I've done the same thing, Becks. And I'm older than you. And my parents aren't particular snoops.
Just toss all your unmentionables in the general squalor of the apartment. Either she won't go through it (victory!) or she will, cleaning as she goes (victory!). This assumes that it hasn't already been cleaned by your roommate, and that your mother wouldn't go through the squalor without also cleaning it up.
That makes me feel a little better, Tim. I figured I was alone in this. I was putting 50/50 odds on Ogged sending me a "sheesh, even I'm not that repressed" email.
2: I believe the squalid apartment is the DC one, not the NYC one that Ma Becks will be visiting?
If I remember correctly, the squalid one is referred to as a townhouse, guaranteeing it ain't the New York one.
Ben, unfortunately she's visiting me at my nice clean place in NYC and not the disaster that is where I stay in DC. Oh, and an update on the roommate situation – she forgot I was coming home this weekend (obviously) and apologized profusely for the state of the apartment. I was not kicked out of the apartment tonight and instead she and her gentleman friend went out yesterday. She did the walk of shame this morning and promised me the "juicy details" over dinner tonight and hinted at how good they were all day. The "juicy details" that I waited to hear ended up being that she spent the night at his place last night but they did not have sex and spent the whole night cuddling.
I have weird relationships with my parents. I'm not very close to my dad at all, but used to be. He'd be interested in way more of the details of my private life then I'd ever want to give him. He recently asked me, "Do you like vulgar humor, or does it offend you?" as he was preparing to tell me one of The Aristocrats jokes. My mom claims not to want to know, but then often starts conversations that wind up making her uncomfortable. She once claimed that I hadn't done anything sexually that she hadn't. "Don't start this contest, Mom," I said, "You'll lose, and you'll find out something you don't want to in the process." In fact, I got to something she hadn't done and then she said, "Let's talk about something else!" But I found out my mom is into anal.
(The place I share in DC is a townhouse, although I interchangeably use "townhouse" and "apartment" to describe it because I basically have a little mother-in-law apartment in the basement of the townhouse with my own bathroom, entrance, and sitting area. My roommate owns the townhouse and I rent the space from her for cheap since I'm rarely in town. My place in New York is a corporate apartment that my employer rents for me instead of paying me a NYC-adjusted salary.)
7 - Wow. I so would have hit "Let's talk about something else!" with my parents WAY before anal had that conversation occurred between me and them, which it never would.
But I found out my mom is into anal.
7: You outdo yourself.
Indeed. I laughed so hard I think some of my co-workers thought I was having some sort of attack.
Yeah well, my parents are both nutcases, in hard to define, non Axis-I ways (actually my mom has OCD and some depression and anxiety too, so she gets to Axis-I). They raised an oddball daughter, but a higher-functioning one than either of them, most observers say. Regression toward the mean, I heart you.
Instead of hiding things, you should plant something where you know she'll snoop. And I mean something really nasty. Let her find a horse sized dildo and some "hot carl" videos or something. She'll lose her enthusiasm for snooping.
Why settle for a horse-sized dildo?
You could just print out a bunch of results from the image search for apostropher. I like this one.
For years, my parents have thought that I'm some hard-partying druggie, even though I'm really kind of straight-laced (even more so in high school, when they first started thinking this about me). They don't have the normal "my child is pure of heart" assumptions of most parents. I'm not sure if it's wishful thinking, or just general pessimism.
I met a guy named Hot Carl last week. Nice guy.
My mother recently asked me what drugs I had used when I was younger. I got the impression that she thought I was a lot wilder than I actually was. Strangely enough, if I had known this when I was younger I would probably have tried to live down to her expectations.
I'm never going to Carl's Jr. again.
Or visiting Duke.
oh... I know I would mildly rue that question.
I'm never going to Carl's Jr. again.
A wise choice regardless.
Wow, that's horrific. This guy's nickname takes on an entirely different meaning now.
God, Mr. B. used to make me hide my birth control pills when his mother came over. This was after we were married. It annoyed me so much....
He still makes me hide sex toys from the babysitter, too.
