Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Virgin Problems

I am often asked rather embarrassing questions by kids around me. They always bring back memories about embarrassing questions I used to ask when I was a kid.

For example, once when I must have been about 6, I realized that we refer to the mother of Jesus as the “Blessed Virgin Mary”. I could figure out what “blessed” meant and “Mary” was obviously her name – but what the heck was “virgin”? I used to attend Sunday School as a kid – yes, a very­ “Catholic” upbringing – and that’s where I was when I realized this.

So I picked the nearest adult around – one of my Sunday School teachers – and fired it at her. “Why do we refer to Mother Mary as ‘Virgin’. What does that mean?”

For those of you’ll who have never been to Sunday School, let me try to describe the average Sunday School teacher in one line – “Be-spectacled, old prude who never quite managed to get any in her time.” (Ironic that my question dealt with the meaning of the term “virgin”, when you think about it! Who better to answer!) And being the type that they are, Sunday School teachers embarrass easily. As soon as she heard my question she sucked in a sharp breath and turned as red as a monkey’s bum. I knew I had hit a winner.

Looking back at it now, I just appreciate the difficulty of the situation I had just put her in. How in the world does someone explain “virginity” to a kid without first explaining “sex” to them. (Actually how do you even explain “sex” to someone when you haven’t ever done it in your life? But let’s not get into that.)

“Well son, you see,” she started off gamely after recovering from her initial shock, “Joseph and Mary weren’t married. And yet, and yet Mary gave birth to a son.”

“You mean like Hollywood!” I was eager to show that even though I was just a 6-year-old, I was right up there when it came to following celebrity gossip. “Ma’am, is Hollywood full of virgins?”

“No. No. Not at all. You see, son, this birth was special. Mary and Joseph weren’t staying with each other as yet.”

“I see.” It was plainly clear that I didn’t quite see. But she wasn’t going to take any chances. “Class is up for today. Remember to do your homework for next week kids. Have a nice day!”

Can you blame me for believing then, until I was about 10, that children were born when two people – man and woman (whether married or not) – just happened to be living together?

3 comments:

Eternal Optimista said...

:D :D :D

Firefoxcub said...

i made a nun cry once. i didn't mean to but i did.

Fangs said...

My childhood idea of conception was lying naked under a sheet.

And i blame both Hollywood and bollywood for that!

Hey - wouldja mind if I linked to your blog?