All Shook Up

My mom graduated from high school in 1953. She graduated from college in 1957. In many ways, she remained distinctly behind the times; for example, when Elvis Presley first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956 and essentially transformed youth culture in the space of 3 minutes, my mom was blissfully unaware that some lip-curler with a pompadour and loose hips had just awakened a generation from a slumber it hadn’t known it was having.

She was at choir practice, you see–that night, and most nights. And when she wasn’t at choir practice, she was at a Bach concert. Although she was deeply acquainted with falsetto and vibrato, she knew not who Elvis was.

Nor did she care a whit for the Beach Boys or the Beatles or any other group that subsequently rocked through the door Elvis had opened.

You see, even when there wasn’t a Bach concert on the agenda, she could always count on Hayden being played somewhere. Indeed, the classical composers kept my mom out of the mainstream, kept her dreamily drifting through a world of scores and maestros instead of twists and shouts.

In other ways, however, she was completely a reflection of the times, of the 1950’s. She was chaste. She was modest. She was provincial. She had a poodle skirt.

True to her roots and poodles, she’s continued to make a life’s work out of sweetly-sheltered naivete.

Exhibit A: She had been married for some years to my father and had given birth at least once before she got her first inkling of what male homosexual sex entailed. She–hand to throat, accompanied by a gentle gasp and a little handkerchief waving about the face–had no idea. Who knew how versatile an orifice could be? Certainly not me ma.

Exhibit B: About fifteen years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, she and I were taking a cross-country road-trip. To pass the time, we were reading aloud a Margaret Atwood novel. Right around the Oregon border, as I relaxed with my feet propped up on the dashboard, holding forth from the book, we encountered the term “69.”

“Stop there,” Mom said. “Now I’ve always wondered: what does 69 mean?”

“Well, um, you know, I could tell you and all, but since I’m squirming at the idea of using some of the words around you, Mom, could we pull over, and I’ll just draw you a picture?”

The brakes were hit. There in a rest stop, I created on paper two very lucky stick people who happily met each other head to toe.

After a few “Oh, well” and “Oh, my” exclamations, we clambered back into the car and zoomed on to the family reunion and some ambrosia salad.

Exhibit C: Just this week, we leapt the Grand Canyon of Uninformedness. Mom is visiting for a week, and it’s been all mellow cross-stitching and caramel-apple dipping, save for one quick conversation held at the top of the stairs.

As Mom returned a few borrowed books to me, she said, “I’m still reading that Julie & Julia one, though. But I can’t read any further until I get a dictionary.”

Why? Well, in this book about a woman trying to cook every dish in Julia Child’s most famous cookbook, there are some, as my mom says it, “sex-sual” terms with which she is unfamiliar. And so she needs a dictionary.

Or a daughter.

“Try me, Mom. I bet I can help.”

“Well, off the top of my head, I can’t remember them all, and I can’t seem to find them here in the book right now, but I do recall one was a word, something like ‘connie-lean-goo-ass.’”

Sucking in a deep breath, I clarified, “It’s cunnilingus, Mom. And it means oral sex, when it’s performed on a woman.”

Thinking further, I added, “Do you know what oral sex is? If not, I can draw you a picture. I mean, I do have some stick people in my portfolio who have been experiencing a pretty serious dry spell. They’d probably be pleased to get a little action.”

But, see, Mom divorced Dad a bit ago. Since then, she’s had a couple boyfriends.

So the stick people will have to remain celibate, perhaps until she asks about fellatio when she turns 80 in a few years.

Mom’s answer? Tittering a little, she informed me, “Oh, I do know what oral sex is for a woman. In the last five years, I’ve learned more than I ever thought I could know about that. I had no idea, but now I sure do.”

It would seem, then, that at age 72, my mom is finally ready to walk through the door Elvis opened all those years ago. She might even be ready to consider the implications of Gene Simmons’ tongue.





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38 responses to “All Shook Up”

  1. geewits Avatar

    My mom knows everything. But from books.
    I thought it was funny that your 69 people were described like:

    “two very lucky stick people who happily met each other head to toe”

    I never got that. I always thought 69 was silly. How can you enjoy something while you are concentrating on something else? It’s like trying to enjoy a foot massage while you are putting together a lasagne or trying to listen to a good song while you are trying to tell a joke. It seems like a lot of wasted effort. Just do one or the other. Get the foot massage and THEN make the lasagne.

