Hey folks! This is my new creation! “HENS”. I hope you’ll like it!
By: The Queen Father
No, I’m not referring to any kind of outdoor pursuit in my title, even because I am a very indoor-kinda-guy, not to mention the British weather allowing very little to countryside frolicking, unless you are a duck…
No, I was referring to recent news of public outrage at the material just approved to be used to teach sexual education to children as young as five here in the UK.
Said material (you have a preview here below…) features a series of cartoons illustrating in a ‘child friendly’ way, what really happens in the sack between mummy and daddy (when they have the time and have worked through the boredom of being married to each other for 20 years).
Sarcasm aside, it made me chuckle like an idiot, the sight of “Ways mummies and daddies fit together” as in “Ways in which mummies and daddies can have sex.”
The ensuing cartoons feature a couple lifted by helium balloons whilst mummy is riding daddy ‘bucking-bronco-style’; daddy does not look very impressed by the stunt, but mummy is having a blast!
In another sketch, the two ‘athletes’ are engaged in a banging intercourse, with mummy always on top, on a space-hopper… Which reminds me, I might want to buy one at some point.
Yes for my son.
Obviously, the creators of this material were not beating around the bush. Sex– it’s what it is, no storks, birds and bees, eels and caves… Just two people engaging in a sexual act.
As it’s children we are talking to, for good measure, let’s throw in balloons, and space hoppers, and teddy bears…
And here the things get a little disturbing for some.
How do you explain sex to a child in a way that is ‘purified’ from all the ‘XXX’ connotations it obviously possesses?
I mean, supposing that you would want to, how do you explain to a child what an orgasm feels like?
Yes! They have even covered this topic (and oral sex, anal intercourse and masturbation).
They resorted to describing orgasm as a “sort of tickling that starts in your tummy and spreads all over your body” –an explanation that has been duly completed by a drawing of a baby being tickled on the tummy with a feather by another little girl.
Another ‘gem’ was the cartoon of a man and a woman in bed with the description “As they cuddled, your dad’s penis moved gently inside your mum’s vagina and the sperm flowed out…”
Even the explanation of terms like ‘masturbation’ or ‘prostitute’ had me a little thrown.
Please don’t think of me as a prude.
I really am not.
But, before formulating an opinion on the matter, I had to sit back for a while and mumble over the lot.
I came to the conclusion that the uneasiness many of us experience with the subject is originating from OUR OWN relationship with sex and sexuality, and had nothing to do with the idea of a young child being explained what masturbation is. I mean, a lot of grown up individuals out there even have a problem admitting that they masturbate. (And THEY DO!!!) God forbid having to describe that to a child…. Your child!
You get me?
I don’t have a warped idea about what sex and sexuality are, but I, and many like me, have to consider the personal growing process that allowed me to reach and fully mature my sexual identity.
I cannot prescind from my own sexual education and experience when faced with the task of having to ‘teach’ something like ‘the facts of life’.
All the uneasiness perhaps originates from being raised a Catholic, in a country (Italy) that still relegates sex and sexuality to the realm of the unspoken, following a strong influence of the church in all such matters and a society which is still largely blind to the importance of sexual education for children, unconsciously relying on the most powerful contraceptives they think they have: fear and sin.
Fear of contracting diseases, fear of accidental pregnancies, fear of sinning in front of God, fear of being the only teenage whore of your class who lost her virginity at 15, fear of going blind for masturbating. Bless the church, the ignorance, and the sexism.
These three once powerful forces at work in society are no longer enough to keep the lid on a tsunami of teenage hormones.
So, unfortunately, with youngsters deserting more and more church-pews on Sunday in favor of bars, clubs, and virtual chat-rooms, the rise of teenage pregnancies and misinformation about STDs are rife.
I’m not even going to preach about the idiocy of relying on religion-taught morals to keep your children safe. I said it before: if you rely on religion to keep your kids on the ‘straight and narrow’, then you are a failure as parents.
But let’s move on.
Here in the UK for example, we have the second highest number of teenage pregnancies in Europe. Not bad for such a progressive and forward-thinking country uh? So, what does it all come down to?
