Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Parental Guidance

Since we were on the topic of sex, I turned to Leigh and casually mentioned, “I wonder if your sister has had sex already—I mean, I doubt if she’s still a virgin.”

It’s to the credit of either the chef at F Word that their beef tapa salad was irresistibly delicious, or Leigh’s unflappable sensibilities—and a sturdy stomach—that she didn’t choke on her food after I said that.

She turned to me and replied, “Er, I have no idea.” Then she laughed and shoveled more beef tips, onions, tomato and mango into her mouth.

“But haven’t you asked her?” I asked. Leigh’s older sister is an ob-gyne, so I assumed that a person who’s so intimate with sex organs and the consequences of sex would be very nonchalant and matter-of-factly bored with the subject.

Leigh shot me a look of exasperation. “No I don’t!” she said. “If she brings it up, maybe I’ll talk to her about it. But you know….”

“Why don’t you?” I probed further. “Wouldn’t you want to know? Aren’t you a bit curious?”

Leigh adapted a tone that I suspect she uses only for children and slow-witted clients. “Well you see, one usually does not think of one’s family in a sexual way. It’s just weird.”

“Well I have,” I said. “Especially the married ones with kids. I’m pretty sure they’ve done the deed. And even with my parents, ha! I mean, we’re seven kids, for cryin’ out loud!”

I think that’s when Leigh stopped eating.

* * * * *

The first time I realized that my parents were sexual creatures was when I was still a student. I really don’t remember exactly when—that’s how much I wanted to block the incident out of my memory. But I couldn’t completely delete it, so while I don’t remember what age I was, I do know that: [1] I was old enough to know about the birds and the bees; [2] our youngest sister was still young enough to be allowed to sleep in my parents’ bed at night (which she often does when she’s afraid of the dark).

Anyway, it was one weekend morning. My two sisters, both younger than me, and I were in our backyard. Out of the blue the younger of the two said, “I think Mommy and Daddy were fighting last night.”

When we asked why, she said, “Because Daddy was pinning Mommy down under him.”

I remember how it took a few milliseconds for the thought to register in my brain. I remember a vivid visual pop into my head, and my mind immediately swiping that visual away, as if an internal anti-virus alert had switched on. I also remember how quiet the older of the sisters was, as though she too knew the implication of what her younger sibling said. And I remember brushing aside my sister’s worries, saying something along the lines of, “Really? Well, maybe not. They looked okay this morning. They didn’t look like they were fighting.” Then I quickly invited them to climb our duhat tree to change the topic.

It took me weeks to embrace the idea that what my sister saw was what I thought she saw. There was no other explanation. And when I confronted the idea head-on, I realized that I could summon at will the initial vision I had when I first heard the news. What’s more, as the years progressed I could actually prolong playing the visual in my head.

I’ve seen my dad in shorts sans shirt, so it was easy for me to extrapolate a visual. Out of respect, humility and a fear of not wanting to be turned on by my own father, I never bothered to fully imagine my dad’s endowment. I mean, I had mentally assigned to him something of an average length, width, and shape, but I never really needed to concretely “see” his willy; my visuals had no private parts exposed.

With my mom it was a little more difficult. I’ve never seen her without clothes; she never dresses up in front of us boys. At best I’ve seen her as she’s quickly slipping on a pambahay t-shirt; her back was always turned to everyone else, so I could only see her back, with a bra and shorts on. Besides, the female anatomy never fascinated me, ever.

So my parental coital visual was always a more vivid Dad and a blurry Mom. Besides, she’s pinned down under him, so that gave me a convenient excuse not to imagine further.

Thanks to my early practice with my parents, I learned how to do that to my other siblings, especially once they got married. There was nothing sexual about my imagining them; it was more of an “I wonder how they…?” curiosity. And my visuals were always of the PG-kind, all tastefully shot and blocked.

(I suspect my younger sister was traumatized by the experience. Still, that never stopped her from having pre-marital sex with her [then] boyfriend and getting pregnant. [She had a miscarriage; that blew her secret wide open. My parents insisted they get married as soon as she was well enough.] Perhaps that’s why she ended up the most problematic of us kids. That may be silly pop psychology, but I’ll take that explanation for now.)


Vince said...

This reminds me of the time in my childhood when I woke up in the middle of the night and my parents had just done the deed. I was sick at that time and so I slept on my parent's bed. I was already old enough (around 11) to know about the real birds and the bees.

blagadag said...

i wonder what the cursillistas and the cwl will say about this. ihayag ba sa madla ang pagtatalik ng mga magulang at pagiging kangkangera ng kapatid. sabagay, masarap. at least, they got laid.

joelmcvie said...

@BLAGADAG: All parents got laid; kaya nga sila parents eh. Even the cursillistas and the CWL.

If we define "kangkangera" to mean promiscuous, then my sister's not a kangkangera. She only does it with her BF-turned-husband. She's too uptight to do it with other men.

But if we define "kangkangera" to mean sexually insatiable, hmmm.... She could be. But these days she ain't getting any, cuz she's abroad while her husband's back here.

palma tayona said...

Hmmm... I used to snuggle in between my parents when I was little. My father, a big man, slept in his underwear. There had been many a morning that I'd wake up before them, see his woody poking way beyond the garters of his underwear and I'd always thought that when I grow up I wanna have something as huge as that hanging between my legs.

Well, I guess the fruit didn't fall far away from the tree and I knew I am my father's son. :-)

Tristan Tan said...

I was already an expert with the birds and the bees when I saw what I saw one chilly December morning. Arggh. The memory haunts me til now. I need a hug. Bwahahaha.

Ming Meows said...

It's so obvious that you've lost your innocence long before you've lost your virginity.:D

As I read the later part, I see a Freud in you. Pwede ka rin pala maging sexual psychologist.

joelmcvie said...

@PALMA: I can only imagine. =)

@TRISTAN: *hug!*

@MING: For me, a "sexual psychologist" is a doctor who has lots of sex. Bwhahaha!

mraunch said...

hmmm... ive actually used the parents-having-sex as an argument in college when asked why i had the belief that the catholic church taught that sex is dirty.

if somebody asked me that, i'd tell them to picture their parents having sex--after all that should be the most beautiful sex that the church wanted us to see. sex between loving individuals clothed with the virtue of marriage. and yet people cant picure them parents in a sexual way because we've been taught that sex is dirty.

Anonymous said...

If I had to devote 5 minutes of my time satisfying my "I wonder how they" curiosities to each IMMEDIATE family member, it would take me an hour and a half. Seriously.

So Id rather not.