I was at the pool, watching all the bodies in their scant coverings of spandex, when I started thinking about abstinence programs. (Gee, I don’t know why, either. Actually, first I thought about tattoos for a while, then abstinence programs. My thoughts on tats are unchanged, which is why I moved on to abstinence so quickly.) Recently I had taken one of those left-right-left turns on the internet and ended up at an account of the Sex Lady, Jennifer Waters, and her entertaining presentation to middle-schoolers:

Jennifer Waters calls herself the Sex Lady. She likes to play matchmaker with Miss Tape and unwitting teen boys.

She slaps a piece of clear tape across Julian’s arm. He winces.

“It’s gonna hurt when I take it off,” the lanky boy protests.

“But it’s fine now, isn’t it?” Ms. Waters whips back.

The puzzled looks on 18 eighth-graders at Carrollton’s Arbor Creek Middle School brighten. The Sex Lady has made her point: Bad relationships hurt.

Is that her point? Actually, the point comes later in the hour:

The Sex Lady tells Julian to break up with Miss Tape.

“I don’t wanna,” Julian screeches before obeying. He cradles his arm as he sits down.

Ms. Waters shows Miss Tape to the class before calling up another boy, Spencer.

“We got some skin, Julian’s hair,” she says. “Spencer, did you get a good look at Miss Tape?

“You bond with Miss Tape,” she says, slapping the strip onto Spencer’s arm. “Everything Julian had has now been passed on to you.”

Ms. Waters does this again with a third boy, Jonathan. This time, when they break up, the tape comes off pretty easy.

“What happened to the bond?” Ms. Waters asked the class.

“It didn’t hurt as much,” a girl replies.

Get it? Sleep with too many people, and you’re like an old piece of tape. Note that the tape is female. Of course. In these little presentations, women hardly ever get to be actual human beings. Don’t buy the cow if you can get the milk free. Remember that one? Then I read something where the woman was a tree, climbed by a man, and honestly, if the writer hadn’t said, “This is a metaphor of marriage,” I wouldn’t have had the first clue what he was talking about, except that it sounded pretty Freudian, the guy clambering around in the branches and all.

Now it’s tape. I don’t think this is a good thing, going from a hooved mammal to a tree to a piece of sticky plastic. No wonder abstinence programs don’t work.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. I had drug education in high school. You remember that: There was a movie featuring Sonny Bono in an orange satin suit, talking about the dangers of mary jane. The story was that the movie was part of Sonny’s community-service sentence on drug charges, which sounds like a crock, but I don’t know. (Hey, I wonder if it’s on YouTube. Are you kidding? Everything’s on YouTube. Parts one, two and three.) Rewatching it today, I can see that the film makes a number of sound points — yes, I would rather the pilot of an airplane I was a passenger on to have recently smoked a cigarette rather than a joint — mixed with the usual heapin’ helpin’ of bullshit. I’ve known people who wrecked their cars when they were high, not because they were so tripped out and groovin’ on the cool summer day that they actually drove off a cliff, as the film shows, but because they tried to take the curve too fast.

There was another movie where a girl, babysitting and tripping on acid, puts the baby in the oven, thinking it’s a turkey. You don’t need me to tell you it was greeted by guffaws and several cries of “I’ll have what she’s having” from the darkened classroom.

I always wonder why we can’t try the truth. Is subtlety too hard for teenagers to grasp? We expect them to understand moral ambiguity by junior year (in English class, anyway); can’t we also tell them that taking drugs is a bad idea, but like many bad ideas, there’s a time when they seem like a very good idea. (I always thought everything you need to know about marijuana could be summed up by Samuel L. Jackson’s great exchange with Bridget Fonda in “Jackie Brown:” “That shit robs you of your ambition.” “Not if your ambition is to get high and watch T.V.”)

Same with sex. Nothing — even a bikini wax, even tape on your arm — hurts like your first heartbreak, but like virtually every other human being on the planet, you’ll live to love again, and better. Sex is a bad idea at 14, a less-bad one at 18, and if you’re not having sex, married or not, by 25, you’re missing out on a big part of life at the best time of your life to enjoy it. I’ve always found the fetishizing of virginity to be deeply creepy, medieval, Islamic. And get a clue, Sex Lady: Women are not tape. Nor are they trees, or cows.

Lecture concluded.

