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The Birds and the Bees: How NOT to Talk With Your Daughter, Unless Mine Turns Out Perfect, in Which Case You Should Take My Advice

My recipe called for ¾ of a cup of dry, red wine.  That left the rest of the bottle for me.  I’m now sufficiently liquored up enough to tell the story of how the birds and the bees talk went down with my 4th grade daughter.

It was not a planned talk, like these things probably should be; there was no thinking, strategy, or forethought involved.

No.  I got sick and tired of her dressing like a skank.

When I told my friends about how our talk went down, they all said that they were preparing their discussions, too, by ordering books and discussing it with their husbands.  At that point (strangely not before then) I was kind of embarrassed about my lack of forethought.

Is a weird talk better than no talk?

A visual representation of our birds and bees chat. All these characters magically appeared in our talk, which probably wouldn’t have happened if I’d had a plan.

It started like this:

We had girls over for a sleepover, and they played “pop star” all night. Katy Perry, Ke$ha, and Britney Spears roamed the house looking for singing, dancing, and paparazzi action. The girls remained in character for hours, even into the next morning while we ate pancakes. There was way too much makeup, glitter, and tight clothing involved (and we’re Texans!). After the other two girls left, my daughter continued to talk like Britney Spears. She’s too young and sheltered to know what Britney’s voice really sounds like, so she used her best Valley Girl voice. On top of the obnoxious accent, she was dressed like a ho-bag. It was stuff she had in her own closet — some of it outgrown — all combined in an unfortunate fashion.

I asked her to change before we ran errands, and she politely refused in the Valley Girl voice. She straight up didn’t understand why I wanted her to look like a normal person instead of a glamorous and tightly-clad fashion icon.

After the past two years or so, I have grown tired of this conversation. She routinely mixes her clothes in a way that makes her look like she walked out of Bebe. How she does this is beyond me, as most of her clothes are from Target. I thought I could save myself some future time and energy if I went ahead and busted out the penis talk. Because I’m a great mom, and if I apply some logic to this situation, she’ll totally understand, right?

I thought she knew a bit about sex. She’s old enough to have heard all kinds of misguided rumors, so I didn’t think this would be traumatic. Also, we’ve talked and joked about puberty several times because we get high on all the Axe body spray floating through the air upstairs, and that makes everything funnier.

However, she started crying once she realized that this was going to be that conversation because she was embarrassed and tired. Also, I think she didn’t want to know the truth, and I was about to confirm it. Let’s face it: anytime estrogen isn’t rushing through your veins, the facts sound yucky.

Our conversation went something like this, although I have condensed 2.5 hours down to 20 seconds:

Please note the delicacy, tact, and flow with which I carried on this conversation with my crying 9-year-old daughter.

Me: “You know why I don’t want you to dress like that? Penises.

Wait, wait, wait — let’s back up and talk about women’s rights and how far we’ve come through the ages. We women are finally being treated with more respect! We have more to offer than our bodies, and modern, developed society is finally realizing this!

Oh, and we should probably preface this with a quick science review. Keep in mind that we are mammals, and those eggs have to be fertilized somehow. Remember those orangutan monkeys we saw at the zoo this summer?  You saw how the male monkey was sticking that pink, slippery-looking body part into the female monkey?

And then the male went to the other side of the cage and covered himself with hay so nobody could see him, while the female hid behind her straw pallet and put a blanket over her head, like she felt dirty. [Do y’all sense it, too?  THERE IS A BAPTIST TEENAGER JOKE IN HERE SOMEWHERE.]

Me: “Yep, that’s sex for ya!”

Daughter: “HAHAHAHAHA!”

Me: “Oh, yes!  Hahahahahaha!  The monkey sex was so funny. God is hilarious! The whole process is crazy weird!

Except for that’s how human babies are made, and someday that may sound nice to you.”

Daughter: “WHAT?!!!???”

Me: “Don’t worry — you won’t want to do that until you have estrogen rushing through your body. Coincidentally, you should be married and fully medically insured before that happens.*

Have you seen that story in the newspaper about polygamists? Old men get married to really young girls just for sex. It’s horrible and illegal. That’s why those dudes go to jail. Would you like to be treated like you are only good for sex and don’t have a brain of your own? No way!

Katy Perry and Ke$ha sing lyrics and wear clothes that make people think they are only good for sex, so they are just like sad, hopeless, polygamist girls. Except for the pop stars also sing about excessive drinking and drugs, which is even worse. So now they are sad, polygamist girls who drink Jägermeister instead of milk, which means they will surely develop osteoporosis by age 35.

By the way, I want to touch on this subject again. Don’t do drugs because I once heard about a guy (friend of a friend of a friend) on LSD who thought he was a leprechaun, which was funny until he felt threatened and tried to kill people with a kitchen knife. And meth will make your teeth fall out.**

That female orangutan monkey did not even like having sex. You should definitely take off those tight pants.

I want you to be pretty and fashionable, but stay away from the whore look. 

Good talk!”

