Unmentionable

True 2
True confessions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anything regarding sex was dark and unmentionable in mixed company. Children were not to embarrass adults by noticing any veiled reference made in their presence, never asking why any adult was in the hospital, and vacating the room if the words complications, hormones, or nature came up in conversation. Above all, women should never refer to their “period.” Should a woman have to mention a pregnancy, she should discreetly refer to it as “expecting.” It was best if obviously pregnant women stayed home to avoid embarrassing the unsuspecting public.

My repertoire of misinformation was epic by this time. In a moment of proper parenting, my parents said I could ask them anything. Fat chance!! I counted on my friends when I needed a good source of information. One day at school, I heard a girl could get pregnant from sleeping with another girl. I had just spent last Saturday night with my cousin Sue. Was I pregnant? How could my mother have let me spend the night knowing what might happen? This time I was concerned enough to ask Mother. “No, a girl can’t get pregnant from spending the night with another girl. Where had I heard such a thing?” She answered my question, but I could tell she didn’t look forward to any more questions. She didn’t get any.

Everything promised to change when I discovered, “True Confessions Magazine,” a literary gem whose lurid cover hinted a treasure trove of forbidden knowledge. Of course, “True Confessions” was “filth.” Mother would have sooner jumped off the top of the house than allow it to foul her home. Happily, some of my aunts were more generous and left copies lying around giving me the opportunity to read fragments of a few precious paragraphs from time to time before Mother realized what I was up to. I never got to read an entire story, so didn’t know I would have gotten no more than a “good girl gone bad” story or a “bad girl got what she deserved story.” They only alluded to whatever sin was committed. I would have gotten more information from my Sunday School lesson. I was thrilled to hear Mother accept old copies from my aunts only to have my hopes dashed as she righteously rushed home and burned them to get them out of circulation.

Margaret finally let me in the real truth about sex. I was appalled. “Nobody would do that!” Especially not my prissy mother and my stern father. She showed me a book she found under her mother’s mattress to prove it! I was disgusted to think I had started that way. My parents had five kids!!! That proved they had DONE IT at least FIVE TIMES!!!! Maybe even six if they’d had a failure. I decided then and there not to ever get married. I couldn’t imagine how a pregnant woman could show her face in public, much less in church. It ruined “True Confessions” for me. Worse yet was the delivery of the baby. That was the worst of all. Obviously, God was a man to design a plan like that!

Daddy’s family was hormone-ridden and prone to serial marriage. His four sisters and two brothers achieved an incredible twenty-five marriages between them. Two sisters were constantly vying for the championship. One managed nine marriages, but only got credit for seven husbands since she married two of the men twice. The runner-up had a grand total of seven with no reruns. They even married the Blair twins, complicating matters even more. One of Daddy’s brothers was married three times and had three families. His other brother was hampered by a wife who refused to divorce him, so he had to settle for philandering. Daddy completely ignored their habit of marrying. In the interest of survival, so did we. My younger sisters were careful not to get caught when they composed a jump rope jingle, listing all the husband’s names: Essie Mae Lee, Jones, Peterson, White, Key, Blair, McCoy, Blair, Cole and Sneed. They weren’t that coordinated, and usually stumbled somewhere around the second Blair.

While Daddy was able to ignore his family’s interesting behavior, he missed no opportunity to point out our behavioral flaws. “Fix your clothes!” When I was three, this meant put my panties were showing, a terrible lapse in manners. As I got older, it implied either indecency or the horrifying suggestion that I might have soiled the back of my dress, the worst social gaffe imaginable. Had I been fleeing an axe-murderer and he uttered, “Fix your clothes!” checking myself out in the nearest bathroom would have taken priority over escape.

My parents had very strict standards of appropriate courtship behavior. Some were objective: No dating till sixteen. No expensive or personal gifts. No gifts of clothing. Tasteful gifts included inexpensive perfume, flowers, and books. Some were just common sense: These are the ones that gave me trouble, meaning I was in big trouble for even asking: Don’t even ask to go on a picnic for two or swimming. (Raging hormones) Don’t ever accept a ride from a boy without parent’s permission, even if you’ve been in class together since first grade. (Raging hormones) No phone calls after 8:30 pm. (Disrespectful to parents) Don’t ever go anywhere other than place in original permission.(Being picked up by tornado on way home from church might be excused.)