I have to hide sex toys in the babysitter. I hate it when Mom watches the baby.
re parent proofing--- I sort of straighten up the place (no pun intended) but other than that snoopers are going to get an eyeful but fast--- lots of porn just inside this drawer or that. My partner and I are fairly shameless that way. I figure it is the snooper's problem. If you don't look for it, you won't find it. If you do snoop, you will find hot gay DVD's and VHS cassettes. Can't deal? So NOT sorry.
When I was in high school, I babysat for what I thought was the prissiest, preppiest, WASPiest couple in the entire world...until the day I accidentally opened the wrong door and discovered the "dungeon" they had created out of one of their walk-in closets. I think they figured out that I had gone in that room because after that night I was never asked back.
Becks, what would your mom's reaction be?
To a dungeon? I'm thinking shock would figure in somewhere.
Isn't the charade getting a little bizarre at this point? It's one thing to tell yourself your daughter graduated high school a virgin, there's even a decent chance it's true. But 28?
God, Mr. B. used to make me hide my birth control pills when his mother came over. This was after we were married.
Now the Becks charade looks positively normal. Jesus.
my failure to adequately hide things of this nature led me to accidentally leave ummm...polaroids of me, well, getting a full facial, let's say, among other things, at my grandmother's house when I moved out. (husband x and I had been staying there for a few months after my grandmother died.) I would have felt even worse about it except that my dad managed to be a total ass about it. he never mentioned it until the day I was scheduled to fly down and see him for the first time in like 2 years and then accused me of having left them there on purpose to show scornful disrespect, and then said, don't get on the plane I don't want to see you. so, my jerky behavior (which was really just absent-mindedness, though I could totally see him being irritated) was made to seem irrelevant by his shitty behavior.
Alameida did you fly down after that?
Crap like that ( 2 yr old gotchas) is one of the many reasons I don't see my dad more than once every few years. Heck, we've lived in the same city for months and managed not to cross paths. It's even easier when he is many states away.
Thank jeebus my parents are liberal hippy types who let me bring girls home to stay over pretty much right from the time it wasn't actually illegal for me or the girlfriend to actually do so. My friends at high school were a tad jealous of that, I think.
I think they'd have been pretty offended if I was indiscrete about what was actually happening -- they have no desire to know anything about my sex life -- but only because they'd think it was in bad taste and not because they had any illusions about what was going on.
I have had girlfriends in the past whose parents made us stay in separate rooms when visiting them though -- which always seemed wierd to me.
I can't imagine having to conceal birth control either from my parents or my parents-in-law.
my failure to adequately hide things of this nature led me to accidentally leave ummm...polaroids of me, well, getting a full facial, let's say, among other things
And to think some of us were paranoid someone would find the Playboy hidden in our room.
Coming in late, but my ex-wife was still playing pretend before her evil mother when she was 55and her mother was in her eighties. Her mother probably knew almost everything; it was more like these things they couldn't talk openly about, but which her mother let her knew she was thinking about. It was particularly painful because a hefty inheritance was involved.
Mozart was apparently into Hot Carl.
I don't really understand what's so bizarre about this process of parent-proofing. You like your parents and you want them to be happy. To that end, you make a few adjustments around the house. People seem entirely comfortable with a less than fully accurate presentation of themselves in pretty much every other situation I can think of (work, dating, friendships, etc.), but not this one.
OTOH, if you hate your parents, I agree that it would be wierd to bother.
Now I'm remembering in college that I accidentally left pictures of me naked in a drawer when I left my room at the end of the semester. They weren't sexual at all, except in that they would have obviously been taken by my boyfriend--they were pictures of me looking demurely at a flower, etc. Anyway the conservative Christian Jamaican (female) janitor found them and complained about me loudly to my friend, the RA, telling her I was a "dirty girl." I actually managed to be as annoyed as I was amused, because in the mindset that this was horribly shameful, she was a vicious gossip for talking about it.
My very religious mother-in-law used to go through all our stuff whenever she visited, especially if she was left alone for any length of time in the house. The way we knew this is that she brought forty or fifty little laminated pictures of St. Jude with her each time which she would hide in books, drawers, objects and so on that she knew that I used or that belonged to me. No place was sufficiently secret or difficult to access to be certain she wouldn't get into it, so we had to on several occasions move a small amount of private things to my office or my wife's office for the duration of her visit. Then for a couple of months afterward, I'd be dealing with books and such that would drop a picture of St. Jude when I picked them up to work with them or read them. We used to joke that it was sort of like grenades, that you'd have to fall on them quickly and smother them with your body before they detonated.
