find out if we scored, but not in the same sense that one is fearful of an unwanted pregnancy and counting down the days until you’re sure.

          • Thanks, Kevin and Vikram. I’d love to see this information offered via scho sex ed classes. Fat chance of that, though.

  4. In game theory class, you learn about some situations like this as described in the story. The threat of pregnancy is the nuclear bomb. No matter how strong a possibility it is that it is a bluff, you have to treat it as real because the consequences of it not being a bluff are too dire.

    Then again, “I think I might be pregnant” isn’t a true bluff because she cannot have perfect knowledge as to whether she is in fact pregnant or not. There was always some possibility, so saying she is full of excrement would be unfair not only for the reasons in the story but also because it’s would be untrue.

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