Volume 74, Number 9 | June 30 - July 6, 2004


I am chick lit: Incident at P.S. 41 rocks my world

By Jenny Klion

Oh My God! Stop the presses! Important revelations have come to pass! Despite the seemingly endless array of contemporary female-friendly novels, stories, memoirs, essays and other forms of written entertainment available for purchase wherever books are sold, there’s no need to shop any further. According to L.A. Frannie, I am the real thing. Yes, Frannie believes that I, J. K., am chick lit itself.

I guess I must have made about eight calls to my best girlfriend that day, most of which were devoted to my latest domestic love & sex challenge, sparked into play by a hearsay incident at the P. S. 41 playground. Wait — I’m not talking about the recent moment when I finally ran into Edgy (special thanks to my insightful, delightful work neighbor for shortening the Greek’s previous moniker, i.e., Edgy Lover.). He was linked at the elbows with his new hot (not!) girlfriend and the dude merely nodded to me in acknowledgement of my greeting. Despite the fact that I was carrying a plastic container of bugs from my garden (don’t ask), I couldn’t help but freeze, mouth agape and watch the two (and their dog), walk away, right past the turkey man at the end of the farmer’s market row on Hudson and 12th Sts. (O.K., Edgy did finally stop and brief introductions were endured by all, but… WHATEVER!)

No, I’m not talking about that particular humiliation as my latest domestic love & sex challenge. Nor am I referring to my chick-lit-esque-type rejection from makeover-worthy status at “Vigor” magazine. (In fact, young Misty wanted to know how I’d been able to track down her e-mail address. “Uh, YOU GAVE IT TO ME!” I responded.) And finally, I promise I’m not dialoguing about my most recent summer stunner either, wherein I was literally run down by an oblivious bike rider at the corner of 12th St. and Greenwich Ave.! (“Don’t let it change who you want to be,” suggested a not-so-innocent bystander afterwards.) Now that hurt!

Instead, the cathartic incident I am referring to revolves around the fact that Judy’s mother’s helper, the sophisticated and lovely 15-year-old Alexandra, was seen kissing her new adorable, curly-haired, seriously young looking boyfriend in the P.S. 41 playground after school last week. To be fair, Alex did later tell me that some third grader was being mean to everyone that day, and it was he who made them do it. And though I chewed on that clarification for several hours afterwards, suffice it to say that Judy’s mutually agreed-upon bedtime story that night was entitled, “How You Were Born.”

Perhaps 20 years ago, when the world was still documented in black and white, it might have been sufficient pedagogy to jump from a picture/description of an egg and a sperm to, and I quote, “When they join together, a special cell is formed.” But that night, in living color, the real question remained, and Judy put it quite pithily when she wondered aloud, “But how do the sperm and egg join together?”

My mother never told me how to make a baby, though she denies this notion vehemently. As I remember it, at a youthful 3 or 4, I was sitting in on my (much) older sister’s sex talk. Family history takes over at this point, however, and insists I soon ran out of the room screaming, “Eeew — blood!” (And that was the whole of my sex education.)

Ne’ertheless, Judy is testament to the fact that I’ve since learned how babies are made, and now it’s my turn to pass the torch, so to speak. That memorable night, upon Judy’s nonstop prodding, she and I discussed kissing and touching, breasts and hair, bleeding and feeling good, pregnancy and avoidance of pregnancy. At the end, exhausted yet riding the tide, proud of my night’s accomplishments, I was nontheless relieved to finally recite an ol’ parental stand-by: “But you’re not old enough for any of this yet, Judy.”
“That’s good,” she sighed.


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