I don't really understand what's so bizarre about this process of parent-proofing. You like your parents and you want them to be happy. To that end, you make a few adjustments around the house.
It's one thing to put some movies you'd normally have in the entertainment center in your sock drawer. But to have a relative going into your bedroom and going through your drawers when you're not there? That's fucked up.
I should add that while I think it's bizarre to tolerate such behavior, of course one makes allowances with such things as large inheritances.
I had a friend in college who, before his parents would come to visit, would take down all of the homoerotic posters, take the gay studies books off the shelves, etc. He called it "straightening the house."
#44 -- this tale strikes me as especially weird. I thought the whole point of snooping was to get yourself one up on the snoopee, by finding out a secret of theirs that they don't know you know. But your mother-in-law was leaving little calling-cards so that you'd know exactly what she knew about your private life. I'm trying to work this out and I guess there might be something going on there where she is including herself in the secret without having to bring it out in the open. Could you see any kind of correspondence between her discovering hidden things, and her leaving calling cards? Or did she just tuck them at random into crannies as she snooped?
I guess there might be something going on there where she is including herself in the secret without having to bring it out in the open.
I think she's sending a message that there's no keeping secrets from Jesus.
#44 sounds like my ex-wife's mother. Having open secrets that you couldn't talk about openly was a big part of her game. Most toxic person I've ever known at all well.
My own mother was a saint. She was a church lady, and she didn't enjoy the fifty pages of "Naked Lunch" that she read in 1967, but she never nagged any of her adult kids about anything.
When I was a teen, my friends used to call my mother the KGB because of her obsessive and shameless snooping into my things. One year a friend wrote in my yearbook, "Say hi to the KGB for me!" I came home a week later and there's my mother, reading every personal note in my yearbook, shouting, "So I'm the KGB?" "Uh, Mom, the answer is in the question." I write anonymously for professional reasons, but mostly because my mom's the KGB.
My mother is like that. I once asked her and my father to help me move. She willingly came to help, but I'd forgotten her inability to not ask questions. She was continually stopping to ask me about my belongings as we packed them and stuck them in the truck. 'Winna, why do you have this book? Is this video game Satanic? You don't have much food in your pantry- do you need money?'
I got more and more irritated until she got to the kitchen drawer and asked me, in a quavering voice, 'Winna, why do you have so many Band-Aids?' Apparently one box of Band-Aids is too many Band-Aids for a single woman.
After that it was hard to take her curiosity seriously. For the rest of the move no matter what she asked about my reply was simply 'Band-Aids.'
The last time I did something I didn't want to do for my parents, I was 13. They divorced shortly thereafter. Through 14, I just did what I wanted to do, and my mother screamed at me. At 15, early in my senior year at high school, I got fed up with this, and having the opportunity to move out, I did. Didn't worry much about what either parent thought long before all that, though. Of course, my father was crazy; my mother was merely brittle, strongly inclined to believe what she wanted to believe, and unable to control her temper, and prone to hysterical screaming fits.
I tend to have a lack of charming and funny anecdotes about my parents after that. In later years she'd frequently tell me how horrible I was, when we were in contact, and that she never wanted to hear from me again. I eventually took her at her word.
Bummer, eh? Alternative view: saved an awful lot of angst and time spent worrying about petty-ass crap like "oh, what will mom think?!?" Slight downside: even as a teenager I had less patience than I might have had with people spending time worrying about what their parents, or other people, Would Think, and not just thinking for themselves. On the other hand, having positive things one can get from a biological family sounds like a nice gig if it's on offer.
I once had to actually move (or really, pretend to) because family was coming to visit. In college, I was supposed to be living in the dorms (in fact, it was required by the school) and I had a dorm room (and roomate, who loved me), but I was never there and was actually living with my boyfriend in an off-campus apartment (he was, of course, older). So, when my family came into town, of course they would want to see campus and my room and stuff, right? I had to move a whole bunch of shit over there to make it seem like I lived there (which involved making it messy, because everyone knows that's how I am) and act like my roomate and I weren't people who had just met eachother two or three times. That was interesting.