It’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood; lately I feel like I’m living in southern California. An enormous storm system passed through the area yesterday, and true to form, voided about eight raindrops on our little patch of heaven. It’s like all the heat rising off this asphalt island repels rain, or something. Anyway, the temperatures have moderated, the humidity’s down, and I’m off to Ralph’s Kroger for supplies.

Via Metafilter: Blogging the Definitive 1,000 Songs from 1955 to 2005 and Counting to 1 million — on the internet — has blogging reached its wank-rific nadir?

No, that would be this site.

Thanks for all the suggestions on how to spend my windfall. Making final decision soon, and I’ll let you all know.

Have a swell day.

Posted at 9:37 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

9 responses to “Double-stick.”

  1. Laura said on June 20, 2007 at 10:48 am

    My mom had the best abstinence program ever. I was a teenager babysitting a crying infant. I packed up baby and trotted her down the street so Mom could help me out. “Laura,” said Mom, “this is why 14-year-olds should not have babies.”

    Got it.

    I had my first child at 32.

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  2. alex said on June 20, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Miss Tape, eh?

    Well, if nothing else, the kids are at least coming away with some exposure to the queen’s vernacular.

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  3. harry near indy said on June 20, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve always found the fetishizing of virginity to be deeply creepy, medieval, Islamic.

    and christian, too.

    iirc, doesn’t catholicism say oral sex and masturbation are evil?

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  4. deb said on June 20, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    when i gave my 16-year-old the anti-drug speech, i went for the truth: the problem with street drugs is there is no quality control. you have no idea whether the joint you light up is sensimilla, oregano, or PCP-laced hash, and it makes no difference whatsoever to the person who sold it to you. hard drugs, same thing but worse, because you’re supporting — as you once said, BFF — a dirtbag economy.

    so far this has been much more effective than a “this is your brain on drugs” PSA, which he saw in health class and found absolutely hilarious.

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  5. nancy said on June 20, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    To be sure, many Christians are fetishizing virginity these days, but many more aren’t, at least to judge from my immediate circle. The local plastic surgeon who advertises hymen-restoration services is probably seeing more Arab girls than anything else.

    Don’t get me started on the revisionist “40-Year-Old Virgin” stories I’ve been hearing in the wake of “Knocked Up.” I mean: Just don’t.

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  6. brian stouder said on June 20, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    I always wonder why we can’t try the truth. Is subtlety too hard for teenagers to grasp? We expect them to understand moral ambiguity by junior year

    Well, I confess that it took me many years to get past concentrating on the intoxicating mystique of women (and taking the curves too fast, as you say); certainly I was deeply into my 20’s. I think Laura’s mom’s babysitting-a-crying-infant approach is suitably unambiguous and overt to reach through the horned-up fog of a young male (I baby-sat for a neighbor when I was a teenager, and that pierced my hormonal miasma)

    It is no revelation to say it – but indeed, this stuff flat-out depends on parents who care enough to lay the foundations for their growing children. Insisting…no, demanding that our young folks respect proper authority, and consider consequences and think about how others will be affected before they act, in all things (and not just sex or drugs) seems to me to be the only responsible path caring parents can take.

    And yes – all this stuff also belongs in public schools. Reading, Rriting, and Rithmetic – and how to act Responsibly in society – sounds like worthy public education goals to me

    (hopefully I have closed all the tags)

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  7. crowbarred said on June 22, 2007 at 4:46 am

    i dont know why, but to be categorized as wank-rific nadir i feel a bit unjustified. Dont blame the internet because of me, i just wanted to share thoughts/opinions/discussion

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  8. coozledad said on June 22, 2007 at 8:34 am

    A lot of the early drug use is the result of the nascent power games among young people on the threshold of adulthood. It’s pure coercion sometimes. When I look back on it, I tend to see it as a simile for a lot of the callous stupidity that followed.

    I don’t have children, but I suppose it would be good to remind them every now and then that some people get off by trying to deny your agency. And you’d have to prepare them to be able to fend these miserable jokers off.

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  9. Mary T. said on June 28, 2007 at 10:53 am

    My favorite was on a Wife Swap (I think) or one of those shows, where the Christian mom tries to tell the snickering teenage girls of her “adopted” family that their virginity is like a chocolate bar, and if they lose their virginity they’ll be all bitten up just like a half-eaten chocolate bar. Um, okay. So does this mean that once your husband has eaten the whole chocolate bar, he can go to the grocery for a new one?

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