The thing about growing up as an only child is you don't have any siblings to give you the nitty-gritty details about sex. Sure, my mom kindly presented me with an illustrated edition of "Where Did I Come From?" when I was in elementary school, but even then the book struck me as wholesome and G-rated. To get the real dirt, I had just two options: A) Allie, the delinquent with flaming red hair who lived across the street; or B) HBO's "Sex and the City." My mom recently called to tell me that Allie is now Adam, so it's probably just as well that I went with Option B, considering she clearly had enough on her plate.
Of course, as a nine-year-old, I wasn't allowed to watch "Sex and the City" when it first aired. But whenever my mom left me alone, I'd pop in a Blockbuster VHS and eagerly watch Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or Samantha's latest sexcapade. I inhaled one episode after another, the way Carrie feasted on cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village.
One episode from Season 1 particularly stuck with me: "The Turtle and the Hare." It's the one in which Charlotte, initially averse to the idea of sex toys, gets hooked on the vibrating "Rabbit." I didn't really know what the Rabbit was, just that it was the source of Charlotte's newfound state of perpetual bliss. Something so cute and pink and magical could only be fictional, right?
As I got older, about 13 or 14, my mom and I began to watch the later seasons together. Without flinching, we watched Samantha blow the Fed Ex guy, Miranda get jizzed on at an orgasm seminar and Charlotte use a roll of stamps to test the functionality of her husband's penis. Carrie had become a heroine to me: smart, free and totally imperfect. But when it came to real-life sex, my mom and I never spoke about it, unless you count the "be safe and choose wisely" talks that routinely occur between a mom and her teenage daughter.
I think I saw my mom making out with her boyfriend once and decided then and there to draw the line. As far as I was concerned, she was asexual. She'd ask me after one of my dates if the boy I went out with was a good kisser, and I'd just shrug. Sometimes she missed a reference to an explicit act in a movie and asked me what it was. Again, I'd shrug. I was determined not to acknowledge that my mom was sexual in any way.
Then, one day, all that changed. While searching the floor of my mom's bedroom for my missing Thera band, something under her bed caught my eye: a Ziploc bag, strangely hidden in the shadows. Curious, I reached for it and pulled the plastic bag toward me. When I saw what was inside, my stomach dropped. There it was, in all its pink glory, the holy grail of "Sex and the City" — the Rabbit.
All I could think was, "Why a Ziploc!? You pack my sandwiches in those!" The glass had been shattered. My mom was undeniably a sexual being. Not only that, she was an owner of THE RABBIT.
As years went by and I began to have my own sexcapades, the dialogue between my mom and me gradually opened, and I'd like to think it was partly because of my little (five inch) discovery. I no longer freeze when she asks me about a certain guy, or when she asks those awkward questions while we're watching a movie ("He wants her to sit on his what?").
In fact, a couple of years ago, I slipped into her bedroom and, lowering myself to the floor, peeked once again under her bed. At first, I was relieved to see the Rabbit was either gone or more properly stashed away. But then — I don't know — I felt kind of sad. Anything that makes a woman as happy as the Rabbit made Charlotte, I hoped my mom still had in her possession.
I guess I'll find out once she reads this.