Wether to avoid embarrassment at all costs, or out of the desire to keep our little ones pure and innocent for as long as possible, we are in fact failing our children, ladies and gentlemen.
This is what it’s coming down to.
Our uneasiness with the subject of “sex” is leaving our kids at the mercy of whatever institution grows the balls to say “You know what? Someone needs to tell it like it is!” and I applaud this courage.
I call it courage because, in spite of having a huge rate of teenage pregnancies and a rise in STDs among youngsters in the UK, so far every initiative aimed at changing this sad statistics is met with disdain, shock, even public outrage.
And yet they try. Courageously.
The kids themselves are lamenting an inadequacy of information regarding sexuality, safe sexual behavior and STDs.
Obviously someone is not doing their job, and I think it’s us.
I do admit, certain initiatives should not prevaricate the right every parent has over deciding what a child should or should not know.
I think that, in the aftermath of the release of this new educational material, many parents out there felt ‘cheated out’ of their right to choose what teachings to expose their children to.
Or perhaps we only like to moan because it’s easier to point the finger at a third party when they mess up their task of educating our children.
I for one think that, maybe, it’s a bit too early to start talking about orgasms and masturbation to a five-year-old. I don’t believe that a five-year-old needs to know SO MUCH about sex.
I personally would limit the explaining to how babies are made, and subsequently, in the following years, moving to the subject of sex as a part of life and not necessarily as a tool for procreation: sex is enjoyable, hence touching into more delicate areas like the personal gratification we get from having sex. The orgasm, the reason behind so many hours of strenuous exercise. We all want it, we all crave it. This deserves to be explained. As much as the consequent behavioral patterns of all those that follow their dicks around chasing the next orgasm and nothing more.
Again, I am not recriminating or moralizing, I used to be free and single as well once upon a time, and I have also been fairly adventurous at times, but ALWAYS safe and smart about it.
Sex is fun.
Denying this is like telling your children that Jesus died of pneumonia.
What we must stress is the responsibility that comes with such ‘fun’. That changes everything.
See? Once I admitted to myself that sex is something I’d rather do than talk about in an auditorium, everything fell into place in my head.
Even the freaky couple shagging on the space-hopper.
The bottom line is that there is not an easy way to describe or teach or illustrate sex and sexuality to our kids, and by throwing in bubbles and party-hats, it won’t stop you from feeling ill at ease with the task of having to tell your 5-year-old what an orgasm feels like.
A tactful honesty is definitely recommended, but you will reach the point of having to call an orgasm an ‘orgasm’, and masturbation ‘masturbation’, wether you turn it into a Disney movie or not.
How comfortable are we with that?
In fact, perhaps those drawings were not designed to appeal to children, but to make the parents feel more comfortable.
Maybe WE need to be re-educated out of the shame?
Whatever the case may be, I am all for a fair vote, let’s vote to decide wether to have a compulsory realistic and fair sexual education in schools or not, but should we go for the second option? Let’s make it a personal responsibility of each of us to give as much clear, fair, and unbiased information about sex and sexuality to our children. After all, if, in years to come, our kids end up fooling around, it will most certainly involve another peer.
Would you want that peer to be of the misinformed sort?
Didn’t think so.
Let’s not blow the chance of freeing sex and sexuality from the grips of ignorance, bigotry, and church-morality for our children.
Let’s give them the tools to lead a happy and fulfilling (sexual) life.
Showing indignation towards who’s trying to do this on our behalf just won’t cut it.
Ok, I’m off to get that space-hopper now and…How many helium balloons do you think we will need to lift off the ground?
The Queen Father’s real name is Marco Platti. He is a 36-year-old Italian guy with a fashion background.
He married his partner of 11 years, Steven, in 2004. Since becoming a dad in 2009, he ditched his Gucci suit in favor of a spew-covered tracksuit. He is now a writer, blogger, and a stay-at-home parent. Find his award-winning blog on www.thequeenfather.com
So, I’ve read the news today, about the fact that Michael Steele (head of the Republican Party) had expenses paid by the GOP at a “titty” bar in West Hollywood. First off, I’m still trying to get past “titty” bar in West Hollywood…
Anyway, I love the satire that Huffington Post listed:
In what appears to be a reversal of a long-standing GOP position, RNC chair Michael Steele said today that he considered same-sex unions “incredibly hot, especially when the girls are getting it on in a glass case.”
