Sex Ed in the Sixties

The following is from the beginning of a short story by the same title. Read “Author Bio” to learn more.

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I was recently doing a search in Google to find a website that would confirm my suspicions about a Tele-huckster–a pet peeve of mine to which I am hopelessly addicted. One thing led to another and, yada yada yada, before I knew it, my flat screen monitor began flashing a string of sexually explicit pictures in brilliant pulsating color. It was an X-rated pop-up extravaganza; one I was unable to keep up with. I clicked frantically trying to close one close-up invasion after another. The bombardment continued on until it ran its course, eventually reaching some kind of worldwide web adult abyss that even the internet could not crawl below.

As I cleaned up the dirty debris I so innocently spilled–well maybe not that innocently–I was struck by my good fortune. Thankfully, the internet came along decades after my early teen years. Had this stuff been around in the Sixties, I might still be squirreled away in my attic room to this day, trimming the hair on my palms while mumbling incoherently to my seeing-eye dog.

On the other hand, learning the whereabouts, general appearance and overall purpose of female parts would have been a heck of a lot easier, not to mention more timely. Instead, my sex education was really the collective result of a hit or miss operation. At the time it was torture, but I don’t know, there was something funny about it too. And it all started at my local summer recreation center, Carteret Park …

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“What did Roy Rogers say to Dale Evans in the bedroom when the lights went out?” Mud Finnegan asked a rapt group of adolescent boys sitting around a long wooden table at our local summer hangout, Carteret Park. He was about twelve years old, a year older than I and several years older than most of the kids sitting on the benches–that was age-wise but he seemed a generation older than all us in every other way.

Mud looked around, working the table like a seasoned Catskill comedian. No one dared answered his question because it really wasn’t a question at all. It was an obvious lead-in to the punch line of another classic dirty joke; besides, no one had a clue as to the possible answer–no one that is except Moon Muller.

“I know!” Moon yelped in a lame attempt to impress the guys, as if he was really in the know.

“Shut up! You don’t know crap!” Fitzy snapped back, warning that one of his patented headlocks might be coming Moon’s way if he didn’t keep his big trap shut.

“Do too!” Moon fired back in a surprising show of bravado.

“Are you two f’in jerk-offs through?” Mud, as only Mud could do, used the “F” word with a certain artistic flair. He painted masterpieces with four letter words no differently than Monet did with colors from a pallet. Having regained the attention of his fickle audience, he continued to close the deal.

“Do you f’in dick heads want to hear the f’in joke or doncha?” His eyes got wide and kind of crazy looking, one eyebrow climbing higher than the other. Of course, we wanted to hear. Everyone settled down. He waited a moment, knowing timing was everything; then, delivered the goods.

“I’ll turn on my flashlight if you turn on your headlights.”

A flash of universal vacant thought swept across the sea of open jawed faces, like the eerie stillness before a tornado strikes, as our feeble brains scrambled to “get it”. Then, as if prompted by an audience monitor, an explosion of rip-roaring, doubled-over laughter swept around the table. Ah … Mud sure could bring it home. Making it all the more incredulous was that most of us struggled to understand the punch-line. But we knew enough to laugh because that always bought us time to figure it out.

Mud proudly acknowledged his success with a wide grin, while he waited for us to wipe the tears from our eyes, boogers from our noses and drool from our chins. He was on top of his game. Being the veteran performer he was, he launched into an encore with another doozey about some lost traveler asking some guy who is with a woman how far is “The Old Log Inn”; you can guess the answer. Another eruption of roaring, clueless laughter followed. Another tidbit of carnal information revealed.

That was my introductory class to sex education in the Sixties.
We weren’t taught concepts like “private parts”, and never heard of or cared much for formal words like “penis” or “breast” or “vagina”. Our language was narrow and practical; “logs” or “rods” and “headlights” or “cams” were all we knew or needed know to communicate with each other. Regarding “vagina”, only a few guys with older sisters had even the slightest notion of what that might be; most of us were under the delusion that girls had simply broken their logs off at birth; possibly by accident or through carelessness.

So all we had were Mud’s dirty jokes, and embellished stories of older sisters spied on or caught in some state of undress. It was all a forewarning of things to come. I mean we understood the direct symbolism of certain words to body parts and innately found the sophomoric humor in using such imagery in the context of a joke. But underneath it all we started to sense that there was more to this than met the eye, something sinister.

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