When Sir Noel Coward was asked by a five year old girl what two mating dogs were doing, he replied:
“The doggie in front has suddenly gone blind, and the other one has very kindly offered to push him all the way to St Dunstan’s”.
An older friend took it upon herself to enlighten my then-nine-year-old daughter about sex. Not in a facts-of-life way; but in a pornographic film’s scriptwriter’s way, with drawings to pale the illustrations in the Kama Sutra.
I had prepared to, when the time came, deal with this side of my child’s education in the wonderful manner that my mother had when I was a child; with some books (I’d bought Robie Harris’s books; “It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families” and “It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health”) and to explain to her the importance of love and respect in the equation. I wanted to give her the warning advice of Philip van Munching:
“Boys will put you on a pedestal (so they can look up your skirt)”.
What I didn’t want, was the whole business lumped in an ugly pile and flung at her like a slap in the face; forever tainting lovely bedtime stories of horny toads and princesses with another interpretation of the word horny.
We both felt a little cheated. Perhaps I am terribly old-fashioned, but I just wanted to wait a while; to let her be a little girl for a little longer. I’d love to have been able to follow the Noel Coward School Of White Lies for another year or so.