Man, that sums it up! Seriously…it just figures – wide stance, bondage “titty” bars and infidelity. Sure Democrats do it too, but we don’t run our campaigns on it, right?
Traditional American values…really?
I actually can’t spend any more time writing on this subject. I just found out Ricky Martin is gay, in his new book titled “No Shit”.
Who could say anything mean about that sweet little girl in the picture above? Now you know…
I got some bad press already! I feel so legit. I’m kind of excited about it. Check back in with me regarding my feelings toward bad press in about six months, when I may very well be bathing in it. But seriously, can you even give a bad review to a book that hasn’t come out yet? Aren’t there enough bad books that one can actually read before reviewing?
I found out about it because the author was kind enough to leave the link in a comment to my last blog entry. I’m kinda intimidated, because she writes for the illustrious NYU Local. Also scary is the fact that she uses the word really twice in one sentence, which must mean that she’s really not messing around.
While dissing my blog, she admits that Tariku is adorable, but then proceeds to make fun of his name (I know, classy). Clearly she didn’t read enough of the blog to realize that he was born in Africa, hence the African name and all that.
She’s right about the starfucking, though. Who can argue?
If, after reading my bad review, you feel the compulsive urge to pre-order the book, you can now do so on Amazon!
Better yet, buy it at your local indie bookstore on April 27th.
By: Brandy Black
I recently had a discussion with someone regarding the new initiative to get computers, about the size of a Blackberry or iphone, in schools. They are saying that children are spending so much time on their phones -according to NY Times, approximately 7 ½ hours a day…pause…sigh…that the most time they spend with actual books is in school. The feeling is that it will be much easier to move the curriculum into computers, as it is in line with the where the world is going. Likely they will begin with lower income schools because most of these children don’t already have computers so it will allow them to “catch up” with the rest of the kids. Although wonderful for less fortunate students to receive computers, I believe the concept is flawed! Let’s start with our children’s tiny little eyes staring at tiny little screens for hours upon hours. What about the radio waves that they will be exposed to day after day? Really? Call me old fashioned, I’m devastated that the newspaper is becoming obsolete and although I’m all about embracing the ever changing world around us I can’t let go of the importance of bound books, the tactile feeling of flipping pages along my fingers and stuffing my bookmark between chapters to hold that special place for the next reading. I covet my cherished books that I spent hours adoring and will some day re-read or pass on to others to enjoy as much I. Will I one day sit and read the Chronicles of Narnia to my daughter on the kindle? Games are to be played around a table, laughing with music in the background and no keyboards in sight. We have gone too far. I may be a hypocrite as I sit typing away at my computer, I realize this, but someone has to reel us back in to titillating conversation that inspires great debates that last well into the night and not a Facebook argument for all of my acquaintances to see that only allows my brain to think as fast and as much as my fingers are willing to go. Discussions on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and the many other online outlets are a way for people to hide behind the truth of talking and listening and trying to understand the human being on the other end of a disagreement. We are becoming de-sensitized and sensationalized. Our texts have replaced phone calls. It is becoming easier by the day to avoid all personal contact to the people we love around us. I often wonder if we have it all wrong and can only hope that the next generation craves the taste of experiencing life rather than watching it on their iphone screens.
Tonight, over a dinner of mini-burgers, tiny carrots and cucumber slices, my husband looked up at me and said, “We need a date.”
We didn’t get to talk too much about what we should do or where we should go because my daughter had pulled together a little ritual to memorialize her dead fish (not a recent death, but one that seems weighty none the less.)
Per Sadie’s wishes, we drank milk, apple juice and water out of doll-sized goblets and then we talked about what we liked best about the deceased.
“Pebbles was very beautiful,” my son said.
“Pebbles was very peaceful,” my husband said.
“I liked that she was quiet,” I offered.
“She was very blue,” Sadie said.
At this point, the hamster began to run in her wheel which made it all but impossible to hear any more of the tributes. Sadie got up to close the kitchen door.
“Earsplitting,” she said, returning to the table. “That hamster is earsplitting.”
After a few more kind remarks, the ritual was over.
