My daughter won’t be in middle school for a few years, which is good, because I start to get the terror sweats when I think about it. I will always remember middle school as a kind of hormonal nightmare show of mean girls, pre-algebra, and trying to navigate the “feminine hygiene” aisle at Giant, a grocery store up north. I deal with the inevitability of my own kid entering middle school by ignoring it completely and pretending that she will be a blissfully happy elementary student forever. For the most part, it works. We live across the street from our town’s middle school, so I just shut my eyes as I drive past it, assuming that middle schoolers are old enough to get out of the way of my car.
But then, every once in a while, something will force me to face reality: a sullen looking trick or treater at my doorstop, for instance, dressed in a too-small ninja turtles costume or a fundraising eighth grade cheerleader who has two volume settings: mumble and whisper. Last night, this reminder came in the form of a district-wide email about two horrifying words:
Apparently, this is coming up fast for the uncomfortable youths of our little town, and the email made sure to let parents know that they could vet the subject matter at a board meeting before inevitably yanking their kids from the class, which is something people actually do here.
Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link that took me to the outside group that comes and does presentations at the middle school, presumably while dressed up like Shamey, The Talking Purity Ring and singing such abstinence ed classics as, “A Sticker’s No Fun After Being On Four Shirts”. Or something.
I knew we’d have to deal with this perplexing type of sex ed. My husband had abstinence education, and he turned out okay, mostly because his parents injected a little sanity into the ordeal. We agreed that I would take the lead on this, not because my husband is weirded out but because I got the opposite of whatever abstinence ed is. As in, lots of discussion about masturbation, consent, contraceptives, and this weird silicone nutsack and boob that we were all supposed to feel in order to find the mystery lump as a nod to self-exams.
Since I’m obviously the expert, and I have the matching equipment, I gladly—and a little superiorly—agreed to be my kid’s go to on all things downstairs related.