Quick question: at what age did you find out what a "blowjob" is? And who told you?
I'm going to guess about 1% of you heard it when your parents sat down to discuss it in a rational, adult way. About 50% of you heard it on TV, or in a movie, or in a book, the rest heard it from a friend on the playground.
It'll be the same for your kids -- as a parent, you don't get to sit down and say, "Today little Timmy has reached the age where he is ready to hear about blowjobs," and come up with a strategy for fighting through that incredibly awkward conversation. No, it will come out of the blue, like a Mike Tyson left hook that catches you while you're still going over the fight strategy with your trainer, six months before the bout.
You'll wake up thinking, "Holy shit, I expected a ring and a referee." And that's when you realize that you're playing by his rules, and that match starts when he goddamn says so. You can get blindsided at any moment by things like...
#5. Cable Commercials on Female Masturbation Techniques
As you can guess, the sex talk comes up earlier than every parent expects, and the discussion never goes the way you planned it out in your head. You do your best to explain the biological side, because they need to know that, but without being cold and clinical about it. You want to talk about love, and paint their first time as "special." It doesn't matter how liberal or conservative a parent you are, nobody wants to picture their kid going on a fuck-crazy rampage before they're even old enough to drive a car.
But what most adults tend to leave out are the fine, messy details. That's where this commercial comes in.
That's an ad for a vibrator that my kids saw on Comedy Central. In the middle of the day. The short story is that they're able to get away with it because they say "massager" instead of "vibrator." And they never show the product out of the box. They claim that the sexual message is "subtle."
Now, my point isn't that the ad should be censored. It' just that the ad's "subtlety" is what caused my boys (12 and 10) to ask why a machine meant to massage would "blow a person's hair back." My first instinct as a parent was to tell them that it was because it gave really good massages. But the problem with that is the end of the commercial where the wife tells the husband, "We got three!" And the husband responds with a fist-pump and yells, "SWEET!" To a couple of young boys it meant that both men and women couldn't wait to dive into their soul-calming, relaxing massages, courtesy of Trojan.
"Oh, look, it's kind of pointy so you can get between your shoulder blades easier."
But before I opened my mouth, my human side slapped me in the face and reminded me that if I told them that, their next question would be directed at their mother, and it would end with the words, "...for Christmas?" And just like that, I was explaining the dirty intricacies of clitoral stimulation to two people who just found out the truth about Santa a few short years ago.
It's at this point that you realize your original "where babies come from" talk was devoid of the words "orgasm," "masturbation," or "horny" even though all three of those are staples of what sex is actually about. You skipped over the part about how sometimes a person finds themselves needing to just "bust out a quick one" while nobody else is around.
Suddenly, all of that sugary, educational, PG-rated talk of procreation "between a husband and wife" gets amended like a Constitution for the country "Various States of Fucking." And "the birds and the bees" takes a permanent backseat in their minds. The new, more adult lesson being, "There are many different ways to cause ejaculation."
I'm saying it won't be long before they can identify this man on sight.
And while we're on the subject of sex...
#4. A Show About Cars and Prostitution Hierarchy
My regular readers know that I let my kids play adult games like Grand Theft Auto if I'm in the room with them. We're a pretty open family, and they've shown me that they can be trusted to not steal my car and go rampaging around town. They know it's a game. What they don't do is take part in the sex missions because they're still at the age where sexual content is icky. So when my ten year old asked me what "pimp missions" were, he was satisfied with the explanation, "It's a sex thing." He skipped them and happily went back to shooting cocaine-dealing gang members in the face.
Fast forward a few days, and you'll find him sitting with a baffled look as he watches an episode of Pimp My Ride, a show on MTV where they take shitty cars and turn them into hotrods.
And then eat them.
"So, wait," he said as they installed Lamborghini style doors on a shitty Lovebug. "The pimp missions in GTA let me customize my own car? Why'd you tell me it was a sex thing?"
I stared in frozen horror at the thought of what he was about to learn, and with a deep sigh, I said, "Go get your brother. I don't want him hearing a grapevine version of this later from you."
And just like that, a show about modifying cars had turned into me explaining what a prostitute is. And how they sometimes use pimps to not only take care of the financial aspect, but to provide protection for the women. And how dressing flamboyantly was a means of attracting other prostitutes to work for them because it let them know that 1) they were indeed pimps, and 2) their wealth showed that they could do the job. And how over the years the word "pimp" took on a more general definition that stood for coolness and flamboyancy.
"So being a pimp is cool?"
Add another hour to the conversation where we're now talking about the fact that most pimps aren't glamorous rockstars, driving $100,000 cars and dining with celebrities. But in fact, most pimps are in and out of jail several times per year. And many of them beat the shit out of the women they "employ." And many of them also sell and do hardcore narcotics.
Now part of this is my fault for letting them play a game that features pimping in the first place. But you have to understand that even if they had never played it, hearing the title "Pimp My Ride" is enough to spark questions from kids their age. They just heard three words, and they only know the definition of two of them. It's inevitable that they ask what that word means. And if you give them some bullshit answer like, "It means customizing cars," they're going to start using it at school, oblivious to what it actually means.
And make no mistake, when they find out the actual definition, they're going to think you're a complete dumbass. "Pfft. Our dad didn't even know what the word 'pimp' means."
#3. Space Documentaries That Tell Them They're Going to Die
I'm a huge space buff, and as my kids grow older, they're gaining interest as well. Now, when I sit down to watch a documentary on black holes, they're right there with me instead of rolling their eyes and disappearing into the other room to shoot each other in the balls with rubber bands.
But there's a problem. My oldest son is a worrier by nature. We have to be very careful how we phrase things around him because he can take a simple offhanded observation like, "This is tornado weather," and turn it into, "A tornado is coming right now, and we're all going to fucking die!"
"Why, dear God, did we choose to live in an abandoned barn?!"
Those of you who watch space documentaries already see the problem. The majority of them are either entirely about or include a segment about how the Earth could end without a moment's notice, and there would be nothing we could do to prevent it. The most popular of these being a life-obliterating asteroid (or what I like to call "The Assteroid") and how NASA is working on methods of deflecting it, should one appear.
What my son hears is, "NASA is working on ways to deflect the asteroid that will be butt-fucking the Earth in our near future." So that spurs a very long conversation about "near-miss" objects and the low chances of a pinpoint collision. Like any almost-teenager, he takes my word at face value. And then Googles it when I'm out of the room.
Do me a favor and Google just the word "asteroid" right now and count how many sensationalistic articles and websites there are on the first page alone... all proclaiming our immediate or eventual doom. Now try "asteroid hitting the earth."
Feel free to look through all 1.7 million results at your leisure.
And that's the thing about these conversations. They are never straight forward, cookie-cutter speeches that you can stamp "DISCUSSED" on and file away from your parental inbox. In this situation, his research has now brought him to the 2012 doomsday nutjobs, and to a child all of their arguments sound like actual facts -- not the crazed ravings of dipshits who have no understanding of science on even the most remedial level.
You have to remember that to a kid, an adult's word is gospel. Everything they know, they've learned from an adult. If they do or say something that's incorrect, it's usually an adult who corrects them, so it's very easy for a child to just assume that when an adult relays information, that information is indisputable. And it's only when you're knee-deep in the second hour of explaining that a planet called Nibiru doesn't exist and it's not going to slam into the Earth, that you realize you're going to have to spend twice that long trying to break it to him gracefully that some adults are full of shit.
And no matter what they say, you should just automatically assume that they are wrong.
And then spend the rest of his adolescence hoping he doesn't think you're one of them.