Oh let me tell ya bout the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees.
A 13-year-old boy brings home a rather graphic flip book, called Put on Something Special that shows a woman placing a condom on a man, and when you flip the page it shows the couple doing the horizontal bop.
His father calls it cartoon porn, when, ironically, the book was supposed to ease or erase the pressure surrounding the parent-child sex talk.
I don't know about you, but I never had the sex talk with either one of my parents, nor was I offered a condom to carry around in my wallet. forever.
I learned through trial and error that, among other things, you don't unroll the condom before putting it on without incurring some pain and that the rhythm method espoused by my Catholic friends was not particularly reliable.
Few of us really wanted to talk to our parents about sex, and I'm thinking that Mom and Dad weren't particularly thrilled about the idea either; hence the introduction of the "birds and the bees" metaphor as an aid to explaining sex and reproduction.
It turns out that pollination and the laying of eggs are meant to refer to fertilization and ovulation, respectively. Wouldn't it be clearer if you just watched farm animals?
Mind you, sex was not as prevalent back then, compared to today - for instance when, to judge from what I hear, it is almost a prerequisite for high school entrance.
If we felt that sex was imminent, we usually bought our condoms from the owner of the local pool hall who kept them in a drawer by the cash register. If not there then the drugstore where, in a small town, chances are the clerk - perhaps a fellow student - knew you and offered up a knowing smirk or wink before yelling to the pharmacist, "Where do we keep the condoms/rubbers/French safes," sending you shame-facedly to the exit and back to the pool hall.
There was very little formal sex education in our schools, save for one black-and-white film, heavy with organ (!) music, featuring two young men, one in obvious distress, explaining to the other that he had something wrong "down there," meaning his genitals (or perhaps plantar fasciitis, how would I know?).
The girls got their own version, both of course having to do with sexually transmitted diseases - like syphilis or gonorrhea, VD, the dose, the clap, etc. - and how to avoid it, preferably through abstinence, if not then through the dreaded condom.
Turns out half of all STDs occur in persons 25 years and younger and there are increasing rates of HIV in the 15 to 19 year demographic.
Many of our "hook-ups" took place in cars parked somewhere secluded, or at the drive-in movies, or at a party, and were usually not anywhere quite as exciting as the next day's telling.
Guys who "got laid" were held in the highest esteem, unlike today where sex seems as commonplace as getting a haircut or indulging in some underage drinking.
Of course the stimuli, judging from the wardrobe choices of some of the young ladies I see today are far greater than in my day when cleavage more often than not involved biological cell division.
As I said, we were forced to learn through trial and error, unless one of your father's friends was a kindly hooker who would tutor for a price.
Today, sex is everywhere - TV, movies, the Internet - and nothing is left to speculation.
Does anyone sneak a peek at Playboy in their dad's underwear drawer anymore? I doubt it; not when you can send nude photos to one another on your cellphone!
Do I sound envious, do I wish I was a teen now? I think not.
I can't imagine bringing the flip book home to Mom and Dad. Gimme the birds and the bees.