Friday, January 06, 2006

Public transit story #2: Sex ed on the 38

This afternoon, I learned to believe in second chances.

In the spring of my sixth-grade year, my Junior Girl Scout troop took part in a "Fun Day" with some of the other troops in the council. Mostly this was an opportunity for the Brownies and the Daisies to learn from the all-knowing Juniors. So we played a lot of games with parachutes, kickballs, and so on, and it was a lot of good, clean, girl-empowering fun. There was this Daisy Scout who decided I was The Best Thing Ever, as kindergarteners are wont to do with older kids. This little girl hadn't yet learned that, in most circumstances, it is highly inappropriate to lick people. Since I was The Best Thing Ever, I got my arm licked a lot by this loose-tongued, idol-worshipping six-year-old.

Then she started hanging off of my friends and waggling her tongue at them. "Be careful," I said to them. "She's gonna French you!"

To a sixth-grader, "French kissing" is a confusing concept. It's totally cool because it involves dating, but it's totally gross because it involves spit.

This Daisy Scout, however, thought that "Frenching" meant "running around shrieking and trying to lick people's arms." Which was pretty much what she was already doing. But when she started squealing "I'm gonna French you! I'm gonna French you!" I was filled with the horrendous, crushing guilt mastered by eleven-year-old perfectionists. What had I taught this innocent little child? But I stopped feeling horrendous, crushing guilt about this incident within a couple of years.

Fast forward fourteen and a half years, to this afternoon. So I'm on the bus in San Francisco. It's around 2:30, and school's just let out for the day. A horde of eighth- or ninth-grade boys piles on the bus. They're playing cards. And one of them yanks the sweatshirt hood of the boy sitting next to me.

"Dude!" another one says. "He just SM'ed you!"

"He what?" says the boy next to me.

"He SM'ed you!"

"What is this 'SM' of which we are speaking?" says the boy next to me.

"Dude, you don't know what SM is?" say most of the other boys, in syncopated chorus.

"No, what's SM?"

Silence.

"C'mon, dudes, tell me! What's SM?"

"Well, I don't really know exactly," says the first boy, "but it's a way that you, you know, do it."

I'm sitting there biting my tongue. I really want to give these boys at least a cursory definition of sadomasochism. But instead, I try even harder to read my book.

"It's when you chain people up and have sex with them," says another, bolder boy.

Just keep reading, I will myself. But it's getting harder and harder to concentrate on my book. I think I might explode.

"Wait, isn't that BSM?" asks the boy next to me.

"Dude, 'BS' is short for 'bullshit'," says another boy.

"No, BSM," says my seatmate. "I think that's what it's called."

"Isn't the 'B' for 'bondage'?" asks one of his friends.

Oh my G-d, I think my tongue is bleeding.

"Whatever, dude," says the hood-yanker. "Let's play cards."

So I guess I got my second chance. I've atoned for the Frenching Daisy incident of 1991. These boys live in San Francisco. They'll find out about all those letters soon enough.

1 comment:

CWBK said...

OMG...your last two snarks had me ROLLING! Oh the joy of observing human behavior by means of public transportation. Keep snarking!! :>)