I've known several people who left home at 15 or 16 and by and large it seems to have been a good thing for those individuals. One kid left his birthdate off a Microsoft application and got a $60,000/year job before he graduated from HS. I've thought for a long time that kids who are intellectually ready for cellege at 15 should just go.
Conservative or fucked-up parents seems to be a major theme around here.
I left for college at 17 and never lived at home again. I've never bothered to hide anything from my mom (or from anybody else for that matter - I'm quite open about my vices). From the moment I moved out of the house, we have always dealt with each other as equal adults.
I assumed that was SOP, but was surprised to discover just how uncommon that really is.
maybe you'll be like me and eventually stop inviting mom over...she thinks I am a hermit and maladjusted and secretive but I get to live my own life and I do visit her. Not normal but what is normal? we do what we have to do to stay sane...it's not the same for everyone
Conservative or fucked-up parents seems to be a major theme around here.
Do you mean that the only parents that get brought up are either conservative or fucked-up? That makes sense - who would go around saying, "My parents are awesome"? Even if they are?
A friend of mine brags that she has awesome, loving parents to whom she can say anything. We kick her.
A friend of mine brags that she has awesome, loving parents to whom she can say anything. We kick her.
I feel the need to keep my parents relatively happy out of pity because my brother left the family, changed his name, and didn't tell us where he lived for three years. My parents were devastated and bitter and terrified that I'm going to stop talking to them if we have a fight. So I don't start fights.
I guess it especially surprises me that so many people here have parents that conservative. Ogged is a third-world alien, so his mom isn't surprising, but the rest of us are mostly middleclass honkies, no??
Silvana, your roommate loved you and you'd only met two or three times? That's interesting.
No wait, your roommate loved you because you didn't actually live there. That's less interesting.
My own Mom's secret wasn't that we could tell her anything, but that she minded her own business. We could tell her a lot, but if she didn't like what she heard she'd just nicely let us figure out that she really didn't want to know that kind of thing. She had a gay cousin she just loved, and she didn't care whether he was gay or not, but she didn't want to talk about it.
Emerson, that various parents don't share your "sex as a handshake" attitude does not make them conservative. Also, does "third-world" make sense anymore? I thought the second-world was the USSR, which no longer exists. Shouldn't everyone else at least move up a class?
Middle class covers a lot of ground. I consider myself middle class, but I grew up collecting cans and had to get a job at 13. My folks think they're unbelievably open-minded for having let me go away to college.
There are two versions of the three-world system. According to Mao, the superpowers were the first world, NATO and the Warsaw pact were the second world, and everyone else was third world. The other system was Capitalist / Communist / third world. Now it's probably core / semi-periphery / periphery. Military it's us against everyone else, whether they know it or not. Ledeen just suggested bombing France, and no, that's not a joke.
Well, they sound conservative to me. And hey, you don't shake hands with a sheep.
Ledeen just suggested bombing France, and no, that's not a joke.
Jeebus. In what context? And is there anything a neocon can say that will make other neocons shun him?
The flip side of conservative parents is the liberal hippie parents who, like my mom, *pride* themselves on the fact that you tell them anything, which is really cool until you grow up a little and realize that it's a little bit fucked up to have your parents self-image so invested in knowing everything about your life. Then you simply stop mentioning things that, really, aren't their business, and they feel neglected and think that you're being hateful to them.
Obviously, there's probably more than a casual relationship between the facts that (1) most of us on this board have fucked-up parents and (2) we're huge internet geeks who spend a lot of time with our pretend friends.
Shameless Kin Promotion Dept.:
My son's non-Decemberist band, Amelia, is playing in Brooklyn at 9:30 pm on Monday, March 6th at Barbes (376 9th Street - corner of 6th Avenue in Park Slope, 718.965.9177, www.barbesbrooklyn.com) .
On Thursday, March 9th they play in NYC, Living Room (154 Ludlow Street (between Stanton and Rivington) 7 PM (212.533.7235 www.livingroomny.com).
