How to Have Sex

As you know, I am not allowed to give advice to my niece or nephew. My tips on being popular that I gave to Izabelle were not welcomed. Who knew that it was not a good idea to tell a 12 year old how to be mean to the other popular girl in school? Now that my nephew, Chance, is reaching adolescence, I’ve been pestering my brother and sister-in-law to sit him down and scare the hell out of him about sex. I know he’ll knock up a 6th grader and end up working as a gas station jockey unless he has all the facts. I suggested that they build a closet and force him into it if he has lustful thoughts, but this is no longer acceptable with today’s liberal parenting.

So I found a manual for him. I think it’s very fair and helpful. It could be a little more dramatic and explain that you will go crazy if you masturbate, or that you can catch evil, blistering diseases if you kiss, but I’ll leave that to the parents. I also found a wonderful sex education manual for young women from the early 1960s. This one may go a little too far. Somehow, this advice seems off: “Should your husband suggest any of the more unusual practices be obedient and uncomplaining, but register any reluctance by remaining silent.”

Ricky not Zac

My niece, Izabelle, is like most 12 year olds today. Last summer she loved Zac Efron, which was fine, except his hair is always in his face. I suggested she start listening to Ricky Nelson. This was as popular as suggestion as my idea of buying her a nice kilt and sweater set. I’ve even gone as far as putting publicity shots of Ricky Nelson, Tab Hunter, and Troy Donahue in frames next to her desk in her room at my house. I’m pretty sure she just feels sorry for me and considers me the squarest person in the world. But I’m not being square, Ricky Nelson is a cool guy. His music kicks ass, and he’s handsome in that way 12 year old girls like. When she’s older, she’ll discover how super groovy Ricky Nelson really is. At least he kept his hair combed.


Heather Adams 1984

My niece, Izabelle, is 11, and like most proud uncles, I think she’s remarkably beautiful. When I saw her last, I, of course, gave her many compliments. But like many young girls today, she didn’t seem to want to wear the kinds of clothes I thought would look nice. She has long, beautiful hair, but I’ve always believed that young girls should have a nice Grace Kelly bob. I told my Kristin, my sister-in-law and Ian, my brother, and they both looked at me like I was crazy. “I don’t see what’s wrong with a nice bob,” I told them, I’d be happy to buy her a good kilt, sweaters and faux pearls (it’s unseemly to let 11 year old girls wear real pearls to school). Once again, the look like I’m crazy. “She’ll get beat up,” they told me.

I tried to convince Izabelle how nice this would look and showed her photos of my sister, Heather, when she was in high school in the 80s. Heather had a perfect bob and good classic style and it worked for her. I even found Belinda Carlisle’s video for Mad About You and pointed out that she was very cool and had a nice bob. Now, I’m not allowed to take Izabelle shopping, and when I suggested I buy her a gift certificate to Brooks Brothers, I was nudged toward iTunes. But I’m on the lookout for a nice madras headband. I can sneak that to her.

Heather Adams, 1985