My father and I never talked. We lived in the same house for 18 years. But we never talked. Oh, yes, there was the occasional "Please pass the peas" at the dinner table, but never a real dad-to-son talk. Never the Andy Taylor-to-Opie kind of talk. I think my dad was a bit embarrassed by his overly sensitive, scared-of-the-dark, bedwetting son and, well, frankly, I was always kind of scared of him. So, when I was growing up, we never talked. Except once. And it was The Talk. The Big One.
I must have been in sixth grade. I hadn't yet hit puberty, though I had suddenly become aware of girls in an intrigued but unknowing kind of way. I even "went steady" with one that year. We never kissed. I don't think we even held hands. Her name was Carol. She must have thought I was a real dud.
I'm not sure how The Talk came about, though I'm almost sure my mom put Dad up to it. I vaguely remember it might have presented itself after I had told the neighborhood asshole kid to go fuck himself, not quite being sure what that exactly meant. Yes, I think that's it. I told Ricky Solomon to go fuck himself. He told his parents and his parents told mine. So, it was time for The Talk. There was no avoiding it.
I grew up with three sisters and no brothers. No older brother to pass down vital information, however faulty it might be. So I was pretty clueless for my age. I mean, I knew there was something. I was just very confused about the mechanics. Shit, I'd just recently stopped believing in Santa Claus!
I was in the kitchen. Alone. Probably snarfing some cookies and milk as my bedtime loomed. I still had a bedtime. Suddenly, there was dad, all 6-foot-3 of him. Scared the shit out of me. Dad, looking highly uncomfortable, motioned to a chair at the kitchen table.
"Sit down. It's time we had a talk."
Now I was really scared shitless. Dad lit a Camel non-filter, one out of the three packs he consumed a day. I'm sure he had a drink in his hand. He looked at me over his glasses.
"What's this about you and Ricky Solomon?"
"Do you understand the meaning of what you said to him?"
"Uh, well, I mean, well, uh …"
"You'll have to go to his house and apologize to him."
"Uh, well, uh, ok …"
"So, what do you know about …?"
"Uh, well, Dad, I gotta go to bed now."
"It's about the love between a man and a woman. Now go to bed."
And that was it. No mechanics. No babies. I still was very unclear as to what a "blowjob" was. I soon learned about masturbation, but that was on my own.
So I went to bed.
Dad's and my talk took place 50 years ago. Since then, I've been married twice, had sex with seven cherished women and, well, I not long ago calculated how many times I've masturbated in my life, but I'll keep that to myself, I suppose.
Dad's been gone 15 years now. We never talked much again, certainly never again about sex. Once was enough for both of us. But, now, at age 62, I can look back on The Talk and think, "My God, he was right!" That's all I ever really needed to know. What Dad told me: "It's about the love between a man and a woman."
OK. Now I'm gonna go to bed.