*The following is an excerpt from the book I am writing, which details the various fables and events that unfolded throughout my entire life – up until this point anyway, as I’m not penning this from beyond the grave. The book is challenging me to venture down paths to unlock memories I’d rather have forgotten, and also talk about things that I struggled with as I believe they are issues faced by a lot of us today, in particular members of the LGBT community and those that suffer from some form of mental illness. The book is part comedy, part sad; a mixture of brutal honesty and recounts events in very real detail, from heartbreak, to sexual abuse, to ridiculous party antics to discovering a strength in myself I never knew I had.
This is a small snippet from the second section the book about my years in high school. All names have been altered so I don’t get sued or beaten up. Opinions and thoughts welcome*
Sex Education: I don’t know anyone that when they hear those words together doesn’t immediately think of that scene from Mean Girls. The one where the couch essentially tells everyone if they have sex they will get pregnant and die. That’s pretty much the most relatable scene I’ve ever watched in my life. Not just because of the blatant exaggeration but because of the sheer volume of ignorance you are left with when you leave the class. The gaps in my knowledge were so drastic that I once tried to use the excuse ‘I’m on my period’ to get out of swimming lessons in school. The teacher took pity and let me skive.
There is an array of regrettable memories from high school sex education classes I carry with me every day. Every time I’m discussing sex I’m thrown back into the trauma. The lessons learned are forever imprinted on my mind.
Lesson 1) How to Put On a Condom
I never expected my school to actually acquire a dildo for this overly graphic step-by-step guide on how to ‘wrap it properly’ (direct quote from the teacher) but after that class I really wish they did. Because for years after I couldn’t quite work out how to get a rubber on; and it got to the point where I was forced educate myself via a YouTube tutorial and at this point we only had a family computer.
The class erupted into fits of sniggers and giggles when she (the teacher) announced what today’s lesson plan was. We sounded like a pack of immature hyenas. I’d had some experience in the penis department, but I had never used a condom before – to be honest I spent the first fifteen minutes of that lesson in such a state of denial I thought it was an elongated water balloon. It was only when she reached in her desk and whipped put a generously sized banana that the realisation of what was actually going to happen set in. The events that unfolded have scared me in such a way that even now when a guy says to me during the build to an intimate moment ‘have you got a condom’ I get shivers down my spine and quite often lose my erection.
‘Who wants to go first?’ She said as if it was a roller coaster ride we were about to get on. I sunk into my chair and clocked an open window and contemplated if the fall would kill me or not. Luckily for me some of the boys in my year had the sexual maturity of a pancake and leaped on the chance to go first. The class clown strutted up to the front of room, snatched the banana and followed the teacher’s instructions on how to unwrap the condom. To be fair it started off fairly well but as soon as he had to slide the condom over the banana he asked his friend ‘Craig, is this what it feels like when Kirsten gives you a handjob?’ And before his friend could answer he squeezed the banana so hard it splattered over his hand and partly over the teacher’s face.
You’d think such a display would prompt our teacher to think ‘right, let’s call it quits today’ but no. Not at all. After shovelling the remains of the now flaccid banana into the bin, she continued the lesson. Only she didn’t have a spare banana, so instead tipped a stole upside down and pointed to the next ‘volunteer.’ Me. The legs of said stole were square. Fucking squarer than a box. I felt as though I was trying to solve a bloody math equation as I looked blankly at the diameter of the square surface. As she instructed me how to unwrap, unravel and unroll the condom over the square stole leg she deemed phallic enough to use in her teachings I immediately resented my parents for not home schooling me. The condom burst and the bit of wood thrust through the tip of it, I lost my balance and knocked the stole over. The class applauded and laughed. It took me weeks to recover, weeks. Sometimes now when I’m drunk and a guy is getting undressed, in those moments just before he takes of his underwear, I am struck down by an uncontrollable fear that I’m going to be confronted with a square-shaped penis.
Lesson 2) Learning That Gays Aren’t Animals
During another Sex Education class, a boy called Jon (not to be confused with his best friend with the same name, but spelled it John) spoke up after one of the ‘informative’ videos we were forced to watch educated us on those Gays and Lesbians. May I just add the majority of the content taught in that class I deemed wildly inappropriate for our age group, as none of us had the maturity to discuss any of the matters without laughing. One time a boy laughed so hard when someone said ‘vagina’ he peed. Another time someone fainted during a video of a woman giving birth. How does this benefit a thirteen year-old?!
During aforementioned video the topic of girls liking girls, and boys liking boys came up, which prompted Jon to say ‘gays make me feel uncomfortable cause they want to have sex with me’ or something similar that was equally as redundant and stupid. I could feel my eyes roll so hard I was sure they were going to get lodged in the back of my head. The teacher spoke up, saying that gay guys have preference and personal taste, just like ‘normal straight’ (quote) people do. See, I wasn’t that different!
The lesson continued as did a flurry of horrific questions. Being the token gay, and actually the only gay, in the class I knew that all questions were not-so-subtly aimed at me. Eventually John (not Jon) asked if I ‘fancied’ him or any other guy in this room. Another ape spoke up and asked if ‘sucking a dick makes you gay’ then of course asked me if I had in fact ‘sucked a dick’,(*) as if I needed to do that before I could be officially ordained into the Gay Club.
I don’t know if this was my class mate’s way of asking who I was attracted in the class, or just another stunning display of him speaking without thinking, but before I had time to answer a girl interrupted and said: ‘You gave Jon a blow job during truth or dare, so does that make you gay?’ The class erupted into laughter ‘Aye but only four five seconds!’ was Jon’s retort. My face beamed red. The teacher told us to hush down and I sat there silently nursing my newly emerged erection.
So lesson learned there? Anything less than ten seconds and its not gay apparently.
*I wonder if they thought homosexuality was structured in the same way as Scouts? You had to carry out certain acts/tasks in order to gain badges which ushered you further up the gay ranks. Like a Jedi Academy, going from a shy Padawan to a flamboyant Jedi knight, learning all kinds of ‘lightsabre’ mastery along the way. *