One of my most vivid junior high memories from Mansfield's Worley Middle School comes from seventh-grade health class, wherein it was Coach T.'s job to teach us about the birds and bees -- without mentioning trees, hives, wings, honey, feathers, queens or anything else related to birds and/or bees.
The special magic of abstinence-only education was mostly, but not entirely, lost on me as a Bible-thumping 13-year-old. I do remember thinking it was bizarre when Coach T. told our class, "I can't say the 'c-word.' I can't tell you to use the 'c-word,' the rubber thing that people use to prevent pregnancy when they have sex, which they absolutely should not do unless they are married. Remember. I am not allowed to tell you to use the c-word if you think you are going to have sex. Do not have sex until you get married."
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Between Coach T.'s veiled recommendations and a screening of the Miracle of Life, the mere thought of which continues to this day to turn me off the idea of ever having children, it even seemed to me as a sheltered, True-Love-Waits kid that the messages I was receiving about sex at school were mixed at best. And the real-world effects of keeping sex a secret from kids -- which Texas public schools do so love to do -- are and have been showing their figurative baby bump for some time.
But hey, lucky for us! At least all those teen girls we haven't empowered with the knowledge of how their bodies work and how to assert themselves with regard to their maturing bodies and sexualities will look great in the latest fashions, thanks to cheap and trendy teen favorite Forever21, which announced this month that it'll be launching a maternity line in five states -- Arizona, Alaska, California, Utah and Texas.
Our dear Lone Star State has the third-highest pregnancy rate in the nation, behind AZ and CA. (As for Alaska and Utah, well, one guesses they presume the young women of AK are desperate to follow in Bristol Palin's footsteps. And Utah is full of LDS gals doing their darndest to repopulate Xenu or whatever it is they get up to.) But what's the relevance to Dallas, particularly? Well, Dallas has the highest repeat teen pregnancy rate in the state.
No doubt there will be some poorly reasoned uproar blaming Forever21 for somehow enticing girls into pregnancy with their adorable and affordable duds, but the clothing line itself is kind of a snoozer compared to the rest of the store's hyper-trendy offerings. Anyway, a nine-month pregnancy is guaranteed to last longer than just about any trend -- or item of clothing -- on offer at Forever 21.