… This means I have lived through clouds of testosterone during every one of those decades. I was a normal, plain looking girl growing up. This may seem obvious and insignificant, but bear with me. This is my vagina monologue. Life for an adolescent girl in the fifties was complicated…especially where sex was concerned. Bad girls did it, good girls did not, and no one talked about the reality.
The reality was that all boys wanted it, even if you were pudgy and ugly, no delineation in the subject intended. Certainly the cute blond cheerleader and the dark beauty carried the brunt of the masquerade, but plain looking girls had their fair share of sexual advances. If you developed early, you were the brunt of bad jokes and a sure date to the winter formal. Adolescent boys planned, bragged and lied about having sex or preparing to have sex.
Parents rarely conversed about it, never condoned it and condemned it at every turn. Boys had a pass to make a pass and girls had to stop them, drop them or roll over. None of this negates the actual physical needs, long professed in a back seat, of the males or the true desire of the girls to be popular in the hallway the next day. Good catholic schools prohibited patent leather shoes so that sinful boys would not be tempted to reflect on sex.
Elvis’s hips and suggestive dancing were evil and so much fun. Unfortunate and sometimes naïve girls were sent away by shocked and embarrassed parents, their lives uprooted and psyches shot, and the boys moved on, being a father a hiccup in their youth. It was decades of confusion and delusion…most relationships developed and disintegrated in cars over “if you loved me…” and “…promise you will never leave me”. Is it any wonder there was a sexual revolution in the sixties?
It was perhaps more of an evolution than a revolution. This masquerade had to end. I went to college in 1967. Girl’s who were away for the first time who managed to survive high school fell in love, got pregnant, got abortions, married or consoled those who were unlucky enough to have been fertile. This was the year panty hose came along, allowing mini skirts and short shorts were long in demand and women, who were still girls, enjoyed the freedom from patent leather restriction. Condoms and birth control were available but even they required mature judgment and an admission that you were going to have sex.
Whereas having condoms in your pockets was bravado for the fraternity boy, having to take a pill every morning with a dorm full of scornful sorority sisters was truly brave. The girls had hours and had to sign in and out. The boys did not have any restrictions as far as curfews or accountability. Did the curfew curtail coitus? The idea of a girl’s curfew was an unbalanced ill-conceived idea, pun intended. It usually meant that going back to the boy’s room was a silent migration at eleven. The discrepancies were obvious to even the least rebellious of us. All those pleadings from the back seat of a fifty- seven Chevy of “give it up” took ten years to succeed. We did.
We finally gave it up…along with flower power came free love. Being on the pill in ’69 and ‘70 was a statement, sleeping around was still looked down upon but doing so would not make you round. The addition of the pill allowed the girl to determine her destiny, instead of being persuaded or cajoled into sex.
The girls whose parents and church told them that sex was only for procreation had a very heavy dose of reality. Some married chastley and some hastily. Besides sex was only one issue, we had drugs and wars and other pressing matters to address. People were dying in
Viet Nam, at
State, in hotel lobbies and on balconies. Sex and cigarettes and drugs had the numbing effect some wanted. At least some girls who became pregnant out of wedlock (is it any wonder men avoided wedlock ) carried and cared for their babies.
Some men stuck, some stuck around, some stumbled…much like today. The only part of the playing field that leveled was the shame for women, that is of course if you did not talk to your parents, who were raised in the thirties and forties. I do not profess to know about those dating days. I am very sure men loved the revolution…strong women of the sixties did not need to be lied to be lied on and could be relied on to deal with the consequences.
This is a simplistic view of a very complicated time in a baby boomers existence. It is not meant to be inclusive but a small window on one aspect of a pregnant era.
