Less is More
Jackie, over at Catholic mom of 10, talks about some of the sex education materials used by some of the Catholic schools in the UK and wonders if they are too detailed or graphic. I have to say I am proud, on this issue, to belong to the:
"Thank God, they pretty much left us alone" generation. i.e. the basic plumbing was covered in biology classes in a clinical way. The few pages of line drawings in our biology textbooks were the only ones guaranteed to be well thumbed and read by the entire class - even the goof offs. Everyone got an "A" on that test.
The guys got a lecture or two in gym class, the girls got a lecture or two in THEIR gym class covering the consequences of STDs. The girls and (for all I know) boys got a graphic "mother gives birth" video which made us realize: "girls, if a guy puts tab "A" in slot "B" - be prepared for something the size a watermelon coming out of you. The very thought of which, when viewed through the prism of mid-teenage years, made most of us shudder for weeks afterwards, if some boy asked us out. That was natural "birth control" for most of us. We'd long absorbed through osmosis the fact that we had, in fact, not come out of a crackerjack box - but we were stunned at what mom went through.
Turtleneck sweaters were popular for a reason. For the "girls gone wild" headed for "hell in a hand basket" they covered up 1,647 hickies the next week at school. If worn by a girl while on a date, the girl was signaling to the guy that'd he'd be lucky to get a good night kiss. Like "Run, Hillary, Run" bumper stickers which could be attached to either the front or back bumper of a car, the turtleneck sweater was used by both "kinds" of girl. Upon reflection, I expect the "wolves" amongst the boys viewed any girl who wore a turtleneck sweater DURING the school week as "hot to trot" material. I can't say for sure, having never hung out in a boy's locker room. I can, however, confirm that in the girl's locker room we traded information on which boys were likely occasion of sin material, by being known patrons of drive in movies - and we also knew which boys were destined for the priesthood. Equally to be avoided if one wanted to be kissed by sweet sixteen.
Other than that we were blissfully free to speculate whilst hanging out on street corners. We knew enough that black patent leather shoes didn't really reflect up - and good catholic girls usually avoided protestant boys, whom we *knew* all thought that catholic girls were "hot to trot." They were too often right. Bad catholic boys trolled for protestant girls and probably catholic girls who wore turtleneck sweaters during the school week.
For purient material we scoured the south sea islands and Africa sections which were neatly contained between the pristine covers of National Geographic. In my junior year(age 16), one of our daring classmates, Gena Statutory, got hold of the then much talked about Burt Reynolds "spread." What a rip off, Burt was coyly lying on his side in the buff, with his left hand strategically placed. Glad it wasn't my two bucks. He may as well have had a catcher's mitt on for all we saw. Most of us marched out of the girl's washroom more than a little miffed, without even bothering to smoke a verboten ciggie. Burt, you STILL owe me.
To sum up: Yes, we knew you didn't get pregnant from kissing, for which we were grateful, but at least the adults in our lives left us blessedly alone to our devices. Otherwise, they'd have "ruined" it for us by talking about it any more than they absolutely had to. I'm not sure whatever happened to Gina. My guess is she either ended up having 5 kids by 5 different guys, or became a Carmelite nun.