The Octogenarian Asks the Feminist Sex Educator

[Welcome to Day 2 of National Poetry Month!

As you can see, I’m still toying with the idea of writing a poem a day — anyone else doing that? Or done it in the past? I’d be interested to hear about your experiences.] 

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The Octogenarian Asks the Feminist Sex Educator

you got me thinking

that thing you said about
what was it

not just no means no
how it’s gotta be yes means yes
and now I’m wondering
I mean

we were both 15, maybe 16
I guess
her parents weren’t home
she seemed into it
yknow

I mean, she seemed like she was into it

I know
she’d been into it with guys before
lots of guys

from what I’d heard

and she had really large breasts
really large
like this, yknow
so

I mean
you don’t think I

do you?


[Featured image via]

10 thoughts on “The Octogenarian Asks the Feminist Sex Educator

    1. Yes. And the saddest thing for me, during the actual conversation this piece is based on, was not just how this man struggled to recognize potentially harmful patterns in his own thinking — but how he seemed to be looking to me for absolution. Or to promise him everything had been fine, all those years ago.

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  1. This one instantly makes me think of my dad, who would be in his 90’s if he was still alive. I didn’t realize really until later in my own life just how racist and sexist he was. I wouldn’t call it overt, but it was there and I can’t even begin to imagine what he might be contemplating, bitching about, and downplaying if he was still around today.
    I think you were ultra polite in this one, using the word breasts. I hear clearly ‘tits’ as the operative word coming from my dad’s lips so your old fart is pretty mild 😉

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    1. Huh. Part of me wants to tell you “I wrote ‘breasts’ because when this conversation took place, that’s the word this real person used.” But that’s hardly the point, and doesn’t get at what makes your comment so interesting to me. If I find myself wanting (or needing) to follow up a piece with explanations — who this was, when this conversation happened, why this particular sexism hit me so hard — really that just tells me that the writing needs more work.

      Gotta be reminded every now and then: I never write my best work when I have one eye trained on what I think I cannot say, or what I feel I must conceal. I gotta swing for the fences — or find something else to say.

      In the immortal words of the great writing teacher and Jedi Master:

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      1. Well…I think that it’s entirely possible that my inability to read the intended message may be more on my head than yours, but I will always be honest with you in my initial reactions to your work.

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        1. Oh, yes please!! 🙂 And I think you made an *excellent* point — the character I created would be quite likely to use the word “tits”! Even if the real person whom this is based on would not.

          Agreeing with you, though, made me realize: in my head I was trying to have something both ways — to present a highly fictionalized scene, while also holding onto a personal meaning based on details I chose to leave out. (Gotta pick one or the other, Alice!)

          As always, your reactions — initial or otherwise — challenge me to think in new ways about what I’m doing…and for that I thank you!!

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