• Terry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Girl Things


Growing up in a house with five brothers and no sisters, I think I was a bit protected from girl things. Also, talking about differences between girls and boys, women and men, had gotten me into to a bit of trouble so, asking questions felt pretty much verboten.


Like the time I asked mom if the lady next door was pregnant. Mom had recently been pregnant with my twin brothers so I was familiar with the shape of women in that state. We had been encouraged to touch Mom's belly, feel our new siblings, so, even though I was only about four, I made a connection between distended bellies and babies. As it turns out, babies are not the only reason for large stomachs. It turns out too, asking if the neighbor lady is pregnant, in front of the neighbor lady who isn't, gets you a face slap. Lesson: don't ask questions unless you already know the answer.


I had seen lots of men with moustaches, dad even grew on on occasion . However, I knew my mom never had a moustache so, when one of Mom's friends came for a visit, along with a few other ladies, I wanted to make sure no one missed out on the fact that she was like the guys. That earned me a face slap. Lesson learned, ladies don't like to be the same as men.



When I was growing up, it was in the era of hair curlers. Mom had a basket of them, Bobby pins, and plastic pins were used to hold the curlers in her hair. She kept the basket on the toilet tank. The basket had a lid. I thought every family had one of these and kept it in the same place. It was a long time before I realized mom and dad just did things the best way they could figure out, that there wasn't a bunch if rules that everyone just followed. That was when the world grew pretty scary for me. Lesson learned: everyone was just wings it. At least I didn't get a face slap for this.


At a young age, probably around four or five, I grew to understand you never ask questions about breasts. Now, the exact time I learned this I no longer recall, I just know that at some point I became aware of this rule. I can't confirm if this was reinforced with a slap, or who might have delivered it but, knowing my curiosity and habit of saying things I shouldn't, I expect this is were the lesson came from. It was so reinforced in me that I thought everyone was supposed to just pretend breasts didn't exist. I was so shocked in grade seven or eight when the teachers spoke about them openly in health class. It was as though they were the most natural things in the universe.


How did your parents handle more sensitive topics such as these? Were there any things you thought were correct that you later learned were totally wrong?





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