  2. Voyager Avatar

    There’s something sweet about such innocence. Wouldn’t it be fun to still get the giggles over words like cunnilingis?

  3. SQT Avatar

    OMG! I am laughing my a** off. I can just picture you drawing that picture for your mom.

    I have a friend whose mom is experiencing her own little sexual revolution now that she’s in her 60’s and it’s a tad disturbing. My friend literally just holds her hands over her ears and does the “la la la I can’t hear you” song whenever her mom talks about her boyfriends. I don’t blame her. Just the idea of my mom having sex gives me the heebie jeebies.

  4. Theresa Avatar

    I have some serious cleaning to do on my keyboard since it is now drenched in coffee. That was the funniest thing I’ve heard in ages. It reminds me of the time my husband told a joke about Little Red Riding Hood and Pinocchio happily meeting each other from head to toe, and Red says to Pinocchio “Lie to me, Pinocchio, lie to me.” My mother-in-law, who was there, had no idea what it was all about, so he had to explain it to her. After the inital shock, she laughed her head off.

  5. AmyTree Avatar

    We should introduce our stick people – mine never have quite such fun!!

  6. Patience Avatar

    I can’t imagine ever having a discussion about these things with my mom!! Ewwwwww! I could though have had these conversations with my grandmother. Go figure that one!

  7. Jeannie Avatar

    Kudos to your Mom for being willing to even ask you questions with such a past! My Mom reads so I’m pretty sure she’s up on everything but I’ve no idea what she has personally experienced and don’t care to either.

    It does show you how different life has become in just a few decades though doesn’t it?

  8. Tai Avatar

    Yeah, my mom’s like that too, but she’s about 20 years younger than your mom.

    Sweet, innocent and prefers life viewed through lenses of the rose coloured variety.

    But I’m not entirely sure I could deal with those questions from my mom…seems so wrong!
    “Mom! You don’t want to know! Don’t ask those questions!! Stop talking! Lalalalalala”

  9. Claire Avatar

    You are brave. I do not want to have any conversations like that with my 50’s era mom. Too Much Information -can be a bad squirmy uncomfortable thing. Although she once confessed that having to ‘do it’ with my stepfather was gross.

  10. Em Avatar

    This is very funny. It seems there was an entire generation…just on the verge of Elvis and the Beatles…who got completely overlooked in the musical/cultural/sexual revolutions of the 60’s. Amazing what a different just a year or two can make.

    My mom and my wife’s mom have that same lack of knowledge about so many things. And I am NOT drawing any pictures to help them. They can look things up on the internet just like I do! LOL

  11. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    This is hilarious. I know for a fact that MY mother never had sex and that my brother and I were the products of divine intervention. Especially him, the junior god of our household.

  12. Hammer Avatar

    Wow I guess she’s a late bloomer. Better late than never I guess. It’s a good thing she isn’t learning all these things from the wrong people 😉

  13. Karen Avatar

    Eeew. I got creeped out reading this. I’m glad you and your mom are comfortable enough to discuss this kind of stuff but the thought of explaining oral sex to my mom makes me curl up into the fetal position and I want to crawl under my desk to hide.

  14. frannie Avatar

    oh my! I do believe I need to sit a spell.

  15. urban-urchin Avatar

    My mother had a similar upbringing. Chaste, modest. Didn’t pierce her ears because that’s what the cheap girls did. One night in high school I was talking with her and my brother about a guy who I had gone out on a date with but wasn’t really into.

    “Why don’t you give him a blow job?” mom asks innocently. My brother and I simultanously spit our coffee across the table and gently explained what her suggestion entailed. “NO! Don’t do that!!!” she said. In her attempt to be hip and tell me to ‘blow him off’ she had become extremely confused.

    She also referred to the heavy metal music my brother liked as ‘hard steel’ God bless her.

  16. My Reflecting Pool Avatar
    My Reflecting Pool

    WOW. I feel like I should be happy that your mom finally got to experience some good stuff. Then again, the regrets she must have for not knowing how good things could have been all these years has to be huge. Your poor mom.