My mother practiced an excellent form of birth control, for us, not herself. She only bought cheap cotton panties because “nobody is supposed to see your underwear anyway.” I don’t know how I would have behaved otherwise, but I wasn’t about to get frisky in those horrible britches. Sometimes Mother was lucky enough to find some so cheap they didn’t have elastic in the legs, just the waist. The fit wasn’t too bad in the morning, but by midmorning, these adventurous undies always managed to crawl up my rear. I had no idea I was ahead of my time in my “thongs” and despised them. By then end of the day, they had achieved amazing altitude and my legs felt two inches longer than when I left that morning.

Connie and Marilyn had it worse than we did, because after Grandma had a stroke, she was no longer able to do the beautiful dressmaking she was known for. She made it her mission in life to make sure they never ran out of homemade cotton panties. She used whatever fabric was at hand, cotton prints or plaids, not soft knits. Her creations had wide front and back as well as side seams and very narrow crotches, but alas, no elastic in the legs. These were not roomy bloomers made of soft cotton flour sacks she made my mother in her youth. These were torture devices. Grandma didn’t see us for months at a time, so she underestimated their waist sizes, making the patched up drawers even worse. The tight elastic waist and scratchy seams ensured even more misery. I was not jealous!

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35 thoughts on “Unmentionable

  1. Lord girl, you did it this time. I so identified with you although I don’t recall homemade britches, but some very similar. I remember believing that my desire for provocative nighties was sinful. I’d been convinced that anything other than cotton gave a woman “infections”. By the time I was in my thirties, It took my second husbands mother to inform me that to keep your husband happy, a woman needed to don these and other sexy apparel on. I did but was never comfortable in them. I finally figured out they were not to wear, just to tease and then when all was said and done, the flannels came out again.
    My mother never discussed anything with me other than it was all bad. She did at one point tell me though that once you do it, you will want it more. But nothing about morals, just don’t do it. By then, I was in my 20’s and an unwed mother.
    Some of my school friends had books that were unbelievable and quite graphic, and I had one aunt who had the True Confessions mags. Thanks to her “education” the titillating instructions resulted in my being “tempted”. She made it sound fine and normal. My mother never forgave her for that. Neither did my aunt forgive her for being ostracized. At mother’s funeral, she came and went into a cursing tirade about the bitch, much to the shock of everyone there. She could have at least waited until we were all drunk or at least tipsy while bar hopping the streets of Nashville. It might have all flown right by us then, but no, it’s now a vivid memory of an inappropriate eulogy and still talked about.

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    • Oh Mother thought my aunts were all trashy. She was right. I thought they were exciting and Mother dull. I was dying to be a sexy, wild girl. Then we went to church and I found out about going to Hell. That didn’t sound good. Then Mother said Catholics could do anything and the priest could forgive them. That sounded great to me.

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  2. I once discovered by coincidence that a journalist college of mine had a little side job writing filthy stories… He was actually a really good sports journalists (a bit of a yuck guy, but a good journalist). He had issues with his computer and I helped him out, getting it up and running again and then the story he was working on popped up and he was as red as you can get when he realized that I had indeed read the first couple of lines… The funny thing was, that it was written from a woman’s point of view… We never talked about it…

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  3. My cousin, Linda, who is merely 6 years younger than my dad… Has a son, who is on his second marriage. When I met David’s new wife a few years ago, I asked Linda what they young lady did for a living. Linda replied, “She writes smut.” Huh? Well, further commentary revealed that she wrote romance novels. Quite successful at it, I might add. If you ever come across the name of Tawny Taylor, that’s the smut writer in our family… (lol)

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    • Hey, I found Tawny Taylor. I need to start writing that stuff. It looks like fun. If you don’t hear from me for while, I am doing research. What I would really like to write about, but don’t dare is a family member near and dear to me who is a serial marryer. He has had so many women we have come up with a classification system for his harem. Women he marries get a letter. The women who last long enough to get to a major family holiday gathering only get a letter. We don’t enumerate the ones between. For instance, his first wife is known as #1, the girlfriend after her was #1 a. So far, her has made it to #4 g. but we are a little confused because after he divorced #4 , he scored a couple of letters, then he and #4 got back together without the questionable dignity of marriage, so she is now #4 as well as #4 g. She should get a little extra credit for that, shouldn’t she? His children have pictures with a range of women in them for all major occasions, graduations, marriages, new babies.

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  4. The girls in elementary school would find out the stories of the birds and bees from their parents through “that” talk and share with us other girls at recess. LOL! Horrifying! Thank goodness I didn’t have to wear homemade panties (but only because my mother didn’t know how to make them). LOL

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    • I was so dissappointed when I finally had the freedom to peruse a stack properly. Most could has served as Sunday School lessons. The bad girls always got in big trouble and repented of their ways, the lesson I heard a thousand times at home. Bad boys never faced consequences.

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