“I think it went very well,” Sadie said. “Though it would have been better if we lived in a castle.”
While this may or may not be true, one thing is clear: we do need a date. My husband and I need to get out. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it should happen and soon. There’s been a lot going on lately. We’ve been surrounded by visiting relations (all of whom we love dearly.) There’s the fact that he’s working his head off and I can’t seem to stop volunteering at the school. I’ve got a book I’d like to read and a book I’d like to write and he’s got five projects going at once and the cat is meowing and… well, you get the picture. If you’ve got kids or family members of your own, you own the picture.
We are in need of a particular kind of “date night.” While I’ve got nothing against the handful of random movies we’ve been to in the recent months, sometimes I need more than a couple of hours of sitting in the dark together to get things back to normal and by “normal,” I mean a place where my husband and I don’t call each other “Mama” and “Papa.”
I think about a day several months ago, when we went for a walk in the pouring rain. With the hoods of our raincoats up, we had to turn our whole bodies to look at each other and this made us laugh. My husband had water spots on his glasses and our shoes were caked with mud and it was wonderful to see the clouds low and heavy over the city.
When we returned home, instead of going back to our desks to work, we got out of our wet clothes, climbed into bed and watched “To Catch a Thief.” For two hours, we were in a seaside resort with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. When the movie was over, we got out of bed and he went back to his desk and I picked up the kids. But those two hours stayed with us for weeks. We felt as though we’d gotten away with something. And we’d gotten away with it together.
It was a wonderful day and just writing about it makes me certain it will happen again.
Tanya Ward Goodman also writes at http://youdearestyou.blogspot.com and http://twgoodman.blogspot.com Most recently, her work has been published in the anthology “A Cup of Comfort for a Better World.”
By: Danny Thomas
In about 2 weeks I will become a full time homemaker
This is so exciting!
It’s just not happening exactly the way I had planned.
But isn’t that the way it always is?
I got laid off last week, from the best job I have ever had.
It has been a delight. I have been an assistant to Mason Williams, the inimitable musician, writer, poet, artist and composer. How many people can say they have worked for one of their idols? How many people can say they have worked with and for such an icon, such an iconoclast? It has been, by anyone’s standards, a dream job.
Like any job it has had ups and downs, but the opportunities I’ve been given to learn in this job, and the support and generosity have been immeasurable.
It’s going to be hard to leave.
It’s also going to be hard to pay the mortgage.
Our family was approaching a time of massive shift and transition, so this kinda’ just kicks it into gear a little earlier than we planned. Jennifer, my wife, is about to finish graduate school and, hopefully, get a job as a college professor. How I ended up married to a teacher, or how she ended up married to a slacker, class clown, is anyone’s guess. So, we were only a few months away from turmoil, and now I get to spend the next few months practicing being a happy homemaker!
I have been saying to anyone that would listen (which means, mostly Jen) for the last three weeks or so, that, as much as I love my job, I am starting to feel the pull to be at home, that what would be more fulfilling to me would be to spend my days meal planning, doing laundry and cleaning house – it’s so weird – but I’m drawn to it.
Well, as they say, be careful what you wish for.
I have been struck by how differently I reacted to being laid off this time compared with the last time. Back in 2003 I worked in a very similar situation for a very small company, in a home office – they were deeply impacted by 9/11 and the resulting economic downturn and had to let me go. At that time I hit the skids – a deep depression – I pretty much felt useless and stuck…
This time, I have had no depressed feelings, having a family I guess helps me to see that I am not useless, that I have a future. Obviously there is a whole other layer of stress and panic in that there are these two little dependants who need what they need no matter what Jennifer or I are going through – but the sort of aimless, in limbo lost feeling is not a factor at all.
The situation is clear, my role is understood, my options are many, the universe is abundant.
I am grateful to my family for helping me find my place, no matter what my “job” may be.
Back to the city I love the most, the city I crave, the city that makes me feel chic and fabulous – San Francisco. This time rather than adorning shopping bags and lattes I was sporting a diaper bag and a toddler with the wife by my side. The family trip did not make my experience any less pleasant than the last; in fact we had a blast. We arrived atop Nob Hill at The Huntington Hotel after having been delayed for 3 hours in Los Angeles.
