By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
"We're kind of split on the effectiveness of this [graphic slide use]," says a stoic woman who looks as though she'd have advocated Prohibition in another era.
"I think they were ready for the wedding," a bubbly lady responds, instantly changing the subject to her boss' daughter and his new son-in-law -- both life virgins until marriage. The boss received some teasing around the abstinence education office regarding the honeymoon deflowering process. "I said it to him: 'Guess what's happening to her during the past week?'" the bubbly woman says. "He turned all red. That's my way of getting back at him for sticking his finger in my Reese's peanut butter cup during lunch."
After the honeymoon, the new son-in-law supposedly commented about his new father-in-law: "I won't even be able to face him, knowing what I did to his daughter the past 10 days."
"Did with his daughter," someone corrects.
"A bunch of women got together and threw her a party. She got a pair of lacy underwear as a gift. She held it up, then turned all red," she explains. "Everyone yelled out, 'That won't stay on long. That's going to end up on the floor!'"
The woman across from the bubbly woman changes the subject to her college son, who made a pledge to a program called Master's Commitment. "They made a commitment they wouldn't date, so they could focus on their education," she says.
I look at my dry, tasteless turkey sandwich and can't believe this fucking thing is $15 worth of food. The mood suddenly shifts.
"Have you seen the video?" the bubbly woman asks.
"No, I haven't," I reply. "What video do you speak of?"
"It's put out by Golden Gate Planned Parenthood in San Francisco."
Since I'm the new kid on the teen abstinence educators' block, someone yells, "Show him the video."
"This is what they think of us," the group's leader says with distaste verging on scorn.
With the aid of a laptop, the Planned Parenthood promotional video is projected. An animated female superhero soon appears; a cartoon bubble reads "It's Sexy to Be Safe."
The group watches with frowns and crossed arms.
"It looks like it's time to take out the trash," proclaims the female superhero, grabbing a one-toothed, evil protester wearing a black villain hat and holding an "Abstinence Education" sign. He is dumped in the trash. I let out a gasp. "These are instruments from the devil's toolbox," proclaims the animated superhero, with a mighty smile. The superhero declares she has the right to be pro-choice. Resentful heckles come from across the table: "Great! I'll choose to blow myself up!"
A large, animated condom is then put over a large, cretinous abortion protester's head. It explodes. The animated superhero adds, "You too can be a superhuman for a change!"
Lights on. Tense hush of silence. Unhappy faces.
"I just gave away my black hat last week," one of the abstinence educators sarcastically remarks.
I shake my head, disgusted. "What a load of horse hooey! What did you think of it?" I ask. The bubbly woman momentarily is not bubbly.
"I go into schools, and people will come up to me and say, 'I don't agree with what you said, but I respect your presentation.' I was shocked by the violence. Are they saying it's OK to blow people up?"
"Yeah, and put very large condoms over people's entire bodies," I add.
Why not tell kids to try to abstain, but if they are going to have sex, use a condom? That's an easy question to answer. Saying, "If you must, use a condom," is like saying, "Don't drink and drive, but if you do drink and drive, make sure you wear a seat belt." Or saying, "Don't go and shoot a cop, but if you are going to shoot a cop, make sure to wear safety goggles and earplugs." So when we say it's OK for a teen to use a condom, it's like saying it's OK to shoot a cop!
WHAT PART OF "WAIT UNTIL MARRIAGE" DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND!
Roughly 100 folks have now gathered in a large conference room for the evening's events. The crowd is composed entirely of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Jews ... just kidding. It's not only very white here, it's whiiiiiiiiiiiiite. Most of the people are poodle-haired old ladies in flower-print shirts; they all seem to have a small-town glow. The woman in front of me is quilting. A cell phone with gospel music for the ring tone goes off.
"I want to applaud you, 'cause you're deep in the trenches, fighting the fight," remarks a cool pastor (he makes references to Led Zeppelin and the movie Zoolander-- the kids must like that) in his abstinence state of the union address. "What victories and struggles you face."
I wonder what the people at Burning Man are up to at this very moment.
"When I was 5 years old, 5, neighborhood children introduced me to Playboy," the cool pastor notes. "The way to prove my manhood was to pursue promiscuous behavior and pornography. The question can't be answered by porn and a promiscuous society."