mardi, janvier 31, 2012

Libertine studies 101

My son has to talk to his father and mother about sex for a family life badge from the Boy Scouts.

I told him tonight that I thought we already had. And though tonight wasn't the first time, it was one of the more raucous.

Perhaps it's because my friend Randy dropped off the table around which we'd had so many family dinners in Brooklyn.

It's huge and lovely, a behemoth with carved lions (?) toes -- now the gorgeous wood shimmers under new layers of polish, and the reupholstered chairs await a "Downton Abbey" dinner party.

(I'll share a picture soon.)

At any rate, our conversation was decidedly peculiar -- focused on alternative ways of saying that someone had "lost" his or her virginity.

It quickly devolving into an ongoing subject -- when it's appropriate to have a sexual relationship and when it's not.

Like...not for a long time, either of you. Maybe when you are forty.

Topics which I believe that I handle with much greater comfort than my parents did -- not that I made it easy.

Shy and a little naive, I really didn't want to talk about sex.

Yet I was constantly exposed to flagrant expressions of a sexually permissive culture.

The books we read in high school, the rumored exploits of some of our high school teachers, and the fact that we grew up on the heels of the "sexual revolution" made the topic impossible to ignore.

Lust is lust, whether it's depicted through the eyes of Homer, Charles Baudelaire or Mick Jagger.

You'd think Maroon 5 had invented Mick Jagger and his sexy hips!

Somehow I got through college relatively untouched by all of the hijinks going on around me.

Yet it left a mark, I think -- a deep curiosity about what I'd missed, and an ability to talk comfortably with my children about the thorny issues of sexuality. After all, I'd been talking about them, in one way or another, since sixth grade.

Last night, on a drive home from getting a new notebook, I asked my son about his new girlfriend. They sit together at lunch, in music, and in the band room (they are band groupies).

But she's leaving for Queens in a few months, I said.

Aren't you sad?

He wants to keep it casual, he told me from the back seat. In a long distance (mostly Facebook) relationship this past summer and fall, he is ready not to get upset and frustrated because of the distance.

Also, he added, he's got a lot of other things he needs to focus on at the moment.

That's for darned sure.

I'm a big proponent of the rhythm method where matters of the heart are concerned.

Get the rhythm right, and the melody (or melodies) will follow.

I don't know where he got his commonsense from, but I'm assured that whatever the clamor around him, this child will make a thoughtful, caring and good choice.

When the time comes.

Thankfully, it doesn't seem anytime soon!

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