Me: Nah, I totally wanted boobs, but the first time I saw a penis, I almost cried. I mean, I didn’t, because that would’ve been weird, but I wanted to.
Wifey: They don’t look how you think they will.
Hence, we got onto the topic of adolescence. Everyone has their own story, so Wifey and I exchanged ours. Here’s mine:
It all started in fifth grade. Our teacher announced that we would be learning about the human body in health class, specifically adolescence. He handed out a bunch of permission slips for our parents to sign and return. I’m pretty sure even if my mom HAD said no, I would’ve forged her signature. We felt sad for the kids who had to leave the room.
At the end of the day, my best friend and I went into the bath room, grabbed hands, jumped up and down, and screamed.
“We’re going to learn about sex!” she exclaimed.
“This is SO cool!” I responded.
I didn’t even want to have sex. I just wanted to know what all my friends already knew from the R-rated movies my parents didn’t let me watch. We were going to find out.
Nope. We learned about our “changing bodies” and had to endure old 70’s and 80’s VHS tapes where 18 year-olds pretending to be pre-teens ask stupid questions like, “Why is there hair…THERE?” It also involved us saying “penis” and “vagina” to our seatmates, because our teachers just KNEW we would laugh every time those words were said. After 3 years of learning the same shit with no sign of ever knowing how babies were made, merely just all the embarrassment of sitting around reading OUT LOUD about sexual human evolution, how it becomes ready for baby making, I was so sick of saying “penis” and “vagina” that I would’ve signed a form stating I would not laugh just so I didn’t have to say it. Nobody offered that option.We also got separated the last day, where a nurse came in and told us about periods. I actually LONGED for math class. This was nothing like my imagination had made it out to be. There were also stupid homework assignments like “everyone buy deodorant and wear it.” No, that WAS an assignment.
My mom, very open, intelligent, and cognizant of embarrassed young people, told me she’d be happy to give me the talk. Any questions I wanted to ask she would answer. She also offered the alternative of literature. I opted for literature, even though my mom frequently would give public service announcements from time to time about sex and dating.
I got the BEST book ever.
This book was better than ANY awkward educational discussion. Plus, in my version, I got to fill in the pictures with my colored pencils. The book didn’t explain sex either, but it was very friendly and fun. The most it said was, “When the time comes, make sure the person you pick is special.” I was going for more than special, but I understood that some girls needed to hear that. It was also nice that the book didn’t try to take a stance on sex. Its rules were simple: respect yourself, make sure your partner respects you, care about each other (don’t pick a JERK), and know each other well (again, don’t find a jerk who seems nice). I think something about using protection? I don’t remember, it’s been awhile.
Two summers later, we went to Mexico. That’s when I got horribly sick with what they call Montezuma’s Revenge. I don’t know what I did to piss him off, but apparently I ate too many of his strawberries (they said don’t drink the water, but no one said anything about strawberries!). You haven’t lived unless you’ve puked and pooped your pants at the same time in a cab in a foreign country during 100 degree humidity.
THAT is how I learned to use pads, and during this constant bath room shuffle, my mom and grandma went to Señor Frog’s and drank several margaritas. My mom still gets mad, because “she was there for the first day or two.”
That fall, it happened. Horrible cramps during science class (I’m not the only one who got my first cramps during science…clearly, the two are correlated). I wondered what I ate and was annoyed. I stayed doubled over at my desk, but at the bath room on break, I found out.
I was prepared, and I knew how to use them (thanks, diarrhea! How many people can say THAT came in handy? It was the ONLY time I know of so far).
At the end of the day, I called my mom. I didn’t tell any of my friends. I was at a different school, so telling all the girls seemed a little too intimate for our friendship thus far.
Many people make it a tradition. They talk about being proud to be a woman, there are gifts, etc.
Me (dejectedly): I got my period today.
Mom: How was it?
Me (sigh): It sucked. I don’t see what the big deal is.
Mom: It does suck. Welcome to being a woman. I love you.
Me: I love you too.Freshman year, my questions were FINALLY answered when our rebellious, young teacher let the boys and girls of the class ask each other questions. She moderated, and I’m pretty sure the school board got mad, but I finally got some freaking answers.
And I eventually got breasts.