December Excerpt of LOSING IT

December 2, 2011

I suppose I attribute a lot of different things to why I waited until I was in my early twenties for “the real thing”.  My own paranoia that grew out of paying too much attention in middle and high school health class, my idiotic decision to take Biology of Human Sexuality in college, my mother’s insistence when I liked a guy to “just be friends, not sleep with him” and ultimately that I believed I would have a gut instinct telling me when I had met the right guy.  Looking back, it is no wonder that I ended up in therapy.    

 “Hey Dad, what does Immaculate Conception mean?” I was staring out the car window at a church we were passing.  All the other churches I knew were named after a saint.  My dad coughed and then cleared his throat. 

            “Uh…Immaculate Conception?” he coughed again.  “It means that…well it’s part of the um Virgin Mary story…it has to do with…uh-“

            “Oh Bible stuff?” I interrupted, bored already.

            “Yes!  Yes, Bible stuff.”  He still sounded uneasy and I did not understand why at that age, but decided I needed to change the subject.  Being a Cashew (half-Jewish and half-Catholic) I had been able to opt out of attending CCD or Hebrew school unlike most of my other friends.  Anything Bible-related was really foreign to me.    

            Then there was the movie “Adventures in Babysitting” a favorite for any female growing up in the eighties.  Elisabeth Shue’s character discovers her boyfriend cheating on her and he makes a flippant comment to justify himself about how her legs are locked together at knee.  At this point I questioned each of my parents as to what Bradley Whitford’s character meant and I was shushed and told to be quiet and just watch the rest of the movie.  But my favorite moment where my parents are concerned in relation to sexual activity was “THE TALK” I was privy to, the week before I left for college.  The three of us were about to embark upon our umpteenth trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond for more egg crates or God knows what else, when my mother decided she would remain home. 

            “I think I’ll just stay here, the two of you go,” she was looking at my father with a weird expression and speaking far too loudly.  Then she hugged me and whispered in my ear, “Your father wants to talk to you, just you and him.”  She let go of me quickly  and I stumbled as she hurried back into the house.  The ride to the store was uneventful as well as the actual shopping as we discussed details of my upcoming move into the dorms at the UniversityofDelaware.  But the ride home took a turn for the awkward when my father grew silent and I could sense we were about to have an uncomfortable father-daughter moment. 

            “So uh” he cleared his throat, “uh I just want to tell you that you need to be careful when you go to college.”  He shifted in the driver’s seat, clearly ill at ease.  A little confused at first, I responded thinking he was referring to partying and underage drinking.

            “Don’t worry dad, I know not to drink too much and never to put a drink down, walk away and pick it back up again and-“

            “No, no I’m not talking about that,” he interrupted, and then paused.  I sat there.  Uh-oh.  I know where this is going.  We sat there quietly, just the sounds of Cousin Brucie on the radio breaking the silence.  My father cleared his throat again for his second attempt.  “I just think you should know….” Another long pause ensued.  Then it all came out in a rush.  “AIDS will kill you and herpes is forever!”  He relaxed back in the seat, visibly relieved to get the words out.  More than a little bit in shock, I quickly replied.

            “I know.” 

            “Ok.”

            “Ok.”

And again we rode in silence.  Him satisfied that he had done his part to keep me chaste and me completely mortified.

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