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Father’s Day Question: Can You Be Too Old to Be a New Dad?

(Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP, File)

Can’t say I’m a huge fan of comedienne Chelsea Handler, mostly because of her neverending desire to expose herself, her leftist political views, and her penchant for saying unfunny things.

That being said, Handler can be mildly amusing at times, and in an Instagram post last week, she actually made some interesting points, the chief among them that perhaps there is an age when it’s not appropriate for men to keep fathering children.

Warning: NSFW language

She started by attacking older men who in her view simply have too many offspring:

There’s a new epidemic sweeping the country, and no, it’s not another virus—it’s horny old men who won’t stop spreading their seeds.

And don’t even get me started about these four horny old men who have never met a broken condom they didn’t like. [Photos of Twitter owner Elon Musk and actors Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Alec Baldwin appear onscreen.] They cannot stop procreating. 

Between the four of those guys, they have 32 children.

I disagree with this, by the way. She’s a childless woman who, as my colleague Brandon Morse wrote, made a February “‘Comedy’ Skit About the Life of a Childless Woman [which]… Reeks of Sadness.”

Who are we to tell people how many children they should have? China tried that and it didn’t work out so well. Children are best served by growing up in a two-parent, married household, but shouldn’t parents in those circumstances have as many kids as they want and can afford to raise?

There’s a pattern evident in today’s America of “baby-shaming” by those who think you’re contributing to “climate change” and using up the planet’s limited resources by having a child. What hogwash.

The real problem is that Americans and Europeans aren’t having enough children, not that we’re having too few. I wrote all about it here: Birth Rate in Freefall as 1 in 4 Americans Puts off Having Kids Due to Climate Fears)

I’m a lucky father of four, and a childless friend once called me a “breeder,” implying that I had sinned by bringing souls into this world and caring for them while he was somehow more virtuous by deciding to focus his life’s attention on his own needs and desires. (Sayonara, “friend.”)

But the next part of Handler’s bit actually made sense:

Robert De Niro just had his seventh child at the tender age of 79. Elon Musk clearly isn’t as old as Murdoch or De Niro, he’s not in his 80s, but because of his personality, he may as well be.

I actually don’t get the Musk slam (he’s a relatively young 51 and probably once rejected Chelsea), but DeNiro, who already has six older children (including a 51-year-old, the same age as Elon), did indeed just have a baby with his girlfriend Tiffany Chen. Meanwhile, 83-year Al Pacino and his girlfriend Noor Alfallah just announced the birth of their first child together. He already had three children from two different women. Handler didn’t mention Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, but he just became a father again for the eighth time—at age 73.

I think that’s wrong.

Why? On this Father’s Day, when we pay homage to the fact that dads are an incredibly important part of our social fabric, I feel for these kids of octogenarian parents. Can you imagine Joe Biden changing a diaper? Pacino is older than our declining president. Think he’ll be playing basketball in the backyard with his son? He’ll be 93 when the kid is ten years old. Think DeNiro will be at his daughter’s high school graduation?

He’ll be approximately 97 by the time that date rolls around. I doubt any of these kids will have fond memories of their dads teaching them how to fly fish or check their mirrors before changing lanes on the freeway.

Actuarial tables will tell you that it’s unlikely either Pacino or De Niro will be there to see these kids graduate college, get married, have children of their own, or experience other huge life events as they mature. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow, and it’s always a tragedy when a child loses a parent, but the odds of these guys still being around in ten—much less 20—years aren’t great. I feel it’s my obligation to be there for the children I bring into the world. This is because of a word that has largely lost its meaning for many Americans: responsibility.

To have children when you’re already elderly is, to me, a selfish act. These kids will mostly know their fathers through photographs and other people’s memories. I don’t suggest any of these old men abort babies—but how about not impregnating someone when you’re 83 in the first place? Surely they must know how all this works by now. By the way, just because these grandpas can get someone pregnant doesn’t make those pregnancies risk-free when the dad is at an advanced age.

Handler closes her video with a joke that misses the mark:

So how do we protect the women of the world from horny old men? Don’t worry, I have a plan to stop this madness, and I’m offering to put myself up for auction for any available octogenarians. You can find me on eBay or DoorDash, and for 20% off you can use the code sugar t***.

Actually, maybe all these old men should put themselves up for auction. After all, they are antiques.

Horny old men—it’s never worth the money.

She acts as if the women involved don’t have agency, but they do. They’re choosing to roll the dice that their kid will get to adulthood with a dad in their life.

I feel sorry for the kids. They’ll likely be spending a lot of Father’s Days without their dads. And for all who know what that’s like, whether due to tragedy or illness taking their father too soon, to sign up for that as a certainty seems just plain cruel.

See also:

My Father’s Daughter by Susie Moore

Father’s Day Reflections by Ward Clark

My Dad’s Legacy of Genius, Humor, Humility, Adventure, and Love by Jennifer Van Laar

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