  17. cathy Avatar

    My mum is a samaritan so she probably knows stuff I don’t.
    They get quite a few lewd calls apparently.

    Nice to know that there is sex after men-o-pause.

  18. That Chick Over There Avatar
    That Chick Over There

    Are you SURE your mom isn’t Southern? I mean, 100% positive?


  19. Mamma Avatar

    Here via Dorky Dad.

    I’m so glad my mom was a teenager in the early 60’s.

  20. rak Avatar

    I love that you are so frank with her! She is lucky to have you as her “go-to” gal for this stuff.

    And, btw, you are a fabulous storyteller!

  21. Top cat Avatar
    Top cat

    What a sweet post, I loved reading about your mom and…you’re a good daughter jocelyn.:)

  22. my4kids Avatar

    Oh wow! I’m glad my mother knows what most of that stuff is. I couldn’t imagine trying to explain it to her!

  23. kimber the wolfgrrrl Avatar
    kimber the wolfgrrrl

    I lauuuuuughed at this post! Lucky, lucky stick people!

    One afternoon, having tea with my landlady, she leaned across the table. “Can I ask you a question?” she asked in her Irish accent. “I asked my son, but he refuses to answer me. It’s a word I heard on television… do you know what a MO-FO is?”

    How do you answer that without sounding rude?!?! I pondered the question and, finally, after a sip of tea, I said, “Have you ever read Oedipus Rex? Good old Oedipus was a MO….” pause. “FO…”

    “Ooooooooooh!” she said with wide eyes and dawning understanding.

  24. Casdok Avatar

    I can have open talks with my mum to, good isnt it!

  25. Maddy Avatar

    Good grief! Your mum and mine have a great deal in common.
    Best wishes

  26. Pendullum Avatar

    I do not think ANY of us need to think about the implications of Gene’s tongue!!!!!!!
    Let alone your mother… baby steps… Elvis is a good pelvic thrust forward….

  27. Julie Avatar

    I love that you’re having these conversations with your mom! The closest I’ve come to this sort of discomfort was attending my mom’s bachelorette party a few years back. The memory of her sucking back a few “blow job” shots still gives me the shivers.

  28. Jazz Avatar

    Makes me wonder just how much my mom knows about such things, but then again, maybe not.

    As for Gene Simmons, such an interesting tongue he has. Ummm hmmmmm.

  29. Franki Avatar

    a) Wonderful that you have such an open relationship with your mom.

    b) Horrible that you have such an open relationship with your mom!


  30. Jill Avatar

    My Mom grew up in the same time warp. I don’t really know what she knows, because she would never say it out loud to anyone. In serious conversations, she whispers the word “sex” and spells fuck. I find the spelling thing especially ironic since I remember her yelling that word at me when I was a kid.

    Let’s hear it for revisionist history. It’s how we all sleep at night, I guess.

  31. furiousBall Avatar

    I happen to be able to draw a wicked dirty sanchez cartoon if she needs it.

  32. susan Avatar

    OMG this is just too funny. I’m just glad it’s you and not me having to explain things to my mom!

  33. Mother of Invention Avatar
    Mother of Invention

    Too funny but I bet your mom wasn’t the only one like that in her generation.
    And it begs the question…what will our children be explaining to us when we’re that age?!!
    And makes me much more can there be left to discover or invent in that area?!!

  34. Princess Pointful Avatar
    Princess Pointful

    I had something funny to say.
    But I’m too grossed out by Gene Simmons’ tongue.
    Eww eww eww.

  35. Glamourpuss Avatar

    Golly. It’s a wonder you were born at all.


  36. Diana Avatar

    Psychic sister, I am once again chortling. I got to hear all about my mother’s sex life at her recent visit a couple of weeks ago.

    As neither needed clarification, stick people weren’t involved but afterward I felt the need for an amnestic agent.

    The things we do for our parents.

  37. lime Avatar

    do you think she is ready for pink’s ‘u and ur hand?’

  38. CS Avatar

    I’m with franki – I find it both sweet and appalling that you and your Mom have these conversations! I’m in more of the “la la la not listening” camp.

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