Monday, September 15, 2008

Her Body, My Self

I am a heterosexual man who is so in touch with his feminine side that it has occasionally brought me up on harassment charges. Therefore, when Thing 1's bedtime reading selection for us was titled "The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls," I was fully prepared to read and share my experiences on the perils of acne and unwanted and/or strategically placed body hair.

Then I opened to where the bookmarker had been placed.

In rather large san serif white-on-orange lettering, the chapter heading spelled out, "Period."


"You sure you want this book tonight? What about that fairy book you got from the school media center?"

cartoon vagina utereus"No," Thing 1 insisted. "This is what Mom and I were reading the other night."

"Then let me get Mom."

"No. It's your turn to read to me tonight."

I scanned the page. It had a cartoon drawing of a young girl in a purplish T-shirt and green shorts. Her shorts seemed to have a piece of paper pinned across them.

With a diagram.

Labeled "vagina."

And "uterus."

Monty Hall, that looks like a sweet trip to beautiful "Blushing Dadland," but I think I'd rather have what's behind Curtain No. 2. Oh, a goat munching on an old shoe? Faaaaan-tastic.

I started listening closely to the sounds out in the hall. My Love was tucking Thing 2 in for the night. She has probably read him another book about flesh-eating dinosaurs or bugs that crawl into your crevices and leave their slimy eggs to fester and hatch. Lucky wench.

I cleared my throat. Oops, lost the page. Gotta find it again.



"OK," I said, hearing doors opening and closing beyond the bedroom. "You read the first sentence, sweetie."

" 'Getting your period. There are probably no other words that will make you feel as exited …' "

"No, sweetie. The word is 'excited.'"

"'Excited, scarred …' "

"'Scared' not 'scarred.'"

"'Scared, or just plain confused.'"

Oh, frickin' tell me about, stupid authors! Who wrote this? I flipped back and scanned the preface page:

american girl signatureWhy? Why do these people torment me so?

"Dad," Thing 1 said, "why are they calling it 'period.' I thought it was called 'puberty'?"

"All right. Those [footsteps] are … two [closer] ... well, different [doorknob turns] … things."

If ever My Love should have entered a room wearing a blue spandex outfit with a flowing red cape, this was it. I wonder which "special box" we hid that one in?

"MOOOM! Hey, we are sooooo glad you stopped by! Thing 1 here and I just started reading this very, um, detailed book you bought her. Maybe you can help us out with this question here …"

I bugged out, seeking comfort in the drunken, oversexed manliness of Tucker Max's "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell."

About half an hour later, My Love and I had a strategy review meeting.

"Honey," I said, "you know I'm more than willing to tackle most cringe-inducing subjects with the kids but -- I'm sorry -- you were on the premises and I think you'll admit this is probably a topic  not within the grasp of [here's where I really sell it to the executive goddess within her] my particular skill set."

"I know!" she said. "I purposely stopped on that page the other day. I wanted to wait a while. Three days ago, we were reading a book about princesses and fairies. I didn't want to jump into periods right this minute. I meant to hide that book for a month or so."

"So ... how'd it go in there?" I said.

"OK. I gave her a demonstration about tampons …"

"Frick on a stick!"

"No, not on me! I just unwrapped one and showed her what it was."

A little later, after my heart returned to its normal rhythm, My Love mentioned that she had read that now that Thing 1 had started to, uh, sprout in certain body areas that it was likely that her first period could occur within the next year.

Why do I suddenly feel like a man on death row watching the lights flicker overhead?

Video: "Heterosexual Man," The Odds
If any of this made you feel uncomfortable, please go to and report me to the proper authorities.


  1. Hee hee hee .... this is a very popular book in my house. Too popular. Princess showed it to Sweet Pea, who then proceeded to come into the kitchen, stick her 7 year old chest out, and say, "According to that book, I"m Stage One."

    Look it up ...

    CT Dad is ready to move out until both are in college.

  2. I think you handled it perfectly. Tucker Max--beer, I mean there was no other way!

  3. Ha! I read the same book with my daughter and it didn't go any better for us. The chapter on tampons (or tampams, as she called it) was really jarring, because it was nestled between hair hair and keeping your skin acne free. See? *this* is why we ban books. And burn them.

