October 11, 2012

Orvieto, Italy. October, 1980

Right around the corner from the cathedral in this fabled Tuscan town is the Sexy Cine. I can’t remember what film was on, but I do recall that in the other cinema in town, the family one, was Disney’s Gli Aristogatti. As my friend Antonio reminded me, “In Italy, we have the pope and Cicciolina.” Indeed. It got me thinking about how American youths learn about sex. A group of friends and I once shared stories about how our parents told us about the birds and the bees. Mine was the most painful: At bedtime, my father read to me from some Catholic tract called Dear Son, as I squirmed and hoped it would soon be over. (My younger brother, under the covers in his twin bed across the room, was laughing and making flatulent noises. I suspect my father was the most uncomfortable one in the room because he only tried this indoctrination once.) One friend, I wish I could remember which one, said that his entire sex education consisted of his father’s saying to him, “Don’t use anything.” He had no idea what that meant and still doesn’t.

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