“Sixteen”

The Book

Now before you all think I have stooped to an all time low and dated a sixteen year old let me blow the wind out of your sails by assuring you that I never have and I never will.  The sixteen to which I refer is the title of a book that I found at the back of a cupboard.  It does indeed refer to the joyous age of “Sixteen” and was aimed at females in that age group back in 1968. (well that was the date it was last printed by “Collins”)

 
Curiosity made me thumb the pages and what I found within was a real eye opener of how things were back then for teenage girls and the stigmas and prejudices that existed for women.  It was like a snapshot frozen in time and all I can say is hail the Womans movement that liberated us from its archaic pages.
 
The book was considered Educational apparently!! and gave advice on everything including fashion,make-up,marriage,work, your parents and even Sex!.  But let me assure you that the Victorian theory that “Laaadies” submitted to their husbands and laid back and thought of England was alive and well in 1968 and being promoted by Collins.
 
It was quite shocking! and although it made me laugh out loud in places the underlying message made me feel sick to my stomach.  I remember of course how things were and remember how my own parents viewed sexuality. It was never discussed and as I said in a previous Blog there was no “little Chat” to explain things and I was supposed to have understood everything from watching mating rabbits Doh!
 
The book talks of sex in terms of the boys all wanting it and the girls resisting.   Girls were supposed not to put themselves in situations where sex might rear its ugly head.   The fear of unwanted pregnancy was going to be the result if you dared lower yourself and succumbed to the boys desires.. not yours, because back in 1968 you werent suppose to have any.  No wonder when the contraceptive pill became freely available we all couldn’t  wait to take it and give our virginity to anyone that would have it comforted by the fact that the threat of pregnancy was removed. 
 
 “It’s cruel to play tricks on a boy,to arouse him by indulging in heavy petting and then to say I was kidding that’s enough. He wont be amused. As you don’t intend to go the whole way don’t let him think you do. Remember that lengthy kissing sessions, lovely for you,are dynamite to him.  Try and avoid getting yourselves into this situation”
 
The fact that it is taken as read that you wont be going the “whole way” and that kissing is not supposed to arouse you only him, beggars belief.  It’s incredible to think that this book was still around in the seventies. My how things have changed and maybe the pendulum has swung too far the other way and now we all go at it like rabbits Ha!  But with the false perception of female sexuality that this book portrays I can see why.
 
In another section it gives a scenario of a girl who finds herself in a situation where sex is on the cards for the first time and poses the question of should she or shouldnt she.  The negative column is unbelievable.
 
She might become pregnant, the boy might give her up (some boys do after making love to their girlfriends)!!!! he might want sex again, whenever there was an opportunity..Really!!! her parents might find out and she would be letting her parent down !! she would be doing something against her innermost beliefs!!
 
Who wrote this stuff they must be dead and buried by now. Honestly the totally pious sexism made my blood boil!  This was followed a few pages on by the “dreadful news that said girl DID get pregnant” and discusses whether or not she should marry the boy concerned. This was designed to make you draw your own conclusions but the theme throughout is that sex is for marriage and to be sexually active without it is wrong!wrong!wrong!
 
if they didn’t marry the family would be scandalised, the baby might have to be adopted,she might have to leave home and support it herself, the boy might leave her, and perhaps no one would ever marry her when they knew about the baby” 
 
For Fuck’s Sake !! talk about the ciminalisation of sex!. The woman takes the fall and the man walks away and only marriage will protect you from this awful state of affairs…well thats a load of Bollocks! as well as I know to my cost. 
 
There is a difference between the sexes and from my experiences it will always be the woman left holding the baby marriage or not!. Thats the way nature intended it and I think that woman are designed to be the nurturer carers and once you embark on motherhood you are forever in that role.  There isn’t a cut off point its a life long occupation and any mother worth her salt will be there for her children whether they are five or twenty-five and believe me its a tough path to walk more often than not.
 
Men, fathers,husbands the male of the species are not designed to play such a big role being the foragers gatherer.  Some in fact don’t even manage to do that very well.  Dont however underestimate the importance of their role in a child’s life.  I have seen too often the emotional scarring that can be caused by the absent or uncaring father and yet it is still all around me.  Despite my own feelings I try to encourage my son to see his dad and have a relationship with him although the man comes up short most of the time. My other son has no such opportunity to relate to his late father and I think is the worst for it. 
 
The delightful Matilda has no father in her life (his choice “W****r)  and has to content herself with Uncle Jack and Uncle ReRe but is surrounded by lots of caring females who love her to death.  Who knows how this will impact on her as she grows up.  Some Sundays the lack of males around our dinner table is blatantly obvious and we take the shape of a female commune. It would be nice to have a few nice guys around but I just don’t know where to find them. On new years day there was a total of six single woman ranging from thirty to fifty sitting at the table and we were all asking the same question “where have all the single men gone” because the quote “Plenty more Fish in the Sea” is becoming as much of a lie for the swimming variety as it is for the male of the species. 
 
I’m off to buy myself a very big net before the world runs out and  hopefully I will be “laying back and thinking of England” soon….as if !! More from the book later some of the advice on careers for “Girls” is also priceless.
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