Friday, 11 April 2008

'Mr Sex': You Don't Win Anything With Kids

One of the things that I pride myself on is my ability to be able to talk to anyone about sex and relationships. I’ve had detailed, informative discussions about premature ejaculation with strangers in the pub. I’ve pointed out the wheres and whyfores of anal masturbation in a queue at the chip shop without getting beaten up. I even gave a woman at a bus stop at 3am advice on how to get her kid out of care (she rang me up out of the blue two months later to tell me she had. Proudest moment of my life). Do I know everything there is to know about sex and relationships? Of course not. But if don’t know summat about summat, then I know someone who does. Nothing can faze me.

Except one thing.

Although I’ve not got any of my own, I love the kids that belong to my mates to distraction. Given the choice between going into town on Saturday night or messing about on a Wii with my seven year-old nephew, the latter wins hands down every time. Let’s not piss about, here - kids are ace. Alright, so maybe their parents might turn into hypocritical personality vacuums, but that’s another topic for another day.

Anyway, I’m at my mate’s house, and I’m in his six year-old daughter’s bedroom, helping her get dressed while he takes a conference call in his home office. This one, out of all the kids I know, has the ability to wrap me fifteen times around her little finger, for the fact that when I was at my lowest ebb in my entire life, she would always cheer me up. While I’m handing her some new clothes and letting her get on with it, she points out that she wants to show me something, and I have to look away. So I bury my head in a Mr Men book (which is a very hard thing to do, as they’re tiny).

When I look up, she is bollock naked, in the crab position, and singing “PUSH-ING MY NUNNY OUT! PUSH-ING MY NUNNY OUT!”

So what, as a responsible adult, do I do? Do I a) tell her to stop doing that right now, as it’s rude (no, because I don’t want to make her feel guilty about things like that, because it’s not my place to do so), b) laugh and tell her not to be so silly (no, because I don’t want to belittle her), or c) ignore it completely and tell her to get her kit on?

Sadly, I do neither. I choose d) – cram as much of myself into the corner of the room with a face like Hyacinth Bucket whilst watching a fisting video and bellow “STEEEEVE! MAKE HER STOP! NOWWWWWWW!” Afterwards, when I’m in the back garden having a fag, I think to myself; what the fuck was that all about?

Well, stupid question, really – for the past decade or so, we’ve all got into a right Paulsgrovey state about kids and sexuality. Never mind that there are products like this and this knocking about and this problem isn't going away anytime soon; we seem to spend most of our lives these days looking at the paper, watching the news, and inwardly screaming; “Won’t somebody think about the children?” I probably notice it more than most, due to my career path; Every time I rang me Mam up when I was working in Grot mags, she would say “Please promise me you’re not doing any magazines to do with kids”. (and when my sister was having a baby, I told her “I hope it’s a girl – little girls are ace” and she called me a dirty bastard. Can you believe that shit?)

So, after me fag, I calm down and go inside.

“Can you take her to the toilet, mate?”

Oh God no.

So, I’m standing there, in the bathroom, taking more interest in the ceiling tiles than I would if I was sharing a urinal with the Village People.

“Can you wipe my nunny?”

“Come on, now, you’re old enough to do it yourself”

“I want you to do it”

“Don’t be silly, I can’t do that”

“But I won’t tell anyone. It’ll be our secret

On that word – secret – I immediately go into one. I point out to her, as firmly as possible without yelping hysterically – that there should be no secrets whatsoever between me and her, or her and anyone else, and if she did have any with someone else who wasn’t her Mam and Dad she had to tell me right now, and, and, I’ll nail the bastard to a fucking tree, so help me God.

And tears as big as her fist spring out of her eyes.

Just before she’s about to scream the house down, I cave in. “OK, OK. I’ll do it. Stop roaring. I’m sorry.” And I grab the bog roll and wind it around my hand until it’s roughly the same size as a beach ball. And I dab away from a distance for four feet. It takes me seven goes to flush it all away.

Then, we go back into her bedroom and plays with her dolls house for a bit. Then she says; “This is boring. I’m going to make you my prisoner. Put my pyjama bottoms over your face and burp through them”

“Er, no.”

“DO IT, PRISONER!”

I start to explain the absolute wrongness of this, and how it may be misconstrued, and what her Dad would say. While I’m doing it, it slowly dawns upon me; if I carry on, I’m going to raise ten new questions in her mind for every one I answer. And it’s not my place to. At all. Shit.

“Are they clean?”

