It was seventh grade—a time for boys when masturbation is no longer a secret hobby but more a secret lifestyle. Sexuality was no mystery, still, we looked forward to sex education; mainly, because it meant we didn’t have science class for two weeks and it gave us terms like heavy flow and scrotal wrinklage to giggle at. We were still thirteen and boys after all.
Every class began with lecture and ended with an anonymous question-and-answer session. Everyone was expected to write something on a scrap of paper that would be mixed up in a box for the instructor to randomly draw from and answer. This way kids could ask anything without suffering any embarrassment over what they did or didn’t know. Always reading them all aloud, our instructor would promptly respond to the serious inquiries and swiftly disregard the less-than-serious inquiries of “vaginas are just menstruating buttholes, right?” or “I think I have an erection right now but I’m not sure. Help?”
Only a few minutes remained in class one day when he stopped on a question before reading it. His eyes squinted, his lips meticulously recanting the writing back to himself in silence. It had caught him off guard. He showed some poise, but he seemed completely lost in this apparently-abstract query, like as if he was mentally calculating his tax return or trying to solve a pun-heavy riddle for a scavenger hunt.
For once the room was quiet. Had we finally stumped him; did he really have no advice on hiding erections? Would we get that long-awaited answer on his virginity status and porn habits? Was this the question so disgustingly vile the anonymity of the box would be sacrificed so the question’s author could be identified and sent to the school’s social worker? He looked up from the slip of paper and no one flinched. Everyone knew this was different; every question every other day had been met with a quick answer or a ready “Oh, come on, let’s show some maturity, guys.”
No one knew where this was going, but we hung on every errant sigh escaping his mouth. I felt he had answer, but wasn’t convinced we could handle it. It’s like he knew it had the potential to change our lives forever and he wasn’t sure he wanted that responsibility.
Closure was in sight when at long last he cleared his throat. “This question asks,” he said, suppressing a grin, “if you’re having sex with a girl.” Our eagerness intensified with his pause. “If you’re having sex with a girl and you pee inside of her, what happens?”
The laugh was caught in our collective throats as we anxiously waited for the other shoe to drop. With a tilt of his head and a brief, ah-fuck-it shrug he matter-of-factly said, “Eh, if you pee in a girl while you’re having sex with her,” he smiled, “well, you probably won’t be having sex with her again, so I guess, really, it kind of all works itself out.”
Stunned and unsure if to laugh or inquire further, we could only sit and stare.
“Okay,” he said, reaching back into the box, “next question.”