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Awkward talk

We recall our "big talks" with mixed results.
By TOCK staff |

“I remember my parents had to lock my older brother in the basement when they had the sex talk with him because he wanted no part of the conversation, and locking him in was the only way they could force him to listen! He was 12 and had no idea what sex was but didn’t want to find out.”—Stephanie Gladney,TOCK art director

“My mom gave my sister and me a book called Period. (The title had a red dot at the end, to make things worse.) It was full of hippie-ish stories about how some girls feel during their time of the month. (‘Sally likes to sit by the window and watch the rain.’ ‘Megan bakes bread.’) In the back, there were cutouts of women’s body parts. She tried to use the book as a jumping-off point for a birds-and-bees talk, but we hid under our beds with our hands over our ears.”—Judy Sutton Taylor, TOCK editor

“As the child of ultraliberal parents in Boulder, Colorado, adult topics (and adult language) were commonplace in the house. When I started to go through puberty, my folks were for some reason compelled to request status updates on my changing body. ‘So, you got any pit hairs yet, son?’ they’d ask. ‘Have any wet dreams recently?’ I appreciate their forwardness in retrospect but, at the time, all I wanted was to go through adolescence quietly and privately.”—Zachary Whittenburg, TOCK editorial assistant

“Before my parents had a chance to fill me in, I had a conversation with some friends. I was pretty sure I knew what had to happen: Mom and Dad ‘got together,’ slept like that ALL NIGHT, and presto! A baby is made! Needless to say, my friends straightened me out...after they stopped laughing.”—Amy Carr,TOCK editor-in-chief

“I learned everything from my older sister having to explain to me what was happening in Prince’s ‘Darling Nikki.’ ”—Brent DiCrescenzo, TOC Music editor

“My father came into my room and said, ‘Jonathan, I had this talk with your brother. Any questions?’ I said ‘no,’ and he turned around and walked out.”—Jonathan Messinger, TOC Books editor

“My dad was pretty cool about the ‘your body’s changing’ talk—no dire warnings about blindness or anything like that. But one thing he said did conjure a dreadful thought: ‘Just don’t let your mother catch you.’ ”—Web Behrens, TOCK associate editor

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