Monday, July 21, 2008

The Birds and the Bees

I was at that difficult age in life where you think you know everything but in reality, you’re just too dumb to know that you don’t know a darn thing. I remember on several occasions when my mom tried to tell me about the “facts of life” I just wasn’t interested in listening (plus it was a little weird when she pulled out a cartoon book about where babies come from) and so I went to about the age of 12 not knowing or caring. My world came crashing down around me one day when I was handed a piece of paper from my health teacher. The paper was a permission slip for me to take sex ed. I didn’t want to take sex ed, it was embarrassing and it made me blush, a lot. But if I didn’t go, I would be humiliated in front of my classmates. The permission slip needed my parent’s signature for me to take the class. I was in a pickle because if I didn’t show it to my folks and have them sign it, I would be an outcast and have to sit in another class while everyone else and their dog learned about the miracle of life. On the other hand, if I did show it to my mom (the usual signer of school permission slips) then there was a very probable chance that she would read what she was signing and we’d have to talk about “it.” Which of my options would be the least humiliating?
I decided that since I was so grown I should just face the music and ask my mom to sign the permission slip. I remember the little details so clearly, I remember that we were driving home. Mom and I were alone and we were driving along the winding Skagit highway with the river to our left and the green forest of Washington to our right. I remember the exact location where this particular incident happened. I took a deep breathe and pulled the devil’s permission slip out of my backpack. “Mom,” I said “I need you to sign this permission slip.” “What’s it for?” she heartlessly asked. Darn, I thought, why did I have to have a mother that cared so much? “Well it’s for permission to take a class in school.” She nodded her head and I thought I’d slipped past her. “What’s the class?” Crap! “Oh, just for health class, we’re starting a new chapter and for some reason they want our parents to say it’s ok for us to be in the class.” I tried not to rush it but I was starting to get panicky. “What’s the chapter about?” Dang, woman, you just don’t know when to stop do you? I decided to switch tactics; I would bare the humiliation of not watching a live birth with my friends. I didn’t really need the class; my mom and I could just go back to the way things were, when sex didn’t exist. I chuckled “Oh, it’s silly, they chapter is on sex and all of that stuff.” My mom nodded (I think she knew the whole time) “I don’t know if I’m comfortable with you learning about sex in school.” She said. I could tell she was torn, if I didn’t learn it in school, where else would I learn it? She had unsuccessfully tried to talk to me but it made her as uncomfortable as it made me. I decided to ease her decision. “Mom, don’t worry about it. I don’t need to take the class.” That’s it don’t over do it. “I already know about all that stuff anyway.” She quickly turned her head to glance at me then she called my bluff “You already know about what stuff?” I knew I had her; I had manipulated her into deciding I didn’t need to take the class. I could tell the kids at school my mom wouldn’t let me take the class. I decided to seal the deal “I know that girls have periods and boys don’t have anything to worry about.” Yep, I was on a roll “It’s so unfair that we have to deal with that stuff and boys have it so easy.” My mom once again looked at me and asked “That’s what you know about sex?” I smiled and nodded, it was good to be me. “Let me see that permission slip.” She ordered. I happily handed it to her fully expecting her to dramatically tear it up and throw it out the window into the river below. Good-bye sex, forever! I watched her with anticipation and then horror as she placed the paper on the steering wheel, while still driving, and signed the permission slip saying that the school had permission to teach her naive daughter that boys really don’t have it as easy as previously believed.
I don’t remember my sexual education class; I think I blacked it out. It was a little too traumatic for me, but I am now a well educated adult. I know the facts about where babies come from, how they get here and that it has nothing to do with birds or bees, but I still stand by my original belief that boys have it easier than girls…

7 comments:

4funboys said...

this is "the week" for me to COMPLETELY agree with you...

hil said...

(anybody watch The Office? this is my impression of Dwight:) FACT: boys have it easier than girls. i'll tell you two stories to support my agreeing statement. when i was a missionary, i was told that some girls don't have their periods at all when they are on missions. so, i packed about 160 pads in my suitcase thinking that would be enough and to spare, and then i got picked for a "random" bag search. oh, that poor 20 something pulling out pad after pad after pad in front of me and my dad. anyway, not only did i not skip my period, it doubled. every 2 weeks for 18 months. sweet action---especially for a missionary with an ocd serving in the 3rd world. anyway, next boys have it easier story is the story of Darby's birth. i'll spare you most of the gorey details, but i went in to labor on monday, Darby was not born until thursday. 71 straight hours of contractions and then over an hour of pushing. i had the episiotomy from hell which didn't heal for over 2 months. and people wonder when i'll have another baby?!! when the child can be removed laproscopically, dammit! just kidding. i just still remember the last one so vividly...so, long and short of it is that i SO agree with you. i learned about the birds and the bees on the streets. i remember my sex-ed class. i was 12 and i almost passed out (literally) when they talked about childbirth. hmmm, i must've inately known what was to come... anyway, i love your stories and i love your guts.

gigi said...

I agree. It seems our mothers went to the same school of uncomfortableness. Which made for my being the same.
I meant that we were going to start talking about sex early with my boys. We were fishing in a boat one day when I decided it was time to talk about sex, they couldn't get away unless they jumped out of the boat and swam away. My boys had picked up the word faggot. So I needed to explain why we weren't going to use that word. Then I asked if they new the correct terms for our body parts. Travis piped up and said, "yes a boys is a penis and a girls was a venus." I think they were 7 and 5 years old. Harrison kept his back to me the whole time and Trav, the baby was a willing particpant. When I started talking about it, Harrison asked his daddy to tell me to hush. Before long he said, "daddy please don't bring her fishing any more!" I still look back on how funny that was. Harry didn't help much by saying "Yeah, we'll leave her at home she does talk to much!"

hil said...

i have a quote that goes with this post. it is, of course, from Golden Girls (we miss Estelle!) and it goes a little something like this: "Being a mother isn't easy. If it were easy, fathers would do it."

Washington Cowgirl said...

Oh, Hil, you know it's true.

Aramie Randall said...

You are freakin' hilarious! I literally almost wet my pants when I read your comment on my blog. By the way, while we are on the subject of childbirth, wetting your pants becomes an involuntary bodily function occasionally once you have given birth to a watermelon-sized midget. So clench those buttox when you feel a sneeze coming on, gilrs!

Aramie Randall said...

In one episode of The GG's (oh, Sophia, why have you gone and left me so alone?!?!?), Sophia says that Dorothy weighed 32 pounds when she was born. Dorothy says "You know ma, you're really hurting my feelings." Sophia replies "not as much as you hurt my oonie." So true, wise sage. So true.