By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Why this dad keeps waiting to have 'the talk'
Dad struggles with knowing when to have the, um, you know, the "talk." - photo by Peter Thunell
So Ive been stalling on having the ahem talk with my 10-year-old. My wife Tammy keeps bugging me to do it. I cant help but remember vividly when my parents had the talk with me. Even, today, as a 40-year-old man, it still makes me wince.

Crazy right?

Its not that Mom and Dad didnt do a good job. They actually did a great job. Word had gotten out that my overzealous sixth-grade health teacher had told the kids they could write questions anonymously and she would read every one of them in front of the class and answer them. And that is exactly what she did.

It went about as well as you are imagining right now. I cant remember the exact questions but I can still remember the grins of the boys waiting to see if she would actually read out loud each and every word they had written down and their looks of satisfied and shocked accomplishment when she did just that. It was more of an education than most of the parents had bargained for.

So Mom and Dad figured they better put some religious context to the very explicit instruction manual I had just been handed. I dont know if they went in with the plan to tag team it, but thats how it went down. Now that I think back, Im guessing they didnt plan it that way because if they did, thats just cruel. (All right, Im going to have this uncomfortable talk with him and when its finally over and he is overcome with relief that he survived and he wont have to go through that again, you come in and start it all over again.)

In all reality, Mom probably told Dad that she had the talk with me and he better add in his two cents, so thats what he did. Ive found thats usually how dad parenting happens youre like a rappers hype man who is there to nod along and jump in here and there to reiterate what mom already said. (Yeah yeah. Uh huh, uh huh. Put your hands in the air is the equivalent to You heard your mother. Do exactly what she said.)

During the talk, they didnt really talk about specifics. I had already been very explicitly informed about all that by the health teacher and, lets be honest, some disturbingly well-informed fellow grade-schoolers. They simply said it was something to save for marriage, shows love for each other, brings moms and dads closer together, and so on.

Credit to Mom and Dad. They did a solid job. Still, when it was happening I wanted nothing more than for me to melt, bones and all, into the floor and roll down the nearest drain. I nodded and said uh huh as quickly as possible in hopes of speeding along the process. It still took hours. Im pretty sure ice cream was involved but I would have gladly traded it at the time for a head of cyanide-laced broccoli if it meant I could skip having that talk.

With all that said, my hold-up for having the talk with my 10-year-old isnt my own squimishness. Its that I havent seen any sign of him seeing girls as anything other than buddies just like his guy buddies. And Ive been watching like a hawk for some indication that the time is right. Even if I saw him looking a little too longingly at Daphne on "Scooby Doo," Id take that as a sign to jump in with the talk. Heck, even if he off-handedly mentioned Thelmas turtleneck, Id see that as a green light. If the kid still spends 87 percent of his time working on and talking about Legos, do I need to still jump in and turn his world around just because hes reached another birthday?

Before you all condemn me as a huge wuss who needs to buck up and get it done, let me point out that Im already ready to roll on having the talk with my 6-year-old. That kid has already informed us about at least four different girls in his class that he is going to marry. And he is always trying to hang out in class with the little girl whose mom dresses her like shes a backup dancer for Ke$ha. (Its Vegas, after all. If you could see what some of the moms wear to pick up their kids from school, the only question is whether they are just finishing their go go dancing shift or are heading to it.)

Im well-aware Im having a sit-down with that boy sooner rather than later. In the meantime, one of us will have to leap to the back of the minivan and cover his eyes when we are driving by the Strip and his TV viewing will strictly consist of Paw Patrol. (No Bubble Guppies, those guys show waaaaay too much skin. What time is it? Its time to put on a shirt.) In reality, if Im going to tell my oldest, I might as well just bring in the 8-year-old and 6-year-old too, considering how well my oldest did keeping a lid on the whole Santa thing.

Trying to time these things is like trying to jump in on Double Dutch. Try to jump in too early and you get tangled up, you trip and its an embarrassing mess. Try to jump in too late and well, I guess its the same thing.

Once youre in, theres no turning back. You better keep jumping.

So I stand here watching the ropes swing by my face, leaning forward, then leaning back, waiting for the right moment to jump in. Is that the third time in a row he just played Princess Peach on Mario?

All right, all right, here goes nothing, Im jumping in.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters