I caught the eye of the man beside me over the woman’s naked bottom and felt my face flush puce.
‘‘Oh for goodness sake is nowhere safe?’’ I asked myself. I quickly turned the page of the magazine I had innocently opened to peruse in the doctor’s waiting room, only to be confronted with yet another huge bare backside!
I hastily looked at the front cover thinking I had by some bizarre mishap lifted a copy of Playboy, but no it was a respected woman’s monthly periodical and it contained no less that four pages of completely naked women.
They were discussing what they did and didn’t like about their bodies. Frankly, I have no desire to know whether someone hates their bingo wing arms or loves their Kim Kardashian-esque Zepplin-sized bottom. Nor do I want to see accompanying photographic evidence of said body parts!
Each woman added the hackneyed viewpoint that getting it all out made them feel liberated and confident. I’m afraid that wouldn’t be my viewpoint. I was mortified just catching the eye of the man next to me over their naked bodies. It was as if in that moment the woman’s bottom had become magnified and came bouncing up out of the page accompanied by an audible warning sound in cartoon-like fashion.
Since I have become a mother I make Mary Whitehouse look like Miley Cyrus. I am mortified by nudity, and amorous scenes on TV and I recently told some teenagers to mind their language in front of my young son, whilst stood at a bus stop. I reminded myself of the mother from the 80s comedy programme Sorry. I all but shouted ‘‘Language Timothy!’’ at them.
A metamorphosis seems to take place once you have a child. The world appears more seedy and dangerous than it did before. You find yourself morphing into a Mary Whitehouse-like crusader, intent on prolonging your child’s innocence for as long as possible, trying to shield them from all things sexual.
I’m not the only mother experiencing this transformation. My friend in her mid twenties has also become more prudish in her outlook since becoming a mother. When our sons had a play date recently I told her I’d been mortified when Sean and the vicar began to kiss on Coronation Street.
My husband, son and I were all watching TV and my son immediately asked why one man was kissing another. My husband and I looked at each other with horror. ‘‘Well mum?’’ he asked, I watched hubby heave a sigh of relief that junior had made me the nominated sex education parent.
Hubby then became absorbed in a strangely fascinating newspaper article. ‘‘Because they like each other”! I replied and swiftly changed the subject to Minecraft, which is infinitely more interesting to my son than the love life of a fictional vicar and a knicker-stitcher.
My friend then said exactly the same thing had happened to her when watching Emmerdale. Two male lovers began to kiss on screen. Her son asked the same question of why men were kissing each other. She set about explaining that some men like women, some men like men and some women like women. She said it all got rather complicated but she cleverly rescued the situation by diverting his attention with a Walnut Whip.
Of course children need to be educated in the matters of love, relationships and pro-creation but it’s not a subject I’m looking forward to broaching. My son knows nothing of these things as of yet. I cherish his wholesome innocence and dread the tarnishing of that.
I am also concerned about how my son will take it when he finds out the facts of life. Personally, I didn’t believe it when I was told by a cousin of how reproduction occurred (my parents never once discussed the subject with me!)
Researchers have found millions of parents struggle to broach the subject of sex education with their children; it’s the topic they most dread discussing because they find it awkward and don’t know what to say. In a study of 2,000 parents it emerged that 60 per cent find it difficult to talk to their children about sensitive subjects.
A quarter of parents pretended to be busy when their child asked the question. As hard as it is the talk has to be had eventually, but I don’t feel my son’s ready just yet. My metamorphosis into Mary Whitehouse continues. I know I’m living on borrowed time, but for now I’m enjoying the age of innocence, it’s such a special time.