Well. Just when you think you’ve reached an age where you know a lot about a lot of things, someone like Al Vernacchio comes along and brings something new to the discussion. Striking out, getting to first base, being a bench warmer, glove, nappy dugout – who would ever have thought that a simple stick and ball sport would give rise (pun intended) for a lexicon of sexual activity.

In November 2011, the New York Times featured an article called – Teaching Good Sex. Here’s the link. The piece also contains a link to a story about the author of the article called Behind the Cover Story: Laurie Abraham on Sex Education. Here’s the link for that one.

I remember that when we were in grade 12 at Denis Morris High School, our ‘sex education’ was delivered in part by our gym teacher, Miss Balint (clinical/boring) and partly by our religion teacher, Sister Carmel Marie (theoretical/metaphysical/if you do it you’ll get pregnant and/or go to hell) . Talk about conflict. And neither of them gave the impression that sex was potentially enjoyable and special.

doveI also remember getting thrown out of Apologetics class (held in the library with the doors and windows tightly shut) because I questioned the mechanics of the Virgin Birth and wasn’t satisfied with the answers Sister was giving me. In the end, we all learned pretty much the same way most people of my generation did – trial (poke, poke, ouch) and error (ouch, do you have a condom) in the back of the boyfriend’s father’s sedan, on a blanket in Burgoyne Woods or on a couch in the recreation room in the basement while ‘watching television’.

Those were the days when the Principal, Sister Mary Bernita, would have girls knees on the terazzo floor in front of her office so that she cold check that the hems of our ugly grey woolen uniform dresses were long enough to hit the tiles.

If a teacher saw that you had a run in your nylon stockings, you got sent to the office for a chat – those ladders of thin threads pressing against young flesh were considered inflammatory to all of the horny lads who glimpsed us in the hallways when we were changing classes. Even our cheerleader skirts had to be barely above the knee. The damned white wool sweaters were so thick and so oversized we looked like dough-girls. And only sluts did cartwheels in skirts. Students didn’t have rights, we had duties, homework, chores. Be seen and not heard. Good girls didn’t…. That all seems quaint now and kind of funny, but that’s how life was back them.

Educator Al Vernacchio suggests that we shift our choice of descriptive language from baseball to PIZZA. Ummmm, warm, chewy, yeasty, spicy, drippy, oozing with melted goodness. Whew. Okay. That analogy works for me. Now I have another story starter – a man and a woman are locked in a dimly lit room with only a hot tomato pie on the long harvest table. The only other items in the room are a fork, a tablespoon, a large white table napkin and a bottle of chianti. No, perhaps I’ll have them located in a kitchen with a pizza oven, a large bowl of freshly risen dough and a selection of toppings. Hmmmm.

Al’s brief talk about healthy sex education is provocative and humorous. Let the conversation begin!

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