Not like the Decemberists at all. Jazzy, somewhat Latin, adult music (AAA format for radio).
That would be this story: http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/nyc/75209305.html
While I don't have a fucked-up parent, I am one. So really, we're all one big family.
70: That's like seven blocks from me. Perhaps I shall go!
most of us on this board have fucked-up parents
That's the thing. I don't really get that sense from this place at all. I just think it isn't very interesting to hear, "Yeah, my parents are fine." So you don't. But, yeah, my parents are fine.
"If this is correct, we will have to pursue the war against terror far beyond the boundaries of the Middle East, into the heart of Western Europe. And there, as in the Middle East, our greatest weapons are political: the demonstrated desire for freedom of the peoples of the countries that oppose us."
A little hyperbole on my part. Ledeen doesn't want to bomb France, but he seriously thinks that they are the enemy and that we should be working for regime change.
Living room is pretty close to me, and it's a nice venue. Perhaps I'll attend.
Wait, the Leeden piece you link to is from 2003. I know years seem shorter as one grows older, but can you really say he just suggested bombing France?
376 9th Street - corner of 6th Avenue in Park Slope
That's like twenty feet from where my sister used to live.
I didn't notice the Ledeen date. It was posted as news somewhere. My bad.
So, when my family came into town, of course they would want to see campus and my room and stuff, right?
Your mom was coming &
She thinks I live in High Springs.
With Mike Rotolante & some other guy named Ned --
I put all of my things out in the garden shed.
I just remember now visiting my son and seeing th box of commons by his bed and having this intense jealousy. After a certain age, guys buy single condoms and carry them around for months "just in case", just like teenagers.
79: It's an avenue block and about 15 street blocks from me, so there's no way I'm shlepping myself out there.
"the box of condoms". Becks style posting.
My parents are liberal hippie types but there's a lot of stuff I just wouldn't tell them -- not because they'd be shocked but because I just don't feel the need to share everything with them. Luckily, neither of them seem inclined to pry.
They were that way when I was a teenager when their attitude was that i) I was free to do pretty much whatever the fuck I liked if my life wasn't actually in danger and ii) if I fucked up and things went wrong for me, that was my problem for being stupid.
For the usual obvious psychological reasons -- there wasn't much to be rebelling against short of joining the army and voting Conservative -- this meant not actually feeling much inclination towards dangerous/impulsive/self-destructive stuff. Unlike my friends with the middle-class authoritarian parents who did stupid stuff and had their parents repeatedly bail them out of trouble.
That said, while my father is an old hippy and a self-described (political) anarchist he's also a working class guy who spent time in the army. He's not really a touchy-feely type of person and I'm sure too much emotional honesty on my part would make us both feel uncomfortable.
I'll give my parents their due: they're way, way less fucked-up than you'd expect, given their own childhood experiences.
Stroll, are you the protagonist of that story?
See, what my mother-in-law was mostly doing was trying to get St. Jude into all the things and places I might make use of in my home because she's one of those folk Catholics for whom saints are basically more powerful and important than God or Jesus. She's really into the power of icons, pictures, fetish-fragments of things. So snooping was an epiphenomenon of her real mission, which was to get me to convert (well, technically, de-lapse) to Catholicism. She snooped because that was how she figured out what to put St. Jude medals into. But neither of us wanted to deal with the collateral hassles that would follow from her dropping St. Jude medals into various naughty and/or private things we had around.
Burke, seriously, are you convinced that she was really into St Jude, and hence had to snoop, instead of being really into snooping, and hence developing a view about the power of icons in order to justify it?
My parents never snoop. They never stay at my house and they just would never do that.
But as kids, my sisters and I went through all the drawers in my parent's bedroom. We knew The Joy of Sex was in my mom's nightstand and the dirty joke books were in my dad's dresser. That was an electric massager, right?
they were pictures of me looking demurely at a flower
We had a poster-sized picture of a topless woman looking at a flower hanging over the TV set. What can I say? It was the early 70s.
