In Catholic grammar school we had a special class one day where the boys and girls were separated and the nuns talked to us about girl things and the brothers (which was a weird order of celibate male teachers who were not priests, kind of like male nuns) talked to the guys about boy things. Man, that was a bad place to get your information. A lot of these folks had serious problems that led them to this life style choice and while I won’t judge them for it, I do wish that they did not get to teach kids about sex related issues.
Quite honestly, there were a few good nuns and brothers and a few very bad ones, and a bunch fell in the middle as just OK, or messed up people who were trying to do the right thing to heal whatever wound they had. The problem was that they really did not have positive resources to help them things got distorted and wacky stuff went on all the time. I do remember one rather harmless brother who really tried to teach us and care about us, telling us that “doing something once as a boy scout did not make you gay”. At the time I remember not being sure if he was trying to convince us or himself.
So on this one peculiar day, all the girls got brought to the lunch room for the inside info.
Sister Veronica told us that god made our bodies perfect and god gave us “public” hair to protect the part of our bodies that babies come out of. Did she really never hear the word pronounced properly before and get it that wrong? Next, she explained the purpose of getting your period, pretty accurately, and also added that “sometimes it may seem like we have a cold down there, but t is normal to have some discharge”. It was not until I tried to get pregnant and really studied fertility, that I did find out that there is a particular point in your cycle when you are ovulating and your body makes a very special fluid referred to as “sperm conducting fluid” that helps keep the sperm alive and get it to its destination. Perhaps this is what she was referring to? At the end of the class we were all given little boxes with a sample shampoo and a maxi pad. We were told not to show it to the boys or we would be in big trouble.
That was our sex education. Luckily, I had a mother who was progressive about sex and had already explained things to me intelligently. I really appreciate that, and I feel for the poor souls who had to rely on Sister Veronica, who probably had to rely on some nun’s limited knowledge when she was younger.
Me and my girlfriend threw away the dated old lady pad because we already knew about tampons. We shared a cigarette on the walk home from school while my friend ranted about the incident, “’Public’ hair? What’s fucking Public about it?” I still wonder what the boys learned that day.