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Jewish World Review June 10, 1999 /26 Sivan 5759

Bob Greene

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Econophone

A story of Sex, the SuperBowl and your wife


http://www.jewishworldreview.com --
SEX, AS WE HAVE been endlessly informed, is one of the main components driving the worldwide computer network. More people reportedly log onto their computers in search of sites pertaining to one form of sex or another than any other area of interest. But what do you make of this: Now a site has sprung up -- marketed toward men, who are said to be the gender most interested in the sex sites -- with an entirely different approach to sex.

This site exists to help men in their quest to keep away from sex -- to avoid it.

Not all the time -- just on days that might result in their wives, nine months later, giving birth to babies on the same day as important sporting events.

Yep. If you're trying to find the ultimate symbol of what our new cyberwired society is evolving into, it may come down to this site, which exists so that sports fans won't have to miss the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup for such a paltry reason as being in a hospital delivery room while a son or daughter is being born.

"People plan pregnancies pretty carefully these days," said Lara Hoyem, spokeswoman for the site, which has its offices in San Francisco. "Teachers, for instance, like to plan their pregnancies so that their babies are born in the summertime, when they're off school. This is merely an extension of that -- it allows men to plan their wives' pregnancies so that the birth of a child does not conflict with a big game the man wants to watch.

"Parenthood means a shift in priorities," Hoyem said.

Here's how it works:

Men go to the site, and select a sporting event from a long list the site's creators -- Mark Selcow and Matt Glickman -- have provided.

Let's say a man wants to watch next summer's Major League Baseball All-Star Game -- not the one this year, the one in the summer of 2000. He clicks onto the listing for the game -- and is informed that he should avoid having sex with his wife in the days around Oct. 19 of this year. (All computations are based on the standard nine-month pregnancy.)

Or if the man wants to watch all of the Summer Olympic Games next year, he clicks on -- and learns that any days surrounding the span between Christmas this year and Jan 9, 2000 would be good days to stay away from his wife.

"Some sporting events are not available yet," Hoyem said. "For example, the NFL schedule for next year hasn't been released yet, so we aren't able to advise about those football games until we have the schedule."

If a woman is already pregnant? There is another part of the site that tells a man just what he may miss when his child is being born. If a woman's due date is, say, August 13 of this year, the husband is in danger of missing the PGA championship and the Soap Box Derby, which fall in the days surrounding the anticipated birth.

If the woman's due date is Nov. 18 of this year, the man may miss the Ohio State-Michigan football game. If the woman's due date is Jan. 2, 2000, and the baby is born within days of that, the man may miss the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, several minor bowl games, and the NFL's wild card weekend.

By reporting this here, we are in no way endorsing what the site stands for -- in fact, the site itself seems quite ambivalent about the service it provides. "Will the birth of your child interfere with your enjoyment of spectator sports?" an advisory note on the site asks. "While we here at BabyCenter do not condone your swinish behavior, we have provided you with this handy Birth & Labor Conflict Catcher."

Some people who have viewed the site are extremely angry, Hoyem said: "We just received an e-mail the other day from a woman who said that the men who (use the site) should be sterilized if they choose sports over their wives in labor." But one man, Hoyem said, contacted the site "requesting that we add NASCAR schedules because otherwise this won't benefit him at all."

And if a man's wife does, indeed, go into labor on the day of a big sports event the man has tickets to attend in person?

The site has an area that provides a map and detailed directions from the stadium or arena to the hospital where the wife is scheduled to give birth.



JWR contributor Bob Greene is a novelist and columnist. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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