My grandson, Bobby, is approaching his thirteenth birthday. His mother and father decided it’s high time he got the The Birds and the Bees talk. After a lengthy discussion and more flimsy excuses than you can count, they conclude that I should have this very important talk with my grandson. My wife, Bobby’s grandmother, laughs at this suggestion. She jokingly (I’m almost sure she was joking) states, “He never learned a damn thing in all the years we’ve been married. Any twelve-year-old could probably teach him a thing or two.” In spite of grandma’s jest I got the job.
I pictured my grandson and me having our talk in some masculine setting: along a hiking trail, at the summit of some peak, in a duck blind, or maybe on a rocky sea shore. It finally dawned on me that the setting would be easy, but how about the topic itself. My wife was just kidding when she said I didn’t know anything about sex and reproduction. Wasn’t she? I’m sure she was. Well maybe…
I’d better do some research, outline my discussion, design some visual aids, and work out a host of Q & As. I’ll prepare this talk as I would any important lecture. Let’s see, where to begin.
I’ll look into the origin of the The Birds and the Bees expression. It must have made some sense or stood for something way back when. Wrong! The birds and the bees is an idiomatic expression and euphemism referring to courtship and sexual intercourse. Okay, I can use that once I figure out what an idiomatic expression is, and how come they only refer to sexual intercourse. I have to explain it to a twelve-year-old.
Read on, there’s more: The phrase is evocative of the metaphors and euphemisms often used to avoid speaking openly and technically about the subject. Huh?
So much for The Birds and the Bees expression. How about birds? There must be some reason the authors of this archaic phrase chose birds rather than one of the more obvious barnyard animals. Let’s see…birds…hmm…
Most birds do not have the same reproductive body parts as mammals. Instead, both male and female birds have a cloaca – one opening that serves as the bodily exit for their digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. Let’s see if we got this right. There is no physical difference between boy birds and girl birds, and they both use their one body thingy for everything? Everything!
I think I got it. So how do they do it with their common doohickeys? Let’s read more: During the breeding season, the cloaca swells and protrudes slightly outside the body. Okay, protruding whatchmacallits. Now we’re getting somewhere. Are you ready for the X rated part?
The positions and postures birds assume to mate can vary somewhat, but the most common is for the male bird to balance on top of the female. Okay, I got it. He mounts her from behind and…and…
The female may hunch or bow to give the male easier balance. She will then move her tail aside to expose her cloaca to his reach, and he will arch his body so his cloaca can touch hers. The brief rubbing of cloacas may last less than a second, but the sperm is transferred quickly during this "cloacal kiss" and the mating is complete. THAT’S IT? A KISS? Less than a second of touching and it’s over. OVER, ALL OVER. Psst—don’t tell anyone but it sounds a lot like my first time.
How do I explain this to my grandson? I can tell him to avoid rubbing body parts, especially those kind of body parts with anyone. Nah, I’ll figure something out.
Maybe there’s something we can learn from how bees do it. There must be a reason they chose bees as a model for these discussions. Think about it. There are over eight million different creatures on earth and they chose bees—not dogs, cats, or chimpanzees—but bees.
Here, let’s see what it says: The virgin queen bee will fly out on a sunny, warm day to a "drone congregation area" where she will mate with 12-15 drones. If the weather holds, she may return to the drone congregation area for several days until she is fully mated. Mating occurs in flight. The young queen stores up to 6 million sperm from multiple drones in her spermatheca. She will selectively release sperm for the remaining years of her life. That’s it? Our girl bee has one big gangbang over a long weekend with a whole swarm of boy bees. The slut. When she’s satisfied or the weather turns ugly, she goes home and lays eggs for the rest of her life. One big orgy and that’s it. And, how about those references to the weather. You’ve heard of a fair-weather friend, she’s a fair-weather floozy.
I’m not sure what the message is here for our young boys. Find an willing virgin flying around on a sunny day and bang the hell out of her until it rains or she… Nah.
With my research complete and my grandson in tow we head off to the high school baseball field. I figure a dugout is as macho as you can get. We sit on the players’ bench chomp bubblegum and spit sunflower seeds just like a couple of big leaguers when my grandson says, “So what’s up, Pop-Pop?”
“Well you see…er…hmm…your mom and dad thought we should have this…mm …little talk,” I say nervously. “And…and…you see…”
He interrupts my stammering, “Okay, let’s talk.”
“Well you see…birds…birds make nests…and… and bees build hives…to ahh…”
“We gonna have the birds and the bees talk?” He says with a bashful smirk.
“And the boy bird gets on the back of the girl bird but…but…the boy bee has to fly fast to catch the girl bee…”
“Pop-Pop I already know all of that sex stuff. Have you seen what they post on the internet these days? Let’s go get our mitts and play some ball.”