|"And that's how I was born, not what you tell me."|
Like any self-respecting mother-and-daughter combo, my mother and I decide to have the talk with the twelve year old. Not about the birds and the bees mind. She seemed to know enough of that, the other day she had come into my room sat on my little bed in the corner, and proceeded to tell me how much more dangerous some STDs were than others.
Chlamydia it seems, does not exhibit any symptoms in the female of our species, and in her book gonorrhoea was by far the most unforgiving and icky.
I sat there in front of my mirror hand suspended not sure whether to proceed with my make up or tell her to shut up because, good girls did not talk that way.
For the first time in my life I wished we were living on some slave estate in the 1800s and I could not so gently chide her but hitting her mouth and threatening to tell mama, or more ominously, the master.
Instead I took a deep breath, remembering that it was good for her to have such knowledge at such an age, you never know what these kids get up to these days,. And if it saved me having to scare her into abstinence by getting her a copy of AIDS In The Tropics, which the very thought of made me shudder and wonder if it was too late for me to clamp my legs together.
“Would you like to see pictures, we got a book at school and it shows you all kinds of stuff?”
I felt a cold finger of dread flick up and down my spine, there was only one book which showed all kinds of stuff and I had seen it when I was 14 and forced myself to forget. No way was that well spring of repressed memory going to invade my frontal lobe.
“uh no thank you my baby,”
I doubt that my head had any room for any such endearments but I like to think of myself as a not so harsh older sister and that I set a good example in refraining from a boorish degradation of my almost lady like eloquence. In my head I rival the queen.
“Oh, ok we have a test tomorrow and would you believe that she said we had to draw,”
The way she proceeded to tell me about syphilis and all the other disease, made me brim with pride. Nothing puts a damper on revulsion like a well elocuted recitation of any sex diseaqe.
Moreover her almost text book knowledge of herpes made famous in these parts by Rihanna wehuma (Rihanna of the enormous forehead) and Chris Brown wemahobi (of the much more chiselled brow) – I am quoting our local paper Kwayedza. So do not applaud my apt description of the duelling duo.
Now, where was I?
Following this discussion, mama and I being the self respecting citizens of the world we were decided it was high time she gained practical knowledge of the menstrual cycle and how to deal with it when it final came. She is going to boarding school next year and we wouldn’t be there to guide her through the blood and gore.
How to avoid embarrassment in the event of an accident
This can be achieve by waiting for everyone to evacuate the class/dining hall. And pretending like you are in no rush to go anywhere, and if a teacher comes to usher you out insist that you are perfectly fine where you are.
How to sit absolutely still in Case of any spillage
Brand loyalty is so rare in 12yr olds. The wrong pad can lead to an accident. To avoid this young girls are to be told never to move/fidget/flinch when their affliction begins. It can stand between you and that Justin Beiber stand in.
How to avoid the palms of any boy who thinks he can guess when your period is going to start.
When I was in High School, I was in the same stream as this short stocky little fella that only ever wanted to hold onto my hand when I was menstruating. He would look into my eyes knowingly and gently stroke my hand. He seemed to see into me. Years later I remembered telling him what was wrong, and realised that maybe he wasn’t so intuitive these days. But you never know there are so many apps out there and enough little boys willing to pay for them.
That covered the groundwork; mama refused a discussion of the proper use of tampons. Something which I felt would have saved us a lot of saliva and long indrawn breaths on hygiene and possible accidents.