By Erin Kirsten Stein
Mom, Dad, I want to have his lovechild
"Mom, Dad, it's purely economic. Neither of us can afford to live alone and we don't have anyone else to room with so we are left with only each other. We spend all our time together anyway and we always eat together so we'll save money on groceries too.
Besides, we are getting two bedrooms."
Then it's your Dad's turn.
"You're having sex aren't you?"
So your approach didn't work, but consider the alternative:
"Mom, Dad, I want to have his lovechild."
They wouldn't get the joke.
Of course, all of this depends on your parents. Are they stoic, religious, "no sex until marriage" types? Or the relaxed, hippie, "love is all that matters" types?
Or do they fall somewhere in between?
For those of us with divorced parents we get two camps to deal with.
So why does it matter so much to parents anyway? It's your life right? You need to live and learn and grow on your own.
What if you, being the responsible independent individual you are, want to wait until you and your prospective spouse have graduated from school? What if you want to wait until you both have steady jobs so you can support yourselves? Who can afford marriage now anyway?
There's the sticking point. If parents are giving you money for school, for your rent, they want a say in who lives there. They aren't as concerned if you are out on your own supporting yourself.
But it's also a matter of trust. Parents need to trust their children to be responsible. By the time someone is 20 or 21 years old he or she can probably be trusted to know what's best for him or her.
Parents need to trust the job they did raising their children. They didn't raise idiots.
Parents have this gut instinct to protect you. No matter how responsible or careful you are they think you will get AIDS or get pregnant if you have sex. The best way to guarantee that is to wait until marriage.
Sex is a natural and beautiful thing and parents can't realistically expect you to wait forever. What if you don't get married until you're 38? If you want to wait that long, that's great! But if you don't, what's the big deal?
Unfortunately, sex can have serious consequences. But the responsible, sexually-active person can avoid them.
Some parents just don't want your heart to be broken. To them, living together is a serious relationship step without the marriage certificate to back it up. To them, it's marriage without the commitment.
But if they thought about it, who would want to live with someone who would stay just because he or she is married? If one of you wants to leave but stays out of duty, you'll both be miserable.
I think living together is a great trial period. Can you actually stand to live with this person day in and day out? Wouldn't it be nice to know that before you commit yourself to this person for the rest of your life? Sort of a try-before-you-buy policy.
So, living together is a big step, but I think parents blow it out of proportion. Sometimes it just makes more sense (see the economic argument above) and there's really no good reason not to do it except your parents wouldn't like it.
But are you going to make yourself happy or your parents happy?
I think that if you're happy, they should be too.
Erin Kirsten Stein is a senior majoring in creative writing, journalism and general fine arts studies.