“Yes”

“Alright then”

As I curl myself once more around her little finger, lying on the floor while she laughs and yells the lyrics to The Wheels On The Bus into my ear, I ruminate about kids and sexuality. I think about all the mad shit I used to sing when I was her age; about Wrigleys Spearmint Gum, and how you could stick it up your bum (and how, if it didn’t fit, you could always have a shit). I think about the stray dog on our estate whose bollocks hung so low that they skittered across the pavement, and how all the kids used to involuntarily cover their groins, even though they didn’t know why and the dog seemed to be happy enough, and the day when you could hear people on the other street pissing themselves laughing and you didn’t know why, until the dog came up your street and you realised that someone had put a pair of Y-fronts on him. I think about the school trip to the farm when one cow panicked and climbed on the back of another, and Michael Hall shouted “LOOK, SIR! Those cows are BUMMING!”

And it dawns on me that, when you’re that age, everything to do with willies and bums is at least interesting and normal, and at most funny as fuck, even though you don’t know why. And it’s one thing to protect kids when it comes to things like that, but another entirely to try to scare the shit out of them about it.

And for the first time in years, I laugh so hard that tears run down my face.


15 comments:

Anna said...

Brilliant! Thank you, Mr. Sex, for pointing out the neon elephant in the room.

Nobody really knows how to handle it any more when they're in that kind of situation, which just goes to show that the adult world has lost its innocence as well. Sounds like you handled it very well, in my opinion.

Rosie said...

Yes, what a position to be in. But you handled it as well, and as thoughtfully, as you could. Hard not to trip over the innocence of a trusting child. One of the kids I take care of asked me about human eggs and having babies the other day. I gave some factual info and suggested he should also talk to Mama or Papa for more details. I did use to wipe his nunny (another new word for this Yank) since he started coming when he was 4 months old. Not so much recently since he is 8 years.

Anonymous said...

hmm i don't think his and nunny go together. but quite agree with rest. i always find that kids think anything to do with bums and willies and nunnies funny/curious/interesting only because adults are reluctant to talk about them.

Angela-la-la said...

Well done you for handling something so fraught with difficulty in a way that put the child first. So many people would have panicked and made the whole situation confusing for the child.

You have my applause, young sir!

rosiewishes said...

I really wasn't expecting to come here and read that... I was expecting you to maybe have had to explain the birds and the bees. But no! It was refreshing to read and I liked it.

You also have my applause.

One Fine Weasel said...

This is a brilliant post. Well done for talking about the untalkaboutable.

Luka said...

You're right, it's not your place to answer her difficult questions and explain what is and isn't appropriate behaviour when in the company of family friends. That is the responsibility of her parents, of course, and I am surprised that her father would ask you to supervise her getting dressed and take her to the toilet. I would never dream of asking one of my male chums to take my 6 year old daughter to the toilet (most 6 year olds I know are more than capable of taking themselves). It's putting all parties in a situation which is just ripe with potential problems (which, as born out by your post, was the case). Maybe it's just me, but that seems...odd.

badgerdaddy said...

Great work. Great post.

I now have a 12-year-old stepdaughter. Within minutes of me going to their house for tea when me and her mum had started seeing each other, she had sat on my head and farted.

She likes nothing better than rolling on her back and queefing with her legs in the air while she chuckles away.

She's at that stage where she is still wonderfully unself-conscious, completely and brilliantly. Of course, the next year or so will see her veer in the opposite direction, more than likely, as she discovers boys, make-up and spending two hours in the bathroom. Ho hum.

But yes, kids are mostly great. She can cheer me right up with a hug.

Roo said...

That's a lovely post Al, I'm enjoying your writings here. xxx

lalita said...

That reminded me of a story of a friend of mine. He was visiting the family of his newly acquired girlfriend. At some point he was left alone in the room with his girlfriend's niece who started showing him her ass. He was petrified and didn't know what to do. Afraid that someone enters the room and draws wrong conclusion. In the whole situation of "meeting and making a good impression on the family" it was particularly stressful.

Lola Cherry Cola said...

Sounds like you dealt with a difficult situation there. I probably would have freaked out but I used to coach gymnastics and teach young girls and boys from the age of about 7 upwards. We always got the child protection issue drilled into us, and I understand it's important to protect the children, but these days it's about protecting yourself as well.

The parts I didn't understand came when you were allowed to hug the children, not even if they hugged you. If a kid needs a hug to be cheered up then they need a hug.

Also, just have to say that the "Peekaboo pole dancing kit" mentioned in the article you linked to is aimed at adults. It's a bit daft that anyone would actually think of buying this for children

Nottingham's 'Mr Sex' said...

Couple o' things; the reason I was in the bathroom with her is because she gets a bit clingy when I'm about, as I don't see her that often. And yeah, the poledancing kit was aimed at adults, but Tesco had put it in the toy section.

David said...

You can be friendly, tactile and warm towards someone else's kids without being a paedophile. Some people are just nice.

Any major dude with half a heart said...

Fantastic post, Mr Sex. And so brilliantly written.

Anonymous said...

this just made me CRY with laughter! i work with kids and they can always be relied upon to say and do the most inappropriate, honest and hilarious things!! the fact that she obviously wasn't bothered just goes to show that she's still as innocent as i wish all kids could be at that age!