Grumpy and hungry I checked in while my wife chased Sophia around the lobby. The woman at the front desk handed me a tray with warm towels for the three of us and we were baptized; it was just what we needed to press reset on our weekend getaway to my all-time favorite city.
If you are a travel enthusiast, trips with a toddler require special planning and most importantly a little help from the babysitter.
We used the hotel-recommended service for both nights of our stay. I highly advise this; it allowed us to go the amazing Nob Hill Spa just off the lobby. The menu of services are vast and incredible, you can’t go wrong. We basked in the hot tub together and read by the fire.
Once dressed, we walked to the other end of the lobby and up the stairs to Big 4 Restaurant. We sat fireside once again, listening to live piano music and eating delicious food prepared by previously awarded “Chef of the Year” Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls.
What better recipe for romance than being softly serenaded in a dimly lit room with a cocktail in hand?
Waking up bright and early is not usually on my agenda for a vacation, but I have yet to convey this to my daughter. So the family arose for a 7AM breakfast in bed accompanied by none other than Dora on the flat screen TV. By 8:30 we were out the door and hiking the San Francisco hills in search of a quaint coffee shop for a pick-me-up. Beverages in hand, we were off to the California Academy of Sciences. This museum includes an aquarium, a natural history museum, a planetarium, and even a 4-story rainforest environment; it is truly a treat and must not be missed. If I have learned anything about traveling with my daughter it’s that she’s on vacation too and including entertainment for her is sure to make one big happy family.
We topped the afternoon with a cable car ride up and down the hills of San Fran and a late afternoon snack at Yank Sing, notably the best Dim Sum in town. The three of us will vouch for that; we couldn’t resist as the servers rolled past with their bamboo dishes of delectable rolls.
Hands on our bellies, we stumbled out of the Chinese eatery to roam the streets once more.
After walking off our delicious meal, we hailed a cab to Union Square for a little shopping. Zipping around in the taxi may have been my daughter’s favorite part of the trip. I don’t know if it was the walkie-talkie, or that she was huddled tightly between her two moms pointing at the scenery out the window, but she talked about it for hours.
Once the evening came upon us, our daughter was exhausted and we were ready for another night out on the town. Our agenda was simple: drinks at Farina and dinner at Delfina in the Mission District. This is my new favorite part of San Francisco. Bustling with lively locals, this hip neighborhood has a New York style flair that is irresistible. We sipped fresh original cocktails at the Farina bar on our spin top stools and drooled over the menu, hoping we made reservations at the right place. I spun around to eye the patrons and felt as if I were in Soho. The re-purposed hand-hewn Genoese marble sinks along the bar topped off the simple yet edgy design. We could barely tear ourselves away when the clock chimed ten and we were due for our date with the well-known Delfina.
Our hesitations were quelled immediately when we read that Chef and co-owner Craig Stoll won the James Beard Award. We peeked around and the packed restaurant maintained a cozy atmosphere that begged for a bottle of wine accompanied by rousing conversation taking us well past our mommy-prescribed bedtime. The scrumptious meal spoiled us much beyond our expectations. Dungeness crab salad with ruby grapefruit, linguine with reduced sea urchin that melted in my mouth like butter and a parsnip carrot ginger soup that paired perfectly with our wine. It was a delicious evening and a well-needed getaway to my very favorite city –San Francisco!
- Hire a babysitter and get out and enjoy your part of the vacation.
- If you have a little one, put the crib in the bathroom so that you have your time and the baby has a dark bedroom of their own to sleep peacefully.
- Use your concierge; they will introduce you to the neighborhood favorites that are more intimate and less touristy.
Huntington Hotel: $385 and up
Delfina- $25 and up
Farina – $25 and up
Yank Sing- $15 and up
Academy of Sciences- Adults $24.95/Children (12-17)- $19.95
Golden Gate Park- Free
[San Francisco photo- flickr member: Alan Picard]
I find it crazy that the 2010 Census claims that they allow same-sex couples and that their families will be a part of the data collected as the 2010 Census forms reach American households this week. However, a large number of single LGBT members who live alone cannot identify their sexual orientation.
