Friday, January 7, 2011
It's bad enough that it shows a half dressed young couple either about to get into bed or are just finishing up a tryst and getting ready to leave. But the tag line on the billboards reads, in six foot tall letters, "Can sex friends stay best friends?" Attempt at humor and intrigue I presume. But how do I explain to my young daughter when she sees these billboards from her car seat and asks, "Daddy, what are sex friends?" Hmmm. There is nothing I can say at the spur of the moment that can answer that question without getting into the details of the birds and the bees, which I am not prepared to give at that moment, or the next ten years. So I ignore the question and turn up the volume on the DVD player. Then the ubiquitous poster reappears a few blocks down the road and she asks, "Can my best friend Rachel also be a sex friend?" "No honey. Don't look outside anymore. Just watch your movie." is all I could come up with. I fast forward the DVD to her favorite part where Cinderella is about to put on her glass slipper.
However she has zeroed in on my discomfiture and can't let go. She repeats herself, "Daddy, what are sex friends?" Sigh. Now I have two options. One is to be straightforward and give her the unvarnished truth about sex. The other possibility is to dumb it down and use euphemisms like "when two people fall in love..." Being a physician, I recite the driest and most clinical explanation of sex that's appropriate for a primary schooler. "Honey, sex is when a man and a woman get together when they want to make babies. They are usually best friends when they make babies." I suck in my breath and hold it for what feels like an eternity, waiting for another equally uncomfortable follow up question. But she says nothing. She seems satisfied with that unemotional, dispassionate answer. She goes back to her TV and squeals with delight when Cinderella marries Prince Charming and rides off in the horse drawn carriage. Whew. Now I only have ten more years to think of a proper explanation for sex friends.