See, in my house, from when I was in my early teens, the Joy of Sex was on the living room bookshelf. It wasn't remarked upon and I don't remember it ever being discussed -- we certainly weren't *encouraged* to read it -- but it was there for curious eyes to peer into. I think, although we've never talked about it, that they thought it was better that we be informed and not think of sex as something to be ashamed of.
Lindsay Beyerstein should be called in. Her family was disgustingly sensible about things.
But, yeah, my parents are fine.
Mine too. Liberals, but not at all hippy.
Joy of Sex was on the living room bookshelf.
A friend of mine is raising his children so that they "discover" certain things on their own. When they start wondering about sex, there'll be a talk, but they'll also discover that there's some book like this (not this exactly, but some pretty good source for enquiring young minds) on the shelf, and they'll look at it when their parents aren't around. So they get to do things for themselves and the parents set things up so that they're getting good information as opposed to, well, the kinds of things you'd learn from Unfogged.
How old are his kids, FL? I have a hard time believing that plan is going to last very long.
The oldest is 29, but he's chained up in the basement.
Actually they're pretty young. I'll let you know how it turned out in ten years.
Yeah, that seemed to be the approach. We've never talked about it, so I don't know if there was a design, but that's certainly how it seemed from the 'outside'.
Certainly, when I started bringing girls home my parents were clear that they weren't condoning irresponsibility nor were they condoning deception. If I brought girlfriend home -- when I was still a teenager and living at home -- they were clear that the girls' parents also had to know that she was coming to stay at my place and that we'd be sharing a room. So no lying that she was staying with a girlfriend or sleeping in the (non-existent) spare room.
It was all about freedom but being made sure that I ws aware that freedom also meant being responsible and honest about my actions.
In retrospect it seems like a fairly healthy approach. Certianly, if and when I have children and reach that stage myself there could be worse models.
Bah... that sounds unsufferably smug...
It wasn't meant that way.
You do know I'm from the most violent country in the developed world, right?
Albeit inefficient drunken thuggery using archaic waepons.
"Waepons" should be "hwaepons", of course, in Scots dialect. Not really good spellers either, which may account for the violence.
I think it's healthy for kids to not want to tell their parent's certain things. Kids should chafe just a bit at their parents authority.
I have this plan of being a bit more authoritarian than I really am, so as to channel the rebelliousness. Sooner or later, most kids are going to want to do something solely for the sake of annoying their parents. Do I care about things like a pierced belly button? Hell no. But my daughters don't have to know that. That way when they get older, they can feel like badasses doing relatively harmelss things. And I imagine I'll get a good laugh out of it.
I am in fact sincerely convinced about the St. Jude-convert-my-heathen-son-in-law thing, that this was job #1, with snooping being a sloppy second. This is a woman who could not and still cannot cross a room without kissing, fondling and stroking at LEAST four saints' images and two pictures of Jesus, the really gay looking Sacred Heart ones. This is a woman who at one point was calling me about two to three times a week to ask me to pray with her and to hear the Lord's calling to me. (Lately she just calls me to ask me what I think about Ward Churchill and David Horowitz, about whom she has read in her local extremely conservative newspaper, which is vastly worse in some sort of dirty and disturbing way.) So seriously, I think the getting St. Jude-juice all over my personal possessions was way more important than finding out about the lingerie in our closet.
I recommend painting the walls of your home to match the frescoes of S. Stefano Rotundo.
the really gay looking Sacred Heart ones
From Tim Burke of all people! Color me shocked.
I assume you direct her to Bérubé's site when she asks about Horowitz?
My parents were conservative, but not intrusive. My mother would paint herself a comically innocent picture of her children's lives and mostly not notice dissonance.
Before my wife and I were married, my parents visited our apartment and my mother asked me where my bed was. Pretending to interpret the question as being directed at the object, my single bed, I answered "It's in storage." I guess that more or less settled it. Too easy, huh?
What amazed us is what she must have thought we were up to. To be fair, I had lived with a woman as roomates without there being a relationship. But my mother was literally blind to whatever she didn't want to acknowledge, even when the facts were, by any reasonable standard, bland. My dad just sort of Mr. Bennetted his way through this stuff; not admirable either but I don't know what I'd have done in his place.
Bullets are expensive, and we Scots don't like to spend money if we can help it.
