By: Danny Thomas
It’s no coincidence these things happen when their mother is working, or shopping, or in whatever sense “away”
She rail roads them early on. That might be fear. It might be foresight.
At any rate, much as I am challenged by them I am always glad they happen, and mostly feel like I give good… er… decent answers.
Earlier this month I got a vasectomy. I am candid about it. In fact I probably talk about it more than I should. Oh well. It’s good to talk about this stuff…It’s been a topic of conversation between my wife and I for several years…And after buying the morning after pill twice in the past 18 months…and an enlightening conversation about inaction on my part being another patriarchal act, I scheduled the appointment.
The point is I had the surgery – I’ll tell you about that another time – and came home with a couple specimen bags to fill and return. They have been sitting on the back of my toilet since – and have been the subject, not surprisingly…of much inquiry.
Well it’s all been somewhat gingerly avoided… until tonight. The Squirt straight up asked me tonight, “Dad, what are the specimen bags for?”
“Semen,” I said, “Do you know what that is?”
“I do.” said Scooter.
Squirt did not, so I told her.
She was fascinated and a little queasy…
Scooter chose this moment to draw the comparison to floral reproduction.
Then, as per her usual mode on any topic, but this one in particular,
Scooter began her inquisition;
“Have you guys had sex since your surgery?”
(this is where Jen would have stopped, no halted the conversation.)
“How many times?”
“How many times do you have it in… like… a month?”
“Mmm, hard to say, depends on the month, and what else is going on in our lives.”
-pregnant pause while she tried to figure out how to phrase the next question-
“So… which do you prefer, standing up or laying down?”
“Have you ever had it standing up?”
(And here is where I just was totally too candid… where I knew I should have stopped but… well I’m an idiot.)
“Not with your mother.”
“WHAAAT, you’ve had sex with other people?”
And apparently that is my line.
That is where I said I was uncomfortable sharing any more personal information about me…
Scooter said at this point she thought about it a lot and was eager to experience it.
Without thinking I said
And then I knew I was going to have to drop some poetry to make my point…
“Well,” I said, “I take that back, you be eager, you feel all the feelings you need to feel about it, you look forward to it, and explore your ideas and thoughts about it… but… you need to be very very careful before you do anything with anybody else about it…”
“Because it’s complicated… because your sexuality and your mind and your heart all work together in sex, and because of that it can be really wonderful and magical, or, if it’s bad, it can be really hard to recover from… it can break you in to a million pieces.”
“How can it be bad?”
“Well… if it didn’t feel like you thought it was going to feel… you might regret it… or if it’s sex you don’t want to have…”
“Isn’t sex you don’t want to have rape?”
“Yes you’re right – and that really isn’t the same as sex at all. You are absolutely right.”
“There are a lot of wonderful feelings that can be part of sex, things that you can express to a person that there are no words for – and that is why it is important, and can be dangerous to our hearts and souls… because that kind of expression is powerful, and also vulnerable.”
“What is ‘vulnerable?'”
“It is a kind of fragile feeling, showing your secretest parts of yourself, and I don’t mean your vagina, I mean your spirit… it means letting yourself be weak with someone…”
“You’d have to be brave, and trust someone to do that.”
“Yes. Yes, exactly.”
Then, Squirt… from the depths of blankets on the other bed, with her mothers voice;
“Can we please just go to sleep?”