On keychains and sexual education

April 28, 2010

A is for Adios

My keychain broke. Not a big deal, really. The keys are all still connected to the ring, so it’s not even an inconvenience. Just a busted fob, Mickey Mouse leaning against an A, brought back from Disney World for me by SJ almost 20 years ago, and attached to any keys I’ve had since I was old enough to lock things.

You don’t really think about your key fob, don’t consider that maybe Mickey Mouse stuck to an A is not exactly a sophisticated thing for a grown woman to carry around in her pocket every day, it’s just the thing that’s attached to your keys, it’s just there. Only when it breaks, when the little loop of metal snaps off of the fake leather band and clinks to the ground, do you marvel at the oddity of this decades old chachka, made in Taiwan, purchased in Orlando, attached to your keys since you’ve been old enough to have keys. It’s held keys to one car, three bikes, and nine different living spaces. It’s resided in who knows how many jacket pockets. It’s outlasted the friendship that bought it by 15 years.

It’s funny that the Mickey Mouse A should break this past weekend, because SJ has been on my mind lately. Blame Dalton McGuinty. The sex education kerfuffle was all over the news in Ontario last week, and I can’t think about sex education without thinking about SJ.

We all had that friend, right? The one who develops early, who knows girls who do bad things in parks with boys (or says they do), who teaches you lingo like “sucked his wood” and “popped her cherry”, who makes jokes you don’t understand about other girls smelling like fish.

In my sheltered childhood, SJ was an ambassador from Maturity, or at least what passes for maturity when you’re nine and clueless. She filled me in on all the “real” stuff I was too soft to figure out on my own, stuff she’d heard from her teenage uncle. But the problem with SJ, for all her worldly swagger? She was only nine, too. She didn’t know, not really. She just repeated bits of things she heard from her older cousins. Things about where body parts went and what happened to them, things that didn’t really make sense, but still sort of sounded true.

I was mystified by all this information and misinformation given and taken out of context. All I knew was that sexual maturity sounded horrible and I wanted no part of it and hopefully I would just die in some accident before the age of 13 so I wouldn’t have to deal with it (that was my morbid solution to a lot of things related to adulthood that I didn’t want to deal with). Finally, when I was about 11, I was at the Science Centre. Their Human Body section culminates in a very graphic display about the birds and the bees, including an interactive video about different types of birth control and how they work. That’s where I got it – when all the weird things I’d heard about what goes where finally made sense.

A little information, especially when it comes to sex, is a dangerous thing. It’s friends like SJ that make thorough sexual education from an early age very important. No euphemisms. No shame. Kids deserve to know how their bodies work, and how to keep them safe. I hope McGuinty keeps these things in mind while “rejigging” (or whatever the hell they’re doing now) the sex ed curriculum, and doesn’t bow to pressure from people who are trying to impose their own sexual hangups on the entire province.

3 Responses to “On keychains and sexual education”

  1. J Lo Says:

    I find it interesting how inanimate objects can take on a life of their own. I wear a necklace everyday that has far outlasted the relationship I had with the person who gave it to me. If it ever broke… I think I would be terribly upset, as I have worn it for close to 15 years. I think it is part of me now, regardless of where it originally came from. Interesting to think about. 🙂

    As for sex ed, I think you pretty much nailed what the problems are. 🙂 People like SJ now get their info from the internet, and though there is a lot of good information on there, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Kids need to know real information.

  2. seenonflickr Says:

    I’ve just lost an earring I’ve been wearing since my first year of undergrad – I’m really thrown off by not having it!

    And this post might be of interest to you: http://nadinethornhill.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/sex-ed-fail-a-long-reasoned-rant/

  3. […] a movie from the Nightmare on Elm Street canon, I was 10 and at a sleepover at SJ’s house. (Remember SJ? She was a great influence in all sorts of ways.) Actually, “watched” is not the right word. “Hid behind the couch with my Les […]

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