Birds, bees and the age-old struggle to play it safe

When you were small, the world was a simple place. You looked forward to Santa as opposed to the grant. You found more joy in a cardboard box than the end of a naggin. The hardest thing you had to learn was the art of putting a sock on a foot.

And then the day came when you grew and, suddenly, smaller children began to appear. “Where the devil are these coming from?” you said, adjusting your carefully positioned baby-monocle.

Thousands of 90’s children asked their (more than likely) sexually repressed, Catholic parents, where they and other pre-people came from.

Some exchanged panicked “Shit they’re on to us” looks. Other creative types went for an elaborate tale of a stork delivering you. Strange now to think a giant white bird was a metaphor for a penis and your doorstep was a metaphor for your mother’s uterus.

But the biggest lie, the most spun yarn, was the story of The Birds and The Bees. Contrary to popular belief, it is not about a tiny bee somehow impregnating a massive bird to produce winged, stingy beasts with beaks. No, bees carry and deposit pollen: like men and sperm – kind of. Birds lay eggs: like women and ovaries – kind of.

Nonsensical as it may be, it was a preparation for the later talk. Those ominous words: “When a man and a woman love each other very much…”

What your parents failed to tell you was that procreation was not just a means to a baby. Sometimes it’s just simple recreation – like fishing, camping or playing monopoly. But there are many dangers out there. Dangers worse than being stung by a bee if you are a fertile bird with loose morals.

First of all, if you are a single student, there is an endless struggle for some to “get some”. Filthy corners, endless shots, the inability of young Irish people to bond while sober. The pressure some people feel when they can’t find anyone to do it with. The reality that it is not just between a man and woman, and the incapability of some to accept that fact.

Babies come into the world unprepared to even pee by themselves. Students come into the bigger world unprepared, sometimes, to have a healthy attitude towards what the birds and the bees were supposedly up to all those years ago.

So you don’t have to pretend you are the ultimate macho man, dripping in testosterone, with about twelve children out there. You don’t have to pretend to be the ultimate female sex goddess, who knows more than one or two tricks with a bit of jam and a banana.

Just know the facts: yes, sex can result in pregnancy no matter what time of the month it is and no matter what way you do it. STIs can transmit any which way, just not from a toilet seat, wherever that one came from. You don’t know where the other person’s been, no matter how “nice” they might seem.

So play it safe – just protect yourself. You can get patriotic and say we fought for the things if you want. No doubt that bee would have been protected, if he didn’t have pollen to spread.

Mary McDonnell

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