We got into Detroit last night and my niece was having a slumber party to celebrate her 9th birthday. I like this niece. She’s sassy, smart, athletic and an absolute devil child. She and I share Solstice birthdays so we have an affinity.

Naturally, Sailor man and I jumped into the fray and raised the ruckus level to an appropriate decibel to which I am sure my brother and sister in law dully appreciated.

However, I was eventually taken prisoner by this gaggle of girls and sequestered in the uppermost reaches of the castle tower for intense interrogation. Waterboarding may or may not have been threatened, the details remain fuzzy. I held strong although they threatened every weapon in their arsenal including the constant singing of Hannah Montana songs and wriggling of the loathed and wretched Bratz dolls. But I must admit, I faltered once they found the chink in my naturally dense armor:

“Why do girls have periods?”

“Why does my sister’s boy friends shove their tongues in her mouth when they kiss?”

“What do you do when a boy is always punching you at school?”

Agggghhh! Whhhaaahhh? Help!!!!! Door. So. Far. Must. Signal. Help. Questions. Very. Troublesome. Losing. Consciousness……

But I didn’t want to be that person. Feminism means telling the truth about what it is to be female no matter how uncomfortable the telling may be. So as abso-freakin-lutely mortified as I was at that moment, I was an adult with their attention and they were asking for answers so I dove in.

“Women have periods because life is horribly unfair, but men are afraid of periods, so you must learn to use that to your advantage in the future. It also has something to do with procreation and for that I insist you ask your mother.”

“Boys sometimes put their tongues in girls mouth because it can feel good, that or they are trying to help her get something out from between her teeth.”

“For the boy who always punches you, make sure you work in two: bigger girl in front, smaller girl in back. Smaller girl crouch low behind the boy, bigger girl pushes hard. Boy falls down. Problem solved. (paused for a five minute practice with all the girls in the room followed by a lecture about how it is never okay for boys to hit girls and that the important strike zones on the male body are the nose, throat, and when all else fails a swift kick to the side of the knee because I don’t care how big you are-you’re going down). ”

At this point, I managed to confuzzle my captors long enough to escape the confines of the Dark Tower and seek refuge in the living room where Sailor Man, who obviously exhausted after having spent long hours seeking to negotiate my release, was asleep on the couch with the dog.  

We made peace eventually, over ice cream cake and soda, and huddled up with the Gaggle of Girls to swear the eternal Secret Oath of Las Vegas Silence (way stonger than the Mafia Omerta, trust me), and then Sailor Man and I journeyed back to the neighborhood of my youth where we imbibed much alcohol to recover from our injuries.

A fair start to a what will obviously be a loooooong weekend.

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