Monthly Archives: April 2011

It came from the 1960s! (Life Cycle Library, Part Three)

Chapter 18 – Dating for Girls. There is no “right” age to begin the dating game, EveryGirlTeen. Some girls mature socially earlier than others, just like others mature physically before others (and by this, just so we’re clear, they mean “boobs).”

Some girls begin dating in grade school. And some may not start dating “until the sophomore year” and sometimes even later, but we don’t like to talk about them. *cough* spinster equivalent *cough*

A good timeline to follow is: group dates, which lead to double dates, which lead to a single couple going out on their own. “Double” your fun with a double-date, which is usually suggested by the boy, because he’s attempting to increase his chances that one of you are “easy.” If you are double-dating, the four of you need to discuss the plans to avoid misunderstandings, such as where you are meeting, what time, and whether clothing is optional. After enough of these group and double-dates, you’ll be comfortable enough to go out with one boy by himself. You’ll have acquired enough social skills, as well as perfected your best fellatio techniques.

What makes a great date? By which is meant, what makes you “dateable?” Really attractive girls are going to be asked out more, it’s true, but boys look at other things, too. (You mean, post high-school, right)? Enthusiasm is more important than looks. Act like a girl, not a tomboy. Be friendly but not “pushy.” (But, where is the line drawn)? Have a good sense of humor, especially when things are not going as planned. And be neat in your appearance! So, take your glasses off and squint, four-eyes. And smooth down your mohawk before you go out. Continue reading

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It came from the 1960s! (Life Cycle Library, Part Two)

Chapter 17 – How to Keep a Conversation Going. Conversation is an “adventure,” a “passport” to making new friends. I think they’re overdoing it a little bit, don’t you? The ability to converse with all types of people can be learned. They liken it to a recipe; just like making a cake, there are several ingredients. “Three of the most important are simple courtesy, honesty, and oddly enough, listening.” What about the eggs?

Courtesy is letting everyone have her say, and express her ideas. It’s only fair, as they just might be right! This facet of conversation is especially important when dealing with your parents, EveryTeen. Hear them out; don’t be disagreeable or fight back. They are absolutely right in barring you from dating that black boy down the hill. I don’t care how nice you say he is, no daughter of MINE . . .

Learn to listen. Know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. And be honest, lest the “conversational cake” fall flat. (They are way too invested with this food metaphor). The best way to make friends, of course, is to be too honest. Be forthright about your institutionalized brother, even if there is no rhyme or reason to bringing it up in the course of conversation. And, if you cause the person you’re talking to to back away, well, you didn’t want to be friends with them anyway, amIright?

It’s simple to “bake a conversation cake” (ugh, enough.is.ENOUGH.with the fucking cake), but occasionally we have instances where we become tongue-tied, “when it seems that only possible thing to do is to stare out the window or up at the sky.” Are those my only options? Continue reading

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It came from the 1960s! (Life Cycle Library, Part One)

Our next selection comes from the 20th century, but it might as well be from a different era entirely.

The Life Cycle Library for Young People was a 4-part, hardbound series detailing the cycle from birth to death marriage and family. The book sale room at my local library had the whole series, culled from some kind patron’s musty attic, but book 3 (on adolescence) was the only one worth spending my hard-earned dollar on.

Enough preamble. Let’s get started, shall we?

This volume (and probably the entire series) was published in 1969, by an outfit known as The Parent and Child Institute. On the cusp of the 70s and yet, has a 50s feel . . . getting ahead of myself.

A Note to Readers. The Editors want to let you know that the story that follows is “one of the most fascinating” in the life of a human. At this point in medical history, “doctors are trying to unravel the enormous mystery of how a baby comes to be.” Wait, they still don’t know about sex? Exhume Sylvanus Stall and Dr. Wood-Allen! But not together, as then you’re going to get stories about apple-dumplings being given to Jesus and children of the corn.

This book purports to tell its young readers about what to expect at this particular stage in their lives, as well as what will follow. Then, they have written a “special note to girl readers,” where they apologize for using “he” as the standard pronoun. In their view, to use “it” would have been “inhuman,” and writing “he or she” for everything would be “tiresome.” How about alternating chapters, hmm? To add insult to my personal injury, they do the written equivalent of a hand-pat with this: “we want our girl readers to know that we value them, too; that we are not showing favoritism to boys.” Oh, but in a way, you are, so be quiet, mostly female board, I’m ashamed of you! This is in the very heart of second-wave feminism, too, by the way, which makes it even more embarrassing.

Chapter 16 – You and Your Family. Continue reading

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