Monday, 15 September 2008

sex ed

how to put on a condom

Yesterday I dug up another gem from my school days. This picture was on page 32 of the biology reader "What is sex? Who knows?" Here's an excerpt from the introduction:
When most people think of sex they think of something that belongs to being married. But there are other sexual relationships too. Because that relationships fits the orientation of the people concerned, because the group norms demand it (for instance arabs or eskimos) or even because people get a kick from going against the generally accepted norms. You can probably fill in these forms and perhaps you have seen several of these in your surroundings....

MAN with MAN
WOMAN with WOMAN but sometimes with MAN
MAN with WOMAN but sometimes with MAN

.... and then there are steady relationships, loose relationships, steady with a loose relationship on the side, and people who are alone and experience sex on their own. *

This was my second year of secondary school, the year in which I turned 14. I didn't remember the drawing, but I can vividly picture my biology teacher demonstrating this - on the end of a broomstick. I have to say I was a bit shocked at how clumsy my busdriver was at putting one of these on, I had to tell him to hold on to the tip. But then the chapter on relationships says:
One of the most common problems between boys and girls is that they have wrong expectations of each other. Boys think they will embarrass themselves if they aren't macho and don't take the initiative, girls think they will push boys away by taking control.
But in reality many boys are only too happy with girls taking the initiative and girls often find shy, slightly clumsy boys quite attractive!

* At the time I didn't object to the four-period ellipsis or the Oxford comma, my snobbery hadn't been fully developed.


Pogonophile said...

Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?

Loving the thumb-sized hardon. Do they do condoms that small?

SubtleKnife said...

I don't know, darling, I can't even get the regular ones to fit my busdriver friend... (Yes Will, I'm bragging again, deal with it!)

And remember that the drawing was made for 14-year-olds. Boys of all ages are so sensitive about the size of their equipment, teenaged ones especially so.

Oxford commas are a debatable (and much-debated) point in English punctuation. In Dutch they're forbidden.

Pogonophile said...

Oh, I know Oxford commas. I was making sneaky reference to these chaps.

SubtleKnife said...

Obviously that went way over my head. I don't know anything about music these days.

Although I'm going to see Martha Wainwright in a month.

joe said...

I've been in love with that song recently, but I'd never heard the punctuation referred to as an "Oxford Comma." Had no idea what the song was referring to.

I'm a big believer in that comma, though it's optional in American writing. I was weaned on the Chicago Manual of Style when I worked in publishing, and some preferences are hard to break. I do realize when I'm writing German and in other European languages that they're definitely not used.

However, what I find sad about this post is thinking that across huge swaths of America, a textbook entry like that one for 13- and 14-year olds would probably result in massive marches of parents, torches and pitchforks in hand, converging on the local boards of education. Really depressing. Now you know why I've wanted to be Dutch since I was about 12. Ha!