I love Friday Night Lights. I grew up in a football crazy town. My junior year, my highschool team went all the way to the semis. We had a hotshot sophomore runningback who was the "IT" kid of prep school football. We had the obligatory cheerleaders, most of which where pretty cool, if you like cheerleaders. We had a pretty ok marching band, made all the better by a certain trumpet player (me me me me me!). Most people couldn't tell you who won the other sporting events taking place on campus, but they could tell you the football score. We were a typical highschool, and therefore we also had teenagers having sex.
Friday Night Lights episode 3.10 "The Giving Tree"
So, who wanted to be Julie Taylor when she and Matt Saracen finally did the deed? Come on, raise your hands. I know I've got BOTH of mine in the air. Seriously cute boyfriend (didn't I propose to him earlier today?), lakeside campfire, starlit night....yeah, I'm there. Sign me up. Matt Saracen, here I come!
Now, who wanted to be Julie Taylor went Coach walked in on them in bed a few weeks later?
I had to pause the episode at this point to ponder the question: What would my father have done if he'd walked into a room and caught me-at-16 in bed with my boyfriend? I've been thinking on that for a couple of weeks now, and I still don't have an answer. I remember my 16th birthday, riding somewhere in the car with my parents, and Daddy looks at me in the rearview mirror and says, "Sweet sixteen. Sweet sixteen, and never been kissed. Right?" I smiled cheekily back at him, and replied, "Right." Uh, yeah. That thing in the practice room last day of freshman year, nope, that wasn't a kiss. Or two. No, Daddy, I can't tell you a great makeout spot in the old neighborhood. Nope, not me. And no, I never cut class, skipped practice, snuck out of the house. And when I was busy not doing those things, be clear that those things I didn't do had nothing to do with boys.
So, what would my father have done? He would not have handled it as calmly as Coach Taylor did.
I don't remember having "The Talk" with my mom. My oldest nephew was born when I was 7, so I was barely 6 when my parents started teaching me the basics about where babies come from. Despite my relatively sheltered upbringing, sex was not treated as taboo. It was dealt with honestly, and from a young age. These days, you have to teach your kids young, or they'll learn the wrong things from their kindergarten classmates. But in my generation, there were girls I knew that didn't know anything about it until they were in middle school and took the first sex-ed class (boy, did they receive some shocking information!). But my family taught us young, using age appropriate details, and because of that, I never had the privilege or horror of having that discussion with my mother as a teenager.
That made the next Taylor family scene extremely interesting for me.
Mrs. Taylor enters Julie's bedroom later on in the day. Julie, knowing that her father has told her mother, immediately wants to know what her punishment is. Good question. Grounded, never see Matt again, boarding school, chastity belt, QB2's castration. They all went through my mind as something that my father might have gone with. Mrs. Taylor replies, "You're punishment is you have to have a talk with me." Mrs. Coach is one classy mom!
The first part of the conversation is basic. Do you love him? Does he love you? Are you using protection? What kind? Every time? And then Mrs. Taylor tells Julie that having sex once doesn't mean you automatically have to start having sex all the time. Sleeping with one guy doesn't require you to sleep with every guy you date.
How many parents tell that to their children? It applies to male and female. But we don't tell our children this, as a rule. They have sex, and we lecture them on protection. We remind them about STIs and pregnancies. But how often do we tell them that if they've realized they're not ready, they don't have to keep on having sex? How many STIs and unwanted pregnancies could be avoided by letting our kids know that it is OK to say "No." You may have said "yes" once, but that doesn't have to be the answer every time.
If I ever have kids of my own (don't worry, Dad, I'm sure it will be by immaculate conception), I hope that "The Talk" I have with them can be as open and honest as the one at the Taylor house.