1960s Sex Education – Father Style
If you grew up in the fifties and sixties, I am sure you have relatively the same impression of your dad as I. Regarding our dads and their willingness, or should I say reluctance, to talk about the birds and the bees; I am sure we can all relate.
Dad was a great father, a great provider, and a very hard worker. His devotion to his family was second to none. But, when it came time to discuss the facts of life with his son, he would not have come close to making the cast of "Father Knows Best."
Dad's sex education course consisted of only two lessons, and I never realized until much later in life just how informative and concise those two lessons were.
Lesson one took place in my grandfather's home, where my Uncle Pete and Pap resided. Dad was re-plumbing the bathroom for his dad, and I went with him to help at the awkward age of twelve.
Dad had tools, plastic pipes, glue and fittings strewn about everywhere. He made a simple request and asked me for one of the pipes which had already been cut to size and fixed with a proper fitting.
"Hand me that long pipe over there, with the FEMALE end toward me," said Dad.
I would be lying if I told you that I jumped quickly at his request. FEMALE end?
I remember picking up that 10-foot-long plastic pipe and I attempted to pass it to him perpendicular to his outstretched arm. That way, he would get the middle of the pipe and I wouldn't look like a complete doofus, I thought.
Oh boy. It wouldn't fit in the narrow bathroom that way, so I figured I had a fifty-fifty chance of getting the correct end to him, by just picking an end arbitrarily.
You guessed it - wrong end.
"Do I have to come over there and show you the difference between a male and female fitting?" Dad asked. "How old are you?"
I spent the rest of that morning passing the correct pipe ends and fittings to Dad, by simply remembering which end was not the FEMALE end from that first mistake. When I returned home, I still had no idea what in the hell he was talking about.
Lesson two took place within a month or so of my departure to college. Do you sense a long time between lessons? If so, so do I.
Lesson Two: "Remember, don't be cheap. Spend a quarter now and then so you don't screw yourself out of an education."
I have to admit that I understood that lesson much more quickly than the first lesson. I guess you learn from the cumulative effect of sex education classes. So I just nodded and said, "I got you."
Today, I can give Dad a huge thank you. Is there really anything else a teenager needs to know concerning the birds and bees? I don't think so. The lessons were concise and informative. And educators today will realize that he hit the bull's eye with his objective, made his point, and the outcome was that I did learn. You can't argue with that. I appreciate that he did make the effort. Many fathers did not.
Now, you younger dads out there get out the electrical plugs, the pipe fittings, and the wrench sets and have a talk with your children about the birds and bees. But don't show your age. Remind your kids to spend a dollar or two and not to be cheap. Inflation affects sex education lessons, too.