What you call inefficient and archaic we call appreciation of tradition, craft and the staying in touch with the aesthetics of our people.
Although obviously we call it that using shorter less well-spelled words.
The Scotland flag would fit in the Scandinavian series, more or less.
103: For your kids' sake, I hope you're not being too serious. Though that approach sounds a lot better than some others I've seen.
It's weird. When I refresh the page with stuff in the comments box, the stuff in the box stays in the box. But my name doesn't stay in the name field.
Are you using Tom's comment options? Apparently those can interact weirdly with the remember info.
103 kind of reminds me of high school -- I think the reason kids at my Catholic school rebelled less than the kids at the public school wasn't the religion but the uniforms. When untucking your shirt and wearing Doc Martens with your kilt makes you a badass, you don't have to go very far to make a statement.
My options were set to "no" and "bottom", which I suppose are the defaults.
My options were set to "no" and "bottom", which I suppose are the defaults.
At the Mineshaft.
I used to babysit for a young woman—single mother, aged 25 or 26—who worked with my mom. One night she more or less directed my attention to the "second video drawer" before going out. Since she often came home tipsy and always told me that I'd be great for some girl when I was older, I think I rightly assumed that she was preparing me for seduction, and nevertheless managed to maintain my virginity despite everyone's best efforts. The porn drawer was pretty weird.
managed to maintain my virginity
"My own Mom's secret wasn't that we could tell her anything, but that she minded her own business."
Nicely paradoxical: that she minded her own business was a secret, so she pretended to not mind her own business and to be intrusive, which kept secret that she wasn't actually intrusive after all. Clever of her. (Yes, I did understand what you meant; I just like this interpretation more.)
90&91: I was an incredibly snoopy kid; I went through everything of my parents, and I frequently eavesdropped on their conversations, although many of their "conversations" were at top-volume-shouting level; when you're -- at least I'm -- at a single-digit age, and you're deeply convinced and worried that your parents are on their way to divorce (as they were), and greatly fear that you are going to be be pretty much left entirely to fend for yourself, even more than you otherwise felt yourself essentially to be, even though basic food and shelter were certainly provided for, you -- or I -- become as a result incredibly nosy and snoopy as a form of self-protection and overwhelming feeling that you Need To Know so as to anticipate all the oncoming disasters. Add to that that either parent was apt to erupt in screaming rage and utterly unpredictable behavior as a result of pretty much anything (in terms of lack of predictability) and you -- or I -- tend to feel the need to simply collect absolutely as much data as possible so as to be able to at least best predict as much as possible what they're going to do. (One result, a couple of decades after-the-fact; during one of the rare peaceful conversations with my mother before we finally ceased all contact, and one of the only conversations I ever had with her about what my father was like during my childhood, and she was talking about how he lost one of his jobs, counseling adolescents at the Midwood Adolescent Project [where they never talked, they "rapped" with the kids, which had a different meaning in those days, although it was long-since obsolete lingo for actual teens, rather than adults pathetically badly trying To Sound Hip), and I said, "oh, he slept with one of his patients, right?," and she stared at me in utter astonishment, gasped, and said "how did you know?" I didn't answer "because I always knew everything you guys tried to keep secret from me, Mom," but politely said something about having just figured it out, or somesuch. (These skills actually stood me in good stead during the year I was a semi-demi-hemi-pseudo-imitation fake in loco parentis to the 12-year-old daughter of my then lived-with-girlfriend some years ago, whom I broke up with for several reasons (and whom was the only truly serious mistake-of-a-relationship I've ever had as an adult), but one of the largest being that I realized just how horrible she was at being a mother, and simply wound up not being able to stand to be around it, with one piece of behavior being that she would be nightly memorized by playing videogames, and completely oblivious to anything her daughter did, although she was equally oblivious to almost everything her daughter did, so as a result it was me who spent all the time an adult spent with the daughter helping her with her homework, but also me who would nudge girlfriend mom that daughter had crept into the room to watch the tv from the blind spot in the room long after she had supposedly gone to sleep, and in general was completely on to a zillion things the kid was doing that the mom was just oblivious to. Boy, I hope that kid turned out okay; I shook my head when about a year after we split I heard that she was having a kid with the new boyfriend whom she promptly married. Some people just really shouldn't be allowed to have kids.
