Firing from the Lip

A collection of thoughts, stories, tall tales, half truths and opinions from the Heartland of America.

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Location: Missouri, United States

An irreverent but loving grandfather of five and father of three, I enjoy writing of family, love, life, and the never ending fascination of it all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sex Education, Dad Style

My father was a man of many talents, explaining the "facts of life" to his young son was not among them.

I always laugh when I recall Dad’s attempts to prepare me for my grand entrance into the world of sex. It was riotously funny, informative, and quite useful in the long run. I was worried, knowing my dad, that I’d be the only guy in the world that knew less after "the talk" than I did before.

I went to Dad when I was thirteen-years-old, I walked into his shop and stood around for a few moments, trying to decide on how to broach the subject. Pop gave me a curious glance a time or two, and finally asked, "what’s on your mind, Luke?’ "Pop, I’ve got questions." "Oh God, I knew it." My poor Dad’s face got red, and he didn’t say anything for a few moments, but when he began to talk, it was worth the wait.

"Ain’t you a bit young to be thinkin’ about sex, boy?"
"I don’t think so?"
"I’m sure you don’t. So, you got somebody special in mind?"
"Pop! I ain’t telling you that!"
"Yeah, I thought so, I’ve seen how these little neighbor girls act around you. Up to sparkin’ are ya?"
"Oh, God! I should have asked Mom!"
"Sit down, boy. Well, I guess I can give you the basics, but there’s a lot you just have to learn on your own, son. You’d be better off to just wait a spell. It ain’t somethin’ to take lightly."
"I know that, that’s why I’m asking you, and I don’t want to wait, I’ve waited long enough! Most of my friends have already done it."
"Bullshit, most of your friends are too dumb to jack off, son. Speaking of that, I guess you know how to do that, huh?"
"Aww, geez! I knew this was a bad idea!"

Laughing, my father sat me down on one of his little work benches and pulled his own up to me. "I’m sorry, baby. I shouldn’t have laughed at you, I know it’s hard to ask the kinds of questions you want to. I’ll just tell you a few of the things to watch out for, ok?" Finally, we were making some headway. When the old man said he’s start with the basics, he wasn’t kidding. Even a thirteen-year-old boy isn’t completely ignorant!

"Well, son, women are different than us."
"Yeah, Pop. I had that part figured out."
"Shut up and listen, smart ass."
"Yes sir, sorry."
"Well, Donnie, I guess I’ll just tell you how things work, and then we can talk about anything you didn’t understand, okay?"
"Sure, Pop, that will be fine."

Looking around his shop, Pop saw what he was looking for on his workbench, and walked back to me carrying a ratchet and a socket. "Well, son. It’s like this here ratchet. See how the socket fits on it? That’s pretty near how a man and a woman go together." Huh? Was he serious? I had to be the only guy in the world that learned how men and women went together from his old mans socket set! Good grief!

Pop thought it wise to tell me about a woman’s menstrual period as part of the basic course. I had an idea something crazy went on once in awhile with women, but I damn sure hadn’t known they bled like that!

We were off to a bad start. So far, I’d discovered nothing, except that women bled on a regular basis for some God-awful reason that was a mystery to the old man. It wasn’t exactly reassuring when he said, "you don’t need to worry about that, unless they don’t bleed, then you’re up shit creek without a paddle."
"Why’s that?"
"Oh, Jesus Christ, son. That means they’re pregnant. The rabbit done died, and you, my boy, will be tee-totally screwed if that happens! Not to worry, I’ll buy you some rubbers to wear. Don’t even ask how they go on, sonny. There’s a picture on the box."
"Yes, sir. So, these rubber deals will keep me from getting a girl pregnant?"
"Damn right, as long as you use them every time! That don’t mean get a boner and forget every damn thing I’m telling you, do you understand?"

I was getting a headache by then. I just sat and stared at Pop as he grinned like the Cheshire Cat and shook his head. I think the old man was feeling better about things. It was obvious I was dumber than a stump on the subject of sex. For some reason, he seemed to find that reassuring.

We sat and talked for a while, and Pop taught me a lot, in his own way. His methods weren’t impressive, but they were effective. "You ever heard of VD?" Yes, I had. "You don’t want that. It’ll make your thing fall off." Fall off? Sweet Jesus! I hadn’t known sex had so many potential disasters involved. Pop just laughed, and told me the rubbers he’d buy would stop most of that stuff as well.

Dad explained that some folks liked it a bit different than most. By that he meant homosexuals, and his talk on this point was short and sweet. "Some things are meant to go in a mans mouth, a penis ain’t one of them. And there ain’t nothin’ on God’s green earth made to go up your butt. You understand that, I guess?" After I’d picked my jaw up off the floor, I just nodded to let him know I understood. He said homosexuals had it rough in a lot of ways, and that was sort of silly to him. "They’re just people, son. They’re different from me and you in some ways, but they’re no different from us in any way that matters. Do you understand what I’m saying." Yes, I did. My Dad was telling me to treat them as he’d taught me to treat anyone else, with respect for the person.

My introduction to sex education, Pop style, was funny and open. He pulled no punches in telling me what could happen if I was irresponsible. He was straightforward about venereal disease and my need to understand the risks. He was dead serious when he told me if I ever got a girl ‘in trouble’ I’d take care of it, or I’d be the sorriest boy alive. He was worried, but he was glad I’d came to him, that I’d trusted him.

My father knew I was embarrassed to ask about sex, and he used humor to make me feel comfortable, but his answers were serious, and he did his best to explain it in a way a young boy could understand. I appreciated that, and I walked out of his shop that day confident that I knew how to protect myself, and the girl, and that was important to me.

When my own sons came to me with their questions about sex, I had his loving, if confused example, to go by. I was as open and honest with them and he’d been with me. A bit less graphic, but just as effective. Pop asked me how I’d handled it later. I said, "I didn’t use a damn socket set." My dad laughed all day.


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