What brings me to this tirade. I have watched fifty and sixty-year old men in dark suits debating that they will decide on contraception issues for years. This week, in 2012, I just saw a panel of men in suits reflect on women’s health issues in congress. I thought it should have been shown on a small zenith tube TV in black and white. Instead I watched it on a 55 inch LCD version in full color. Look how far we have come. The world has changed, men maybe not so much. I am sorry, but it is time for old men to get the heck out of our vaginas. They may well have an opinion and may express it, if indeed they were not the normal teen male or young adult. I do not suggest that responsible teens did not exist then or now, or to condemn the condom clad. However, normal was natural and the game was get it on. These same men have matured and become responsible concerned fathers and leaders. I use the mature verb sparingly, based on prominent male leaders, whose world judgments’ seemed smart, but whose sexual judgments’ seemed astoundingly stupid. I leave all subjects to them to discuss, save this one.
Before weighing in on the subject of birth control in any form, all men should be asked these questions. Did you coddle or coerce any girls in the back seat of your car? Did you ever profess that it would not seem natural with a condom or promise to pull out in time? Did you ever promise to take care of her if something happened? Can you ever remember a time that you put a girl at risk of pregnancy that could change her entire life? I expect that many men would be squirming in their seats. I suggest that if you would like to enter this debate as an adult male, publicly indicate your intentions. Then allow a reasonable amount of time to see if a back seat or fraternity room companion would like to weigh in on your credentials. Perhaps we could establish a 1 800- DOTELL number. Again, I do not suggest that these men do not exist, but their numbers and members might shrink. What I contend is that it would be much harder to put forth that panel of six. My guess is that at least fifty would have bowed out. If you can honestly say that you were not part of the problem, then we welcome your input, now, if not then.
These are difficult and delicate issues. The questions surrounding sex and its consequences have been around for many years and will continue to try our souls and consciences. It needs to be dealt with reasonably and rationally by those who are involved. One law cannot solve this issue for all people. Let us first agree that women have taken the hardest hit here and should take the lead on a resolution, if there is one. Ideally we should shoot for no unwanted pregnancies. Nature and history will tell us this is not going to happen. Are there waiting families for all unwanted children and system to put them together? Can we help a young girl who is afraid to tell her parents that they will understand? Can we convince her then that nine months of her life, the agony of giving up a child and whatever emotional trauma follows then will be worth it to her? What of the unborn child, certainly he has rights too. Is the wanted fetus a child and an unwanted one something else? Can we convince young girls and guys to abstain until they marry? History would again tell us otherwise. What if we add the issue of other delicate tissues, that of frozen embryos? This issue is religious, moral, judicial, and psychological. The opinions on either side seem to be absolute.
How can that be? Can we pick the leaders of our country based on their answer to these complicated questions? Some will say yes, some will say no.
Let us at least have an honest discussion. Let the men who have a stake in the answer, answer honestly. Women will have to be honest, too. This has never been easy where sex is concerned. Are we adult enough now to face off in the living rooms, if not the back seat, to address the bewildering issue of sex and its consequences? Wives and girlfriends and daughters of the men in suits, speak up. Tell them what it is really like out there. They will remember if you are honest. I understand your religious leanings. As the statement goes that there are no atheists in a foxhole, there are few burgeoning evangelists in a back seat. Before you weigh in on this subject, make sure you are qualified. Being the gender that gets pregnant is an instant qualifier. You can give us your opinion, vote with conscience and debate the issues, but our voice must be heard, now, if not then. Show them vaginas can talk, and yes, men will make that dirty, they really can’t help themselves.
Once again, people are dying, in
Darfur and convenience stores. We need job creation, green power, and some kind of political cooperation for the common good. We have all types of problems that have come in the 21st century. How can we still be stuck in the sixties with an aspirin between our knees? I heard that one in high school, along with the definition of a virgin; an ugly third grader. There are two relevant jokes I do recall. Do you know the difference between men and government bonds? The bonds will mature. Also, it is not a mixed marriage because one is black and one is white, or one is Catholic and one is Jewish, it is a mixed marriage because one is a woman and one is a man. I did not mention any political parties here as the separation about sex is between the sexes. Whatever happened to “Our Bodies, Ourselves” The old black and white tube TV has been redefined. Can we not have a lucid LCD 55 inch discussion on birth control in 2012 and involve women? Does this seem like too much to ask? Did the ERA pass? I understand Viagra is included in insurance coverage. Who are we kidding? I wish a four- hour, blue bodied, blind erection on all of them.