Attempts at educating juveniles in the finer points of human reproduction inevitably end with acute misunderstandings, upon which therapists and divorce attorneys build lucrative careers later.
Playground taunts were the immediate after-effect of my first encounter with sex ed. With one parent chaperoning, we worldly grade fivers were carted off to the local town hall to view a 16mm film one evening (yes, Hortense, real celluloid). As that thing clattered through the projector, it revealed the goopy truth of girls’ interiors and weird, alien oddities about my own. Far from clarifying matters, this arms-length outline raised questions I had never thought to ask.
The process felt a little like learning aerobatics before learning to fly, rather a step too far.
As we maturely discussed our new-found knowledge during recess the next day, we soon learned of an entire world of hideous insults. There’s nothing like poorly digested information to create fear, and everything in a male child’s mind is poorly digested. Mindful (intellectual) exploration of girls’ differences wasn’t our first response because taunts are way more satisfying.
And that’s where it stopped. We were expected to embark upon life’s most meaningful relationships with one twenty-minute instructional film of anatomy as our touchstone.
Okay, I’m off to practise my outside loops now.