The Snapper came into the kitchen last Friday night as George and I were headed to dinner. He asked, “Can I have Emma over this evening?”
I said to George, “What is it with these boys and girls named Emma?”
I said to the Snapper, “Don’t you know any Annies?” and he said, “Yes, but I want to have Emma over.”
I said, “I gather she’s not coming over to play video games” and he actually blushed. I said, “Okay, but keep one foot on the floor at all times.” This was the rule in my mother’s all girl college in the 1940s, when a gentleman came to call. The Snapper seemed to understand it anyway, because he blushed again.
At dinner, George was twitchy. I asked if he was upset that Wally was returning to college the next day and he said, “Maybe.” Then he glared at me. “I think one of us should be home, right now!” I said, “Didn’t you ever spend time with a girl alone when you were seventeen?” and he said, “Yes—and that’s why one of us should be home!” I said, “You need to get your mind off that. Let’s talk about something else—like Obama’s economic stimulus package. Do you know Nancy Pelosi tried to insert millions of dollars in funding for contraceptives?” and George turned pale and fled.
I walked home.
The next day we got up at the crack of dawn to return Wally to college, even though the dorms didn’t open until mid-morning. George was grumbling about the early hour. He said, “Why couldn’t this have waited ’til this afternoon?” As we walked into the dorm, we ran smack into Wally’s girlfriend. I said, “That’s why.”
I can’t even begin to describe the level of dirt we found in Wally’s room. Apparently, that exorbitant housing fee we pay doesn’t include housekeeping service. I said to George, “Do you really think these rooms are only cleaned once a year?” and he shuddered and sent Wally to find a vacuum.
While we were waiting for him to return, George read some of the signs posted on the walls of Wally’s co-ed floor. One said, “If you love, wear a glove—don’t have one? Ask your RA!” George was shocked. He said, “That’s a little blatant, isn’t it?” I asked if he hadn’t seen those signs when we moved Wally in, in August—knowing full well he hadn’t noticed because he was too busy trying not to look upset at leaving Wally.
I said, “Well, it’s not as blatant as sexting.” George said, “What the hell is sexting?!” and I explained that it was the practice of sending naked or sexual photos to another recipient on your cell phone. “It’s all the rage among teenagers,” I said and George put his head in his hands. He is the product of a Southern Catholic boys school and sometimes the 21st century is too much for him.
I said, “Well, as long as they practice safe sex.” George looked at me darkly. He said, “Do you really think teenage boys know how to put a condom on correctly?” and I said, “You tell me. You’re the one who had girls over on weekend nights.”
And he said, “That was different.”
I said, “Maybe we should be supporting Pelosi’s position on the stimulus package,” and George said, “I think there’s enough stimulus going on around here without adding more,” and stomped back into the room.
Wally returned with the vacuum and I whispered to George, “Do you want to have a ‘conversation’ with him?” and George clammed up. I’m the one who’s given all the sex-ed talks, including the one I had to deliver when Wally was in seventh grade and on his way to a bar mitzvah. The school had sent home a note to all the parents saying there was an outbreak of middle-schoolers having oral sex and of course, that’s the one chapter I had skipped over when giving my lectures. Another woman confided in me that some girls were actually handing out blowjobs as bar mitzvah presents. I’m sure that was more happily received than the Borders gift cards we tended to purchase.
Actually, if those girls were charging for their presents today, it would be another kind of economic stimulus.
On the return trip home, George was quiet. I asked if he was missing Wally and he said, “No, I’m thinking about the stimulus package and I have two questions. One, where is my bailout? And two, why do the Democrats think contraceptives belong in a stimulus package?
I said, “I don’t know where your bailout is, but I will tell you that Pelosi has made the argument that funding contraceptives actually saves money for the states, because the states aren’t paying for the health, food, and education costs of another child. In short, contraception costs less than raising a child.”
George, thinking of the tuition bill, said “Well, I’m all for cost savings.”
“And,” I said, “the upside to contraception as part of the stimulus package is that it prevents pregnancy and all the bloating that goes along with it.The same just can’t be said of the stimulus package for banks.”