“My friend said that all parents should have told their teenage daughters about STD by the time they are at least 14. When are you going to tell me about it?”
My daughter. 15 next week. Going on sixty.
For Christ sake. Just when I was about to settle down with a nice glass of red and take my bra off.
I wasn’t ready for the STD talk. I was unprepared.
I had to quickly do some mental calculations in my head and figure out what the initials meant. My mind doesn’t work well at the best of times and tonight, my confident young whippersnapper daughter had chosen to approach me after dinner which meant that I was ever so slightly pissed.
STD. What The Hell Is That?
I thought she meant those card things that go in the side of the computer. The ones that my husband always blames everyone in the house for losing.
It dawned on me that here she was, my beautiful, innocent, homeschooled girl, who has never attended a sex education lesson in her life, asking me what STD was.
Sexually Transmitted Disease.
Bloody hell. I’ve only just recovered from the tampon talk.
I decided to take her out for a walk in the dark and have ‘the talk’. That way, she couldn’t see me squirming with embarrassment.
Cool, Not Cool
People think that because I went backing around the world with my two teenagers for a year and slept on peoples couches, I am this free-flowing, no knicker wearing hippy who believes in self-expression and voodoo.
Very far from the truth.
Between me and you, I’d be happy if they brought back chastity belts, and even now I refer to ‘that area’ as you know…down there.
What a prude.
Anyway. Off we went down the road for the talk. In the dark.
And we talked. About the thing. The STD thing.
To say it went terribly is an understatement. In fact, it went bloody awful. I was pathetic.
When my daughter was a baby and talks like this seemed like a zillion years away, I’d imagined myself as a cool, hip and easy going mama. I wasn’t going to be an old fuddy-duddy like other mums.
I’d be open and have street cred. I’d probably go clubbing with her and everything.
Fast forward fifteen years and the reality is somewhat different. A braless, hyperventilating mess with wine breath, and a daughter who won’t even come to the supermarket with her.
We immediately got off on the wrong foot.
I intended to use words like shag and rubber Johnny, just to be relatable and show her that I was still very much alive and kickin’ in the sex scene thank you very much.
But I couldn’t.
The words just wouldn’t leave my mouth.
Instead, I chose to use condom and intercourse, I could feel my daughter freezing over like Elsa in a snowstorm. Probably thinking, oh my god. My Mother actually just said intercourse.
I was informed a few months ago by my son that in New Zealand, the word for sex is rooting.
Rooting. I know. How vulgar is that?
What’s wrong with sheep shaggin’ I say.
There was no way I’d bring myself low enough to utter a word so crude. Not around my precious girl. Can you imagine?
‘Well Babe, next time you are in the mood for a good rootin, make sure the Johny is ready to go ’cause there are some nasty diseases out there and you might find yourself up the duff, or even worse with thrush, and whatever they tell you about natural yoghurt, it doesn’t work’.
I must be the only mother in the world that hasn’t told her naive young daughter about the STD card.
The talk got worse. Much worse. She looked at me with utter disbelief when, in answer to her question regarding unprotected sex, I mused: “Noooo. You don’t want to ever do that. Not only could you end up pregnant but you could also get rabies”.
That’s what I said I kid you not.
IF YOU HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX YOU COULD GET RABIES.
For F*CK sake, Liz. You rootin’ tootin’ blumbering idiot.
I knew. I knew as soon as the word came out of my mouth that it was the wrong one. But I couldn’t remember the right word and I didn’t want to correct myself in front of her.
She already thinks I’m a halfwit who knows nothing.
So, I decided to keep going and bluff my way through.
I later remembered that the word I was looking for was the clap, but no matter. Rabies was out there now so I was staying with it. I don’t think she was listening to a word I was saying anyway.
I was on a roll.
I went on to speel some crap about Freddie Mercury and aids. The poor girl looked on in disbelief as I rambled on about how it was a bloody shame that Freddie died. And all because he didn’t use a condom.
I could see her out of the corner of my eye, willing me to shut up, cursing the day that she had ever been born to such an uncool, droopy boobed, freak.
We had only been walking for five minutes when she abruptly said “shall we go back in? It’s freezing”
Code for: this talk is over. Right now.
Shame really. I was just getting into the swing of it. I wanted to tell her my Rizzo from Grease story.
I tentatively put my hand onto her icy shoulder and tried my hardest to look intelligent. “If there’s anything else you’d like to ask me about my darling, absolutely anything, you know you only have to ask”.
So, that was the talk on STD
I think I can safely say that my daughter will never, ever have unprotected sex in her life – not for fear of becoming preggers and contracting a nasty, itchy lifelong disease, but from the worry of transforming into a monkey frothing at the mouth and singing Bohemian Rhapsody into the ear of her handsome kiwi sheep shagger.
So when it comes to your turn and your kid asks you to explain about the STD cards, tell them to come and see me. I’ll handle it.
I reckon I’m like Helena Bonham Carter. Not the cool Helena who lives in the mansion with an underground tunnel to Tim Burton’s bedroom, the other one.
The Helena out of the planet of the apes.
The one with rabies.
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