LGBT people are basically invisible in the survey that is supposed to reflect the diversity of America’s population – and that’s a big problem. The data collected impacts issues critical to every American – like our health care, our economic stability, and even our safety. And when LGBT people aren’t counted, then we also don’t count when it comes to services, resources … you name it.
The current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which Obama wants repealed, makes it hard to accurately collect data on gays and lesbians who serve in the military. However, the hope is that the 2010 Census will show that more than 60,000 gays are serving their country, BUT will they lose their jobs for telling the truth on a survey that’s required by law?
For gay-rights supporters that say this is a positive move, I say bullshit! This is like saying that the new policy of allowing women to not wear panty hose is a positive move in their rights at work. I find it so interesting and once again find myself getting angry. Where’s “ACT-UP” when you need them in 2010?
I guess the question needs to be asked: “What is the purpose of the Census?”
If it’s to collect accurate information about who comprises the population of this country, then more questions need to be asked.
I find this interesting…
The census should also bring to light a lot of misconceptions about the GLBT community, including issues such as gay poverty. One study showed that 20 percent of children with LGBT parents were living in poverty, while their straight counterparts were at 10 percent.
Let’s get one thing right. It’s still not equal. So sadly, I checked the box “Unmarried Partner”. Hmm…I wonder what I would have checked if I resided in California, where I am still legally married?
By: Brandy Black
Being a parent is difficult; it involves a lot of juggling, managing the household, negotiating with children, homework, the list goes on. Single parents take it all on and sometimes without preparation. Oftentimes becoming a single parent is thrown in one’s lap with no warning. This can be daunting for anyone.
RJ Jaramillo, twice divorced and the father of three children ages 16, 14 and 10, discovered a need in his community. He identified that other single fathers around him were looking for resources on how to raise a child on their own. RJ assembled his team and developed an amazing site called www.singledad.com. RJ believes you have to “make it happen…again” –simple as that.
His contributors are Jesse Lozano, never married and a single parent to daughter, Savannah, age 6. Jesse is a radio DJ in Los Angeles with a radio show syndicated in over 40 cities nationwide. Jesse shares custody with Savannah’s mom in LA and manages the balance between his work, his daughter, and co-parenting. Jesse delivers a great message to young children and teenagers through his humor and wisdom. Contributor Jon Graves, a former Los Angeles Dodger baseball player, is a widower. Jon is raising two sons, Christian 7, and Everen, 10, after losing his wife Jessica to cancer over two years ago. He now works as the webmaster at the San Diego Airport and manages the challenges of the mourning process and new full-time parenting duties. Jon delivers his message to those single parent families who have suffered loss and need faith in going forward in their new life.
Over this past year, founder RJ developed an “online classroom” where he conducted test cases with newly single parents and actively “coached” them on a variety of topics dealing with Single Parent Transition. During these online coaching sessions, RJ made a discovery: there are a lot of newly single parents –especially men –looking for help, but don’t know where to find the resources. Most of the “newly divorced” resources on the Internet are catered to mothers. So what about the fathers out there?
“My goal was to help teach these guys the basics…there are so many things to learn on running a household with children on your own. I am not a perfect father, but I have the past 10 years’ experience of going through a divorce, raising my children and doing the best I can as a single parent. I was able to reach out to fathers all over the U.S. using video conferencing and it allowed me to keep a ‘one on one’ experience with these single dads and their particular subject. The results were amazing…I wish it were a court requirement to have all newly single parents take a class and learn from a coach who has been there.”
More About The Classes:
Cooking Basics: Most newly single fathers have a fear of cooking. Single Dad Cooking teaches four basic areas to get parents started. Step 1) how to equip your kitchen with the basics; Step 2) everyday spices, herbs and ingredients; Step3) how to grocery shop effectively and economically; Step 4) how to cook a beef, pork, fish and chicken dish.
Single Parent Cooking Classes: http://www.singledad.com/lp/coaching-cook
Single Parent Coaching: These classes are customized around the needs of the newly single parent going through a lifestyle transition. Everything is open to discussion with a variety of topics such as: Fatherhood, Co -Parenting , Home Management, Dating & Relationships.
Single Parent Coaching Classes: http://www.singledad.com/lp/coaching-coparenting