3 Blurred Lines
(Note: In this piece we talk about body parts. Not the cute names; the real ones. We also talk about the enigma that is parenting. Now.. gahead, gahead.. keep reading!)
I don’t understand the vagina. It’s definitely a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. (Churchill had it right, but he was talking about Russia.) Three layers of skin and so much more. You either get the vagina – or your don’t. It’s not that I want to “understand it” so much as I needed to learn its entire anatomy – it’s functionality. During the ultrasound when we were to learn the sex of our twins, the doctor said – look there is the “turtle” – it’s a boy (it was his penis). Then the other one – it’s a girl – and I said how did you know – the doctor said – see the 3 lines – well ok – so – well that’s a vagina – I was lost – 3 lines? Then it was explained to me the 3 folds of skin – I was so lost and shocked – like this was hidden from me for 40 years. Some secret – like in a Ridley Scott movie on Aliens. What folds? – what the heck is a labia? Yea it was mortifying. At one point I thought – how could I be so gay to not know about this – but the less funny part would be – I am having a daughter – how will I help her understand her body.
I mean when it came to mammary glands – aka “Boobs” – that was a bit easier for me to grasp. My grandmother worked in a dry goods store where she sold bras to voluptuous Eastern European woman. When I was 8, I would watch customers pour their boobs into large braziers sheaths of nylon. I learned all the sizes, but it seemed the number I remembered was always 38 and double D. This concept – I can grasp.
Even though my husband is a physician, I really struggle with how as a parent, how I will be able to identify and bond with my daughter on issues of this part of her body. I could lean on other woman I know or my husband to deal with it. But as a full time dad – I feel it’s my responsibility to be prepared for my daughter’s questions and answers. The only problem is that – this isn’t easy. I cannot “learn from experience” – Hey Bennett – go out and inspect some vaginas and learn about them. Or look at a Playboy – just “for the pictures” – no really “just for the pictures.” My experience with women is – let’s say — “limited.” Once in the back seat of my car in the moonlit Sonoran desert – only to be found out by a troupe of teenagers with flashlights. Or when I losing my virginity in a dorm room – only to be found out by my friends because my “first time” was rolling around in M&M’s leaving impressions of red, green and yellow all over my clothes. In all, I had sex about a dozen times with woman – But it was the very last time – in law school – when I attempted to have sex with a woman the dam burst – I threw up afterward. After I made the proverbial “switch” – for good that is – I realized that men were my flavor not woman.
So what to do? I could research it. Nah. Or I could stare at picture and study it? Nope. I could talk to my mom about it – and be forever engulfed in therapy till I’m 90, that isn’t going to work. Maybe I’ll just wing it – like everything else in parenthood. Yes, 2 gay dads — it’s a different kind of family – but I guess with everything else – new kind of family – new kind of problems. I’m sure there is a good answer – maybe I just need to read between the lines?
What advice do you have? I’m all ears!
Bennett Cunningham is a Bankruptcy Attorney licensed in Texas and is a former investigative reporter for KTVT (CBS station) in Dallas. Bennett has garnered 7 Regional Emmy Awards, including the Best Investigative Reporter in Texas 2 years in a row, as well as several National Awards for his exposés into the mismanagement of taxpayer dollars and government waste. Bennett is also admitted to practice in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas and the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Texas. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney’s and the American Bar Association – and most importantly, a stay-at-home dad.