Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sex Ed

Because she was a virgin two years into her first marriage, my mother chose to start my sex education when I was eight. Over dinner at the Olive Garden, on Shelbyville Road in Louisville, Kentucky, with my stepfather across the table, my mother handed me the book, Sex Before Marriage: Guidance for Young Adults, ages 16 to 20 by Eleanor Hamilton, printed by Merideth Press in 1969. Her mother had given her the book when she was eighteen, as a wedding present.

“Your grandmother thought you could get pregnant from French kissing,” she said. “Triple bag it if you have to. If you’re like me, you’re very fertile.”

I was skinny, stringy-haired. I collected stamps. At summer camp that year, the sixteen-year-old counselor in training had the girls’ bunks together to play truth or dare. I was dared to give a blowjob to a baseball bat (rather then tell the truth about whether I’d ever shoplifted). I examined the bat, considering the best approach, then blew on it as one might blow out birthday candles. An older girl demonstrated a different technique – with what I know now, that baseball bat was an optimistic substitute.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Truth About James Dean

My father is a person you indulge. He is the type of man who is easy to love because he loves without conditions, but he is also a man who can drive everyone away, because he does not love himself. People want to be around him, his enthusiasm is infectious. He is the father you’ve always wanted. But he is a man who can look at his hands as if they aren’t his, who will scrutinize himself in the mirror and only see what he isn’t.