About forty years ago, our best friends were visiting us at out home in Yorba Linda, California. I don’t remember exactly how it came to pass but I ended up taking their oldest daughter, who was about ten, to the movies while everyone else was doing something else. The movie we saw was Grease, harmless enough fare for a preadolescent, I thought.
On the way home, our young friend asked me, What does Knocked Up mean? These days, I’d answer, It’s a euphemism for pregnant, which would serve the dual purpose of correctly answering the question and moving her on to, What’s a euphemism? But back then I was twenty-something and childless, so I had never contemplated talking about s-e-x to a little girl. I think I told her to ask her mother. It seems incredibly quaint in these days when euphemisms for sex seem to have been replaced by obscenities, but back in my teenage years, we hardly ever spoke directly about sex. Euphemisms ruled the day.
Making Out was hugging and kissing (and ???). Making Out in a car was Going Parking, which is why I got excited when my Driver’s Ed teacher said we were going parking today. Making Out in a car parked within sight of the ocean was Watching the Submarine Races. My Mom once said that French kissing was a euphemism for that filthy habit of exchanging spit, a revelation that didn’t do anything to dispel my interest. I don’t think I knew what foreplay was until college but I knew what it meant to Feel Up a girl. Why was it always up? There was Getting to First Base and Getting to Second Base, and although exactly what activities were required to reach each base were never specified exactly, we all knew the eventual goal was (interestingly enough) not a Home Run but Going All the Way. It wasn’t that we didn’t know it was really called intercourse, we just didn’t use the term out loud. Well, mostly. One time at a statewide student council meeting on getting the College, Commercial and General Course students to get along better, my best friend, Russ, informed the audience of several hundred students and teachers that, At East Haven High, we don’t have any problems with intercourse between the students. Hmmm.
There’s probably no point to this quaint nostalgic ramble except that times have certainly changed. A friend roughly my age and I were having coffee a few weeks ago when a young woman went by in a pair of shorts that were, as my wife, Muri, would say, up to her pupik (you look it up, here). Do you remember, I asked him, what a Leg-Shot was? He is a California native and I thought the term might have been an East Coast idiom. It wasn’t. A Leg-Shot occurred when a girl crossed her legs so her skirt rode up a little above her knees, giving the boys a look at her thighs. Talk about a term that’s outlived its usefulness. Looking back, we may have been more repressed and less informed about sexual matters but I think we were happier. I suppose every generation thinks that. What do you think?