  4. Dude - you way surpassed Hubby who wouldn't even stay in the same room when I researched "how to talk to your kids about sex" books (your next step)on the internet.

    Wait till she picks up AG's "A Smart Girl's Guide to Boys". Hubby purchased the companion book: "A Smart Dad's Guide to Boys: How to Inflict Pain without Leaving a Mark"

  5. Dear God in heaven, the day my husband gets stuck with that book in our daughter's room will be the day I become a widow!!

  6. I dread the day with my 9 year old ...she asked what puberty was the other day (damned Suite Life of Zach and Cody)...I said "it's sucks."

    was that the wrong answer?

  7. CT Mom - My Love has kept me up to speed. She said they failed to include Stage Six in which a women's breasts, eventually reach down to her kneecaps.

    Paper - No other way that isn't illegal in most Western countries.

    Marinka - It is too late to register Republican?

    Mom of 2 - I'm already on the wait list for that edition.

    Heather - I know a nice Jewish doctor ...

  8. Swirl - You snuck in on me there. No, I think that about sums it up.

  9. Note to self: Must have daughters for these reasons. 1. Restore male/female balance in household. Tired of being outnumbered in house full of boys. 2. So Husband can experience this particular brand of fatherly horror in order to 3. Amuse me.

  10. Oh. My. God. You are NEVER invited to our house again unless you promise to keep that evil book from our premises.

    Although I share equipment with The Girl, I botched "the talk" with her so bad that she bursts into tears whenever she even catches a glimpse of the tampon box in the linen closet.

    And last night, I was laying down with The Boy at bedtime. I was wearing shorts, and I rolled over to give him a hug and put my leg over his legs, prompting him to scream, "Eeeewwww, Mom! Are you even wearing pants? 'Cause I don't want your "china" [read: "vagina] on my legs".

    Yep. I have officially abdicated all motherly sex ed responsibilities to Manager Dad.

  11. Today...sigh...I bought a book for my boys. I already freaked my oldest out last year when he came home from a week of 'period and puberty' class at school, that I think I'm banned from saying the word 'penis' in my house. This, of course, means I'm free to use the multitude of other names I have for it, thus freeing me from being the one who has to read the book with them!

  12. Steph - What exactly did the hubby do to earn your wrath? Don't say "leave the seat up" b/c when do you ever leave it up for him.

    Atomic - For a modest fee, My Love will produce a PowerPoint to guide you thru it.

    Manager MILF - One, happy birthday. Two, I don't understand why Manager Dad doesn't drink more heavily. I'll have to work on that.

  13. Wow! While The Wife and I don't have kids, we do have an almost 2-year-old nephew. I thought the books about pooping were bad. Now I guess not.

  14. Very nice. I think my hubby would have run screaming from the house and not returned until P was in college. He won't even buy tampons, I highy doubt he will have the period talk with P.

  15. that made me cringe. but then i smiled. and then i saw the "tucker max" reference and felt a kinship. all is well.

  16. I swear I will come over and explain all about puberty and periods to your daughter if you'll come over here and explain to my son why he has to lock the door when he's "reading" in the bathroom.

    For 45 minutes.

  17. On the plus side, at least you didn't tell them it was God cursing them for having evil thoughts or some other such. Some things you can't expect a man to explain too well.

  18. Oh dear me. The only thing I ever have to explain to the dogs is that they really shouldn't be licking themselves that much, or that loudly ...

  19. Ok, you win. I'm going over to that damned Humour Blog site to poke you or whatever the hell we're supposed to do over there.

    Because I fear this moment, and you've made it manageable and funny.

  20. I'm quite glad that I have 3 boys and only one girl. She's 14 but we've handled the whole puberty thing and we're past that.

    Now it's Hubby w Warszawie's job, except that I know they will talk to me anyway - because I'm more open than he is. Even though I only PRETEND to be open. They buy it.

  21. Ha! This is one of my fave posts of yours ever! You handled it well, AHUC!

  22. FADKOG - And what is your preferred penis synonym?

    Ramble - Yep, this made potty training seem nostalgic and romantic.

    Collette - Chicken dad!

    Muskat - (fist bump)

    Anissa - Deal.