And I was always insatiably curious about everything in the world, both around me and abstract, anyway. I couldn't possibly say where those two traits, the need-to-know-about-my-parents-for-self-protection, and general insatiable curiosity (if they are two traits) are separable (if they are).
On the other hand, one of the things I am immensely grateful to my parents for is that they were completely open about sexual issues (though this was more a matter of my father being so, and my mother tolerating it). Because he was a (crazy manic-depressive) psychiatric social worker, and she had been a social worker (who later became a counseling "attendence teacher" for the NYC Board of Ed, and then a teacher, and then a reading teacher, and then chair of the Reading Department at Erasamus H.S. in Brooklyn, before retiring), they had a lot of books on psychology on the shelves, and because my father was horny, as well, paperback and hardcover books on shelves I could get at as early as I was reading included Masters & Johnson and Kinsey, texts on physiology, and later Joy of Sex, and everything from crap like David Reuben to better pop books (my mom later had some Nancy Friendly); my dad also left his Playboy's in the magazine holder-thingie; I overheard them discussing once or twice whether I should be allowed to look at them, but nothing much came of it; after the divorce, when I was 13-14, my father would openly ask me if I'd like any to take with me at the end of a visit.
All of which left me well-prepared to be completely non-neurotic, and fairly knowledgeable, when I started having sex at 15. And so far as I can tell, I've always been one of the least sexually neurotic people I've ever known. (Money is what I'm neurotic about, and food spoiling, and a few other interacting-with-people things -- sex, not at all.)
So I give them credit for that. Oh, and there was only one time that they ever took a book away from me, and that's when I was `9-10, and was sitting in the living room reading Portnoy's Complaint during a dinner party; I'm absolutely convinced that the only reason it happened was because it was in front of their friends. The only other even remotely comparable situation was when my father, who would occasionally borrow a few of my extensive collection of hundreds of paperback books, when I was age 8-13, and he was out of things to read, borrowed a copy of Bob Silverberg's Up The Line, which had a lot of uses of the word "fuck" and a lot of fucking and talk about tits and the like in it, and he had a brief conversation with me (I was 9 or 10, I think) as to whether I understood all that, and what did I think; he was satisfied that I did understand it all, and had no problems at all with anything, and that was that.
So, anyway, good on them for that, at least.
Unsuprisingly, I'm pretty dubious about knee-jerk assumptions that kids have to be "protected" from information/pictures/text/movies, although I stress the word knee-jerk there; certainly different kids are ready for different sorts of imagery at different ages, and one has to know them as individuals to have a good sense of what might frighten or greatly upset them.
When I started sleeping over at my 23-year-old girlfriend's apartment when I was 15, before I moved out after a few months, my mom wasn't happy, and even less when I started staying away for multiple days at a time, but, as I previously said, I'd long stopped paying attention to anything she'd tell me not to do, if I sufficiently disagreed with her. I had earlier made a couple of attempts to have conversations with her about certain issues, including issues of sexuality, but she rode over what I tried to say with comments like "oh, I never worried about that with you," and other forms of literally talking over what I was trying to say, which made clear to me that she Didn't Want To Hear Anything about Those Topics, so I gave up trying.
I did get a strong confirming clue as to what was typical of the way the rest of my biological family both thought of me then, and continued to think of me thereafter, when I overheard my mother explaining to my aunt-who-lived-upstairs in the (small) two-family house (we rented from my mom's brother; always a source of some tension, as was the fact that we were the poorest family in the larger family, due to my father's inability to keep a job, and that when he did have money and was in a manic phase, he's spend it profligately, like on buying a catamaran sailboat when we were scraping for food to eat) that I was, at 15, sleeping with my 23-year-old girlfriend, and my aunt exclaimed (oddly, this was memorable): "what's wrong with her?!? Is she deformed?"
Yeah, thanks for that, Aunt Rosalind. lt couldn't have been that I was incredibly mature, smart, charming, funny, perceptive, wise, and that people constantly mistook me for being ten years older than I was; no, my girlfriend had to be deformed to be interested in me....