A while back I had written a couple of posts
about The Talk
: my misadventures in providing Frick's sex-education. I had the intention of writing about my own sex-education, but other more pressing posts needed to be written. And then I read this hilarious post
by Yvonne at Attracted to Shiny Things.
Yvonne, you and I need to start some kind of support group for PTTSD: Post-The Talk Stress Disorder.
I know the title of my post implies that my experience was more
traumatic but that's not really the case. They're just about equal in their capacity to scar for life, Yvonne's being slightly more pornographic, but I wanted a snappy title. If you haven't clicked over to her post yet, do it now
. (NOW, I say!) That shit is pretty danged graphic.
First, let me tell you how I really
learned about sex.
I was a shy kid so I didn't make a friend of my very own until I was nine years old. I just played with my brothers and their friends (all of whom are younger than me). One day the new girl, Jenny, approached me and informed me that I was to come call on her after school that day. We were inseparable from that moment until the day she moved away again, 6 months later. I never understood why she wanted to be my friend. I was skinny and goofy-looking and unpopular.
|I bore a striking resemblance to this man. |
Jenny was cool and pretty and had long hair. Also, she had breasts! Nine years old and she had breasts. I had to learn her secrets! This was a time when nine-year olds with breasts was pretty rare.
One day Jenny was in an unusually pensive mood. We were just sitting around, bored, when out of nowhere she just blurted out an entire textbook of sexual information; puberty, menstruation, intercourse, babies. My theory is that her mother had just given her The Talk the night before (what with her having breasts and all) and she was still dealing with the trauma. I was shocked. I accused her of lying to me. She swore it was true. A few days later she had stolen the instructions from her mother's tampon box to show me as some kind of evidence.
Seeing the official Tampax logo on those instructions (and suddenly realizing that they most definitely were not
weird adult Tootsie Rolls as I had thought) I was convinced. And slightly horrified. And maybe a little grossed out. This topic occupied most of our conversations from thereon after. We giggled a lot
So that was my introduction to sex-ed. By no means accurate or complete (much was left to our imaginations), but a beginning.
Now let me tell you how my mother thinks I learned about sex.
I was in 7th grade. By that time the public school system had already got to me in the form of late eighties AIDS-awareness programs in health classes. Also, I learned all about teen pregnancy from watching DeGrassi Jr. High. Also, it's just about the only thing twelve year olds ever talk about. It seems that Mummy was the last
person to tell me about the birds and bees. And it's such a shame because her somewhat improvised presentation was resourceful and
creative. I'm sure she felt positive about the whole thing, and rightfully so, as I imagine her own education probably consisted of an informative book discreetly left on her bed....if that.
We were in the kitchen making dinner. I was tearing lettuce for a salad and my mother was making a stuffing for our entree that evening...roast turkey. As we were thus engaged, she started giving me evaluative, sidelong glances, which were making me slightly nervous. Then she started talking.
"So your breasts are really developing..." (they weren't)
"...and you'll likely be starting your period soon..." (Mummy had told me about periods when I got my first bra, not realizing that Jenny had already stolen her thunder thereby depriving her of my initial shock and denial.)
"...and I just wanted to make sure you know how babies are made."
"Oh." I had no idea what to say. I knew I was about to hear my Mom talk about sex things. I silently prayed that this would be quick and painless. Well, at least it was quick.
Don't answer that! It's a setup! No, she's expecting an answer. Deny it! No! Blame the school!
"Uh, sure. They uh, taught us in health class....sperm meets egg....(unintelligible teenage mumbling)"
does the sperm get
to the egg?"
(Jaw flapping but no sounds coming out.)
"Well, whaddaya think? A man walks into a room and impregnates a woman by osmosis?"
(Finally able to produce sound) "Uh....uh....uh...."
At this point, based on my extreme embarrassment, she may have had some idea that I knew at least a little bit about sex but she bravely continued.
And that's when she did this:
"This," she announced, grabbing a cucumber off the counter and brandishing it at me, "Is a penis. Having sex means putting the penis into your vagina, but these days sex can be dangerous-"
Yanks open a drawer and pulls out the Saran Wrap.
"So you have to protect your self-" (wrapping the end of the cucumber in Saran Wrap) "like this. But with condoms. But you know if you don't have any condoms you probably could
use Saran Wrap."
And that's when she demonstrated exactly
how her newly protected cucumber was going to make sweet, sweet love to our supper without producing unholy veggie-turkey babies or
contracting poultry-based STDs. Needless to say, I had very little appetite at the dinner table that night.
Really Mummy? Saran Wrap? I can't really judge you too harshly for that one seeing as how at the time you hadn't thought about contraception since you had your tubes tied in 1980, but that's pretty bad advice. I guess as a responsible, forward thinking Mom you felt that something, even Saran Wrap, was better than nothing. At least you didn't just say, "Sex: Don't Do It!" or "Just say, NO!" which would have been even less effective in preventing pregnancy than plastic wrap.
I commend you for doing your very best, Mummy. It's not an easy conversation to have with your kid at any age.
(On a lighter note, during my research on MacGyver-inspired birth control I found out that people have used:
-a snack-sized Doritos bag
-spermicide made from toothpaste
I don't know what's worse: allowing someone to put that stuff in your vagina or allowing the guy dumb enough to think it would work into your vagina.)