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October 4, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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The akwardness of sex-ed

So this puberty thing lasts about a week right?

Standing at Mobil late one winter evening hopping about with my hands stuffed in my pockets, I noticed a crowd was starting to gather. I had just told the attendant via intercom quite loudly that I was in dire need of a four-pack of Cottonsofts. Avoiding eye contact with other patrons, the man returned with four—FOUR—bags of toilet rolls, off-loading them into my arms as I stood flabbergasted at his stupidity.

Christ, it was like suffering sex education all over again.

The introduction to the ‘birds and the bees’ is a moment none of us can bleach from our mind. For me, it all began in the summer of 1999. One fateful afternoon, Mum called me inside from the backyard as I was busy somersaulting on the trampoline, resembling some form of crippled gymnast. Sitting down on the couch next to Mum, she matter-of-factly began the ins and outs of baby-making and bed-shaking, which she calmly referred to as ‘intercourse’, a phrase which rocketed to Number One on my list of ‘words that shouldn’t be said aloud’. After a millennium, brain comfortably numb with new information, I stumbled in a daze back outside, assuring Mum that “yeah, I’m okay. I’m just… you know… going out here now…”

I was not okay.

Compared to other stories, my introduction to reproduction wasn’t that bad. Considering Mum literally opened with the phrase “when a man and woman love each other very much,” I did pretty well. Sadly, after the wide-eyed initial realisation I was not the Immaculate Conception, I zoned out before I learned about the specifics of sex and had to muster up the courage to sheepishly ask Mum three months later where babies came from.

Relax, it only gets worse. For children, discovering how you came to exist isn’t bad enough—parents also have the nerve to quietly pull you aside and mention your body is going to change: “oh, that’s nice, I always wanted to be a bit taller.” But what parents don’t realise is that no amount of pep-talks or wise words of encouragement can prepare a kid for the reality of puberty. Because let’s face it, the wonderment of adulthood aside, puberty was a miserable and degrading experience. Nothing ever worked out for us, even our desired growth spurts backfired. Limbs grew as if independent from our own body so we ended up resembling gangly, gawky monkeys. Why? Because there’s SO much hair, why is there hair? This makes no sense. I’m only going to spend the rest of my life waxing it to death.

Like most teenagers, I spent my days in a frump, willing puberty to simply do its thing and fuck off. Much like the Mobil attendant who handed me four bags of toilet rolls and smiled. Don’t smile at me, you dick. The awkwardness of sex education aside, I learnt valuable lessons amidst my misery, such as never underestimating the importance of an emergency tampon. The male equivalent I am led to believe is the trick of hiding a sneaky boner. But still, back to the matter at hand: how the fuck do I walk away with my dignity intact while carrying four bags of toilet rolls?

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