A parent should be prepared at all times to deflect their children away from inappropriate information. When asked “where do babies come from,” for example, I am keen to point out that you should not end a sentence with a preposition. Explaining grammatical rules is an effective salve to almost any situation. That usually gets the child completely off topic and the parent happily out of the awkward dance around the s-e-x question. It may even plant the seed for a future English major. God knows that a couple of literature degrees have done my career a world of good. High school teachers make bank!
Now, as a high school teacher, I get a lot of practice deflecting people from the s-e-x topic. The boys are constantly thinking about it, and I must shepherd them away from such thoughts and into a more academic mindset. However, sometimes the older set should have the right to think about s-e-x.
Case in point: many years ago when I was pregnant with my second child, thanks to Dr. Edelstein and the wonders of in vitro, a student sweetly asked if I would ever explain to my children that they were conceived in what is apparently a really weird way. Here is how that conversation went.
“Madame, are you due soon? You’re lookin’ big?”
“Thanks, Johnny, for pointing that out. I love your honesty. I have about a month to go.”
“Oh. That explains it. But, I mean, how much do you like my honesty? Like, I don’t know, on a scale from 1 to 10?”
“Stop beating around the bush and say what you’re going to say, pal.”
“Can you go back behind the podium, please? Your cankles are freaking me out, man!”
“Of course, of course. My mistake. I mean, after all the hard work with this in vitro stuff, and being pregnant in this heat, I’m not sure how I could lose sight of my grotesque body getting in the way of your learning. Allow me. Is this better?”
“Yeah, thanks! That’s much better. I mean, the guys and I have been talking about it.”
“Super. Anything else I can do for you all?”
“Well, now I’m wondering… are you going to ever tell your kids about them being in vitro babies? I mean, aren’t they going to be, like, traumatized because they’re, I don’t know, science experiments?”
“Are you suggesting that I went to Dr. Frankenstein to create my spawn?”
“I mean, not that bad,” he said naively to the woman in control of his grade,” but yeah, it’s pretty crazy stuff.”
“I’ll tell you some pretty crazy stuff.”
“OK, like what?”
“Your parents had sex to have you.”
“OMG, Madame, that is messed up! Hot pokers to my eyes, man! That’s sick!”
“Checkmate, my “man,” checkmate!”
So, a couple of takeaways: first, the fact that I needed to resort to science for reproduction, is nothing to take personally. Screw you, Darwin- I scoff at natural selection! Fertility issues are not our fault- in the same way we can’t control if we are pear shaped or like Georgia O’Keefe (that is, however, admittedly pretty questionable).
But most importantly, gotta stop sharing with the students. No more talk of in vitro- never, ever, man! And as I mentioned before- sometimes the little rats should be exposed to s-e-x. That’ll learn ’em!