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Ask A Gym Teacher Who Got Stuck Teaching Sex Ed

Dear Gym Teacher Who Got Stuck Teaching Sex Ed,

While at a dinner party recently, I spilled red wine all over my neighbors' expensive white couch. I've offered many times to pay to have it re-upholstered, but they won't accept any money. I know they're trying to be gracious, but I can't stop thinking about how klutzy I was until they allow me to make amends. What do you suggest?

—Embarassed in El Paso

Dear Embarassed,

All right, people. Are we all ready to go? Okay, then. Let's get down to the task at hand. Puberty is a very special time in a young person's life. It's a time of great change. A young person will begin to experience many new and different feelings. They'll have hormones—new magical hormones—which come from glands. Plus, they'll grow hair. Hair on the... body, and they'll need to know... Ah, never mind. Let's cut to the chase and take a look at the wall charts. This right here, that's what would be called a reproductive system. Does anyone know what a system is? Well, let me tell you. It's a team—a team made up of organs. Everything works together, and just as a football team has a tight end and a quarterback, the organs and parts have their own special jobs to do. For example, take a look inside the scrotal sac. Is everyone still with me here?

Dear Gym Teacher Who Got Stuck Teaching Sex Ed,

My best friend is Queen Of The Slow-pokes! I hate arriving anywhere late, but every time we go to a social event together, the two of us always trail in last. Should I just grin and bear the disapproving glances, or can I let the host know the delay wasn't my fault?

—Tardy in Tampa Bay

Dear Tardy,

Okay, this one's a doozy—the female's menstrual cycle. Now, the only ones who get this menstruation, or "menses," are the females, or "girls" or "women." Oh, you knew that already, Hughes? I'll bet you did. Maybe you should be teaching this class, then. Okay, settle down, everyone. I said settle down! Now, this funny-looking football-shaped thing right here is a uterus. And this thing below it is a... Let me just see what that says... the faltopia tubes... fallopian tubes. Right. That's where your egg or ova—write that down, O-V-A—is gonna travel down on the way to the... Let's see. What the heck does that one say? The words sure aren't very clear. Hold on, folks. Um, we got your female cervix right there, but what's that say after the "u"? Oh, wait, I got it. It's the "urethra." Is something funny about the word urethra, Hughes? Are you paying attention, or are you entertaining your friends? Now, where was I? Okay. The pelvic cavity.

Dear Gym Teacher Who Got Stuck Teaching Sex Ed,

A new employee has turned our office into a fashion show! There's always a crowd around her discussing her new shoes or expensive purse. I'm not about to suggest we have a company dress code, but it seems like nothing is getting done around here. What would you suggest?

—Irked In Indianapolis

Dear Irked,

Okay, crew. So basically, then, after the sperm is produced in the testes, it moves into something called the epididymis. What's that, Severson? Oh, it's spelled T-E-S-T... Well, it's in the textbook. Then the sperm mixes with the seminal and prostatic fluids to form semen, which is propelled into the urethra and discharged from the external genitalia. The end. Now that you know the mechanics of everything, I suppose you want to know how it all works between a man and a woman, what the big deal is. Well, uh, it's sort of like when two birds decide they want to lay some eggs. Or, scoring a touchdown in the big game, or when something special happens. Well, you know what I mean. Are there any questions? On second thought, let's forget the questions. Just open your Health books to chapter 11 and read silently in your seats for the rest of the period.

Gary Fenske is a middle-school physical-education teacher whose weekly syndicated advice column, Ask A Gym Teacher Who Got Stuck Teaching Sex Ed, appears in more than 250 papers nationwide.

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