*In the perfect bubble we live in

**Don’t worry: we completed the full meth & cocaine discussion a couple of months ago. It was as delicately delivered as this conversation.

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  1. Love it! Laughed out loud reading it as much as I did when I heard you re-tell it in person. I’m still researching the topic before my talk with my daughter (like I don’t know enough about the topic from experience)…I have a book from the library and considering ordering one or two others as well. But there is something to be said from your honest, spontaneous talk…it is both inspiring and unforgettable.

  2. YOU should be a standup comic!!!!! I laughed aloud the entire time I was reading this- all the while my overdeveloped and under informed fifth grader saying, “what?? What, mom, what!!””. I am glad I know you!!

  3. Let me start by saying that is the funniest thing I have heard in ages (ok 4th funniest). My girls are older but I remember my sex talk with my oldest (now 15) and it started with me talking about blow jobs because girls at her school were giving them at school dances and she was going to a school dance (this was in LA and we moved very shortly after that, thank god). I really was planning on working my way up from “how kittens are made” but my timing was never there. So no planning on my part but your narrative brings back so many funny memories about that time!

    Thank you curly biscuit

  4. I really needed this tonight. Hahahahaha. Poor A. I can just see her expression when you talked about the monkeys.

  5. Outstanding…

  6. Hysterical! I scared my dog pounding my hand on the dining room table. Thanks for the laugh! 🙂

  7. Great! thanks for the share!

  8. So funny! We’ve had talks with 4 of our 7 kids and planned, or unplanned, it never gets easier.

  9. I love that what instigated this conversation is your notion that guys are, in general, scumbags.

    This probably requires a preface, but I’m just going to jump right in: one time, when I was in Haiti, these missionary kids were talking to me about their recently-acquired knowledge of sex and how they were excited to try it out. I frightened them with my “MEN ARE BAD (TO THE BONE (if you know what I’m sayin’))” attitude. Long story short: their mom came after me. She thought I presumptively introduced the birds and bees topic and then tried to brainwash her girls into throwing stones at the groins of all boys that came with visual range. (“Don’t throw until you see the whites of their eyes.”)

    I wonder if there are psychological repercussions from introducing children to sexual concepts based on the premise of fear and distrust…

    Guess we’ll find out! Three cheers for experimenting on young, susceptible minds!

  10. I wandered over from BlogHer and found this! Brilliant! My daughter is 7 and I am completely dreading this talk. When the time comes, I will just print out a transcript of this and use it! Thanks for the laugh.

  11. I can only hope that this conversation goes as well with my sons! I guess if they’re dressing like Ke$ha we might have to have lots of talks. : )

  12. Lol! This is greatness, Angela! It reminds me of the one and only conversation with my dad about these things. I had stolen “the book” from his dresser as a 9 or 10 year-old (I had found it there after he retrieved it from my older brother) and read it voraciously through and through. About two years later, he actually gave it to me to read. One day, about three weeks later, as I was washing dishes in the kitchen, I hear this voice–out of my sight, because of the cupboards dividing the room–from the eat-in area of the kitchen (my mom’s also still at the table, and I think my older brother, too):

    My dad : “Did get a chance to read—”
    Me (interrupting him): “Yep.”
    My dad: “Do you have any quest–
    Me (interrupting): “Nope.”

    And that is how I learned about the–yep…

  13. Just wait a few year and see what she and her friends ask. lol My daughter is 14 and for several years she and her friends ask questions that I would never have asked my friend let alone my mom. I like your humorous way of telling the story. It’s kind of ironic that the girls from the polygamist sects are dressed so conservatively and still be “sex symbols”. That story is and was so sad!

  14. My talk with my then-9-year-old son was also unplanned – and daddy was out of town of course. Since we’re confessing, it was after he and a friend had googled “naked man”, “naked woman”, “naked people”, “sex”, etc including images & videos. Installed netNanny after that, but in the meantime I laid on his 2d twin bed &, wavering between Discovery Channel animal analogies and human anatomy, we got through it. I have said things out loud to that child that I’ve never said before. The only question I dodged, though many made me bite my cheek before answering, was “how do you know the difference between semen & pee? What if you accidentally pee inside the woman?”

  15. PS – The best thing I did (perhaps the only good thing) was to ask if he hears contradictory information and to let him know he can always ask me or daddy for clarification if other kids have conflicting info. He replied – oh yeah, like you told me it’s called an erection but someone told me his mom said it’s called a “boner.”

  16. I am buying “The Joy of Sex” and hiding it in my closet. Isn’t that the way most kids find out about it?? Or I am sending my kids to Ang…

  17. Hysterical!
    This sounds very similar to my experience with “the talk” with my older daughter. She is 18 now and survived. Hope that gives you some peace of mind. Now…that being said…I have a younger daughter that is nearing the age for “the talk.” We have discussed a little but no major detail and I can tell the questions are just around the corner. Would I be a horrible mother if I just had her read your post? (to stop any strokes…I’m kidding…mostly)

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