Friday, December 26, 2008

Flashback Friday: Tent Indignities, Part II: The birds and the bees

Continuing a three-part series, the second installment of Tent Indignities begins where we left off last week: nine tweenaged cousins huddled around a battery-operated lantern inside a cavernous surplus tent stifling our laughter with pillows while whispering tawdry tales.

A topic made taboo is one guaranteed to surface in any situation where curious teens are left to talk among themselves. And for a bunch of religious kids trained in abstinence, what do you suppose is the most fascinating, scandalous topic? The Wedding Night.

In my recollection of teenage social structure, one's demonstrated knowledge about sex (whether real or feigned) could directly impact his or her popularity and reputation. At age 9 or 10, I didn't know much, so tended to listen more than talk in situations like these. If it wouldn't have affected my coolness quotient inversely, I probably would have liked a spiral notebook and a pencil to scribble enlightening morsels as quickly as my older cousins could spin them. Where had these cousins acquired their education? Parts from the public school system, parts from older (also chaste) brothers, and probably parts from many hushed exchanges like this one in the tent. Hearsay, rumor, anecdotal gossip--all the makings of good sex education, right?

While the reality of a honeymoon lingered in the very distant future, our clumsy conversation about "doing it" proceeded. A conversation no doubt riddled with speculation. Sprinkled with legend. Suddenly one of my cousins said to her older sister, "I don't think our parents did it on their Honeymoon, because you weren't born until [a date that was mathematically several greater than nine months following their parents' wedding date].

Ah, innocence exposed. I may not have known much about sex at the time, but I am positive I understood that adults join together in intimacy more often than babies are made. What may have been a humiliating experience for my beloved cousin might also have been a great lesson for us all in why it's best to remain obtuse when the subject at hand is not one of your own expertise. Although figuring the mathematical query of wedding vs. birth dates foreshadowed this cousin's future area of expertise: she recently received a Master's Degree in Math Education.

Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion of Tent Indignities next Friday!


Bridget said...

Hilarious. You almost make me wish I grew up with cousins nearby so I, too, could have experienced these awkward moments.

Jennifer said...

I'm finally catching up on blog reading... Excellent cover of anonymity. :) I remember this awkward moment of my childhood and was hoping no one else had. It was great to see you!

Kristen said...

Well, Jenn, my love, your comment kind of defeats the purpose of all my efforts at anonymity. I hope you aren't too embarrassed, it makes for such a fun story, don't you think? :)

Anonymous said...


Definitely gonna recommend this post to a few friends


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