Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's wonderful being a girl!

Don't ask me why, but the other night as I lay tossing & turning (and NOT sleeping), I remembered the little sex-education pamphlet that provided me with my initial enlightenment about puberty. It was called, (if I remember correctly), "It's Wonderful Being a Girl," and was published by Playtex or Kotex or something.

Like most girls of my generation, I was absolutely fascinated with the glorious changes that puberty held in store. As far as I was concerned, that principally meant breasts. I wanted them. I wanted big, cantilevered breasts that would enter a room whole seconds before the rest of me did. I wanted boobs that would be so distracting they might cause car accidents and would definitely have boys fighting for my favours.

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Menstruation was also something I looked forward to. I just knew I would be one of those girls who rides horses, swims and does cartwheels during her period. (As if I did any of those things prior to puberty. Well, I did used to do cartwheels. And I rode a horse once.) Hah! The joke's on me.

While waiting for those two great manifestations of womanhood, I read my little pamphlet many, many times. I kept looking at the classic cross-section diagram of a woman's inner workings, expecting to find something ... more. What weren't they telling me?

Of course, the biggest thing they weren't telling us was about boys and their parts. When educators finally saw fit to teach us about male anatomy, they used the classic diagram with a flaccid penis. The erect penis was never so much as alluded to. My girlfriends and I knew, in theory, about erections, but none of us had actually seen one (or would admit to having done so), so we had conversations about what way it pointed when the guy was sitting, standing or lying down. Whether it could break. I guess we couldn't figure out the whole hinged nature of the workings. It is pretty mind-boggling when you think about it.

And I couldn't fathom that any boy would want his privates touched any more than I wanted mine touched. I actually told a girlfriend that if any boy had the effrontery to touch my breast (clearly a look-but-do-not-touch zone), I would - get this - touch his penis! That would show him! I couldn't think of anything more off-putting or dreadful. Any boy in his right mind would obviously be horrified and would immediately stop touching my fabulous breasts. Duh!

Ah, the innocence.

Eventually - fortunately before my breasts were ever touched - I learned a thing or two.

Now, flash forward to high school. Grade 13 Biology included a section on, ahem, human procreation. The test for the unit included a many-times-reproduced, hand-drawn, blurry diagram of a woman's reproductive organs. Various parts were numbered, and we were required to label them and give a one-sentence explanation of their function.

Ovary. Fallopian tube. Uterus. Endometrium. Cervix. Bladder. And ... what was that one? The number was positioned towards the front of the labia. Would they really ask us to label the clitoris? It had never once been mentioned in class, this little mystery button.

I struggled. In high school, I was the goody-two-shoes leader of the Christian club. Such a good girl was not supposed to know about something as naughty as a clitoris, let alone explain its purpose.

But I was also a bit of an over-achiever. I could not bear to leave a blank and possibly not get a perfect score on my test. So I labelled it. And I stated that it was meant to stimulate lubrication to facilitate intercourse. (I didn't dare go so far as mentioning orgasm. At least lubrication served some practical purpose.)

Eventually, the time came to "take up" our tests.

Urethra. It was the frigging pee hole! GAAAAH! Fortunately, the diagram was bad enough that the teacher gave me full marks for my unorthodox answer.

Interestingly enough, when I googled pictures for this post, every single diagram included the clitoris in its labels. Times certainly have changed.

But the writers of that little pamphlet were correct: it is wonderful being a girl. Especially one who knows her anatomy.


  1. Funny how we *wanted* to start our periods!

    I still want those large breasts though! (Even if they are a little bigger right now than they used to be!)

  2. That was Diane, btw! Oops! My mom was using my computer and I didn't realize it was signed in as her! :P

  3. OK, you actually *wanted* your period?!?! I think my mother was part of "The Curse" school, so for me it was always viewed as an annoyance... although, fortunately, it never occurrect to me that I couldn't do cartwheels, ride a horse, swim, whatever during those days. (we'll ignore that, like you, I've been on a horse once. And my cartwheel days had stopped by junior high!).

    LOVED that threat of touching his penis if he so dared touch your breast!!! That was funny. Ah, the difference a few years and a hormone surge make

  4. Aliza - even funnier is that I assumed said penis would be flaccid if/when I touched it. I think that I thought the penis only stood at attention when baby-making was required. Like you said, a few years and a hormone surge ...

  5. This is the funniest blog I have ever read !

  6. Dear Anonymous - why, thank you!


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