    Chris W - The beer has really dulled my witty comebacks with the kids.

    Dennis - But do the dogs respond?

    Backpack - HB does tend to be fickle. Hope it worked.

    Kylie - Faker! Doesn't bode well for the hubby.

    ST - Awww! Thanks.

  23. I would die if I had to talk to a child about getting a period.. but I'm the same woman that at age 41 still can't use a tampon with an applicator cause no one ever taught me how.. Wait a minute, this isn't Post Secret? Shit

  24. OH my freakin' goodness, Dude! This is hysterical! What a horrifying experience for dad (which, I agree with everyone, you handled SO WELL)! My Hubby would have D-I-E-D! And yet, eventually, I think I'll have to purchase that book. Can I send him over for a pep talk on how to deal with the girls?

  25. poor thing. My daughter (who's 8) already knows about periods. I'm just glad I don't have a little boy and have to go through the whole "why are my sheets wet" in the morning thing.

  26. Oh, and even though I'm a woman, I LOVED Tucker Max's book.

  27. I have 3 kids and totally botched it on the first one. I think the DH can do a better job than I did. We'll see.

  28. Hmm, wonder how that would go down in my house...ha ha....
    I have considered buying that for my girl child. I'm afraid it may be time.

  29. Okay, I feel really bad now. See, my Noah and Tessa already pretty much know about the birds and the bees. It came from necessity from being walked in on in the middle of sex by both of them at separate times, and the fact that I can't go to the bathroom by myself. No matter what.

    But the good news is I won't have to deal with those terribly awkward conversations later in life.

  30. I had that book two.

    About 7 years ago, only an older version.

    I hated it.

    My mom didnt read it to me. She expexted me to read it myself.. thank god.

  31. by the way-- I know i used the wrong two.

    It should be "too"

    But-- Im a fucking moron.


  32. LMAO! That is so funny because it didn't happen to me! I think I'm too immature to tackle all that puberty stuff!

  33. Thank the good lord, in whom I don't really believe, that we had a boy!

  34. I love talking about periods in front of men. Love to see them squirm and turn all different shades of green.


  35. I went through periods with two girls and a working mother, no books in those days, it was all fly-by-wire.


  36. That is hilarious!!!! I'm putting together an anthology on period stories with a friend of mine and we're looking for some stories from men about their experiences with their daughters, sisters etc getting their periods. I would love for you to submit this story!
    The deadline was Monday, but feel free to submit anyway.

  37. Man, I feel your pain. I've seen that book and dread the day my daughter asks for me to read it to her.

  38. Note to self: Thank wife for producing two boys.

  39. My mother sat me down with a birds and bees book for me, and a vodka tonic for her.

    Glad you found your way out of that one!

  40. Hubbie is already dreading that talk. I told him no worries I will ease her into it. Girl will talk to girl so you dont have to tread there.
    To bad we have 2 boys he gets to have the "talk" to.
    I think you did perfect with it. Good job dad.

  41. That's because you are, man, you are.

    You're gonna get a lethal injection of hormones and hatred.

    Warning: They don't always quite kill you on the first dose.

  42. I taught this and other such topics to high schoolers with ease. I wonder/hope/think yet am not so sure it will come as simply with my daughter, but it might. I'll be pleased to handle it half as well as you did.

  43. Hey, I'm a mom and I'm not ready for my girlys to experience that --- nope nope nope.

    They see the stuff in the bathroom and ASK and I'm all ... uh uh uh Don't we have somewhere we have to be right now? Hurry up ladies, it's time for uhhhhhhhh, something.

    I feel your pain.

  44. when hubby doesn't complete Honey Do List in a timely manner...torture shall prevail in the form of "body talk" with daughters.

    Thanks for the great idea!

  45. "Heterosexual Man" is destined for cult classic status in my neighborhood. Thanks for stoppin in at The Mister.

  46. These American Girl people must be stopped!

  47. HA! This is so classic. I grew up with three sisters, no boys. At one point, my dad threw up his hands..."Can we ever have just one conversation in this house that doesn't revolve around tampons and training bras?!" No. No we cannot.

  48. Oh, you are giving me a very scary glimpse into my future. Also, I just don't undertsand why American Girl is giving advice re: menstruation. V. confused.


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