Yes now, lets talk about sex.
Something I read on Eya Ayambem's blog this morning got me thinking about how as parents, we our children in relation to 'the birds and the bees'.
When I was growing up,
I don't recall my mum or any other adult for that matter sitting me down for 'the big talk'. I don't think any of my friends got to hear that too. All we were told, when we informed our mums that we had started our period was, "o ti di obirin ni yen"(yoruba for 'you have now become a woman') - What were we before?
I remember now something that happened when I was in secondary school, there was this girl who was a tomboy, she used to ruff and tumble with the boys and was quite chummy with them unlike any other girls in our class as at that time. On one Monday, she was very reserved in class and wouldn't even get out of her seat, naturally everyone was concerned about her and we all wanted to know if she was alright, by break time one of her friends - a boy, couldn't stand her odd behaviour anymore and her pushed her shoulder in a bid to get her to laugh or something, that was when hell broke loose. This girl screamed, jumped out her seat and began to cry that the boy had impregnated her.
Ha!!! come and see confusion, it was the hottest gist of our school year but it was also incredulous we didn't know what to make of it. The noise soon drew the attention of teachers who whisked the hysterical girl to the female teachers staff room while the boy was cornered by the boys for further enquiry. We girls found various reasons to hang around the corridor leading to the female teachers staff room in a bid to catch snippets of of the gist but after along while of waiting we were only rewarded with an outbust of raucous laughter and then silence.
Then the bell for 'break over' was rung and we all had to go back to class but the girl didn't return to class - we heard that she had been taken to the sick bay to rest.
The following day and the next two days after that, she didn't come to school and when she did she was back to her normal rambunctious self we didn't even care to ask her for the details of what had happened.
It wasn't until a couple of years later at JAMB lesson that we became close pals and during one of our conversations, the facts of what happened that day came tumbling out her mouth.
As it turns out, my friend had been living with her grandmother in what was a male dominated household - uncles,brothers, cousins etc.
One fine Saturday, as she was playing kickball in the street with the boys, she felt the need to pee so of to the toilet she went, while there she discovered blood stains in her panties and she freaked out screaming. Her screams drew the attention of the people around and one uncle after the other would come in to the loo, look at the panties and then at her saying "o ti di obirin ni yen' and then leave. It was an orange seller from God-knows-where,that eventually came to help her clean up, gave her paracetamol and sent her off to bed, not before saying, 'o ti di obirin ni yen'.
Grandma on returning back home later that day, heard the fully gist and invited my friend to her room, sat her on the bed and uttered the now fatigued phrase 'o ti di obirin ni yen o', she also didn't forget to issue a stern warning to my friend not to allow any boy touch her else she would become pregnant and should that happen, she was going to be excommunicated from the family and sent out to live on the streets.
My poor young friend took her warning literally, and immediately did all she could to avoid having any form of physical contact with any male, so when that boy in school shoved her shoulder, she thought he had imparted pregnancy on her through touch.
Hmmn, how is that for birth-control? I am sure that grandma's scare tactics must have scared any spirit of adventure out of my friend enough to at least ensure she completed her studies before getting giving guys any serious thought.
But can that or is that an apropriate way to educate girls these days about sex or sexuality???
I am still thinking, would be back with my thoughts shortly......