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Pickle Me This

May 25, 2005

I let my girl have s-x at 11, admits mother

An excellent article on the strange relationship based on fear of grand conspiracy that most people have with political correctness. Marcus Brigstocke writes, “not everything that happens to us that we don’t like is because political correctness has gone mad. Some of it is because things need changing. Brace yourself – but some of the old ideas that we call “traditions” are rubbish.” And this article observes with acuity that perhaps low-cost books in supermarkets are not democratising literature, because most of the books are cookbooks and crap. Alice Munro has achieved enough for one lifetime.

According to this article, tabloids are the information gateways of choice for most British people. I am horrified. Especially since this family are the most sensational news item to sweep Britain since Happy Slapping. Mum’s three daughters get pregnant within a month, and the youngest is 12. She blames the government and lack of sex education at school, as you would. But she is proud of her daughters. Alright. I am tired of prams being the accessory of choice for teenagers, teenage pregnancy glamourised in the media (though admittedly not in the Daily Mail, but in those trashy women’s magazine’s printed on newsprint with articles like “I had a baby at 10 but my mum supported me” and “How I survived marriage to a knife-wielding maniac). I have recently become an expert on all of this. Yesterday I went to an NHS walk-in clinic to see if I could get a prescription for the pill. Unfortunately, they told me, they couldn’t and I needed to be registered with a GP for that. However, at 25 I just barely qualified for a contraceptive service for young people, and I could go to their clinic at 4:00 and they could hook me up. Fair enough, I thought. Stuart came with me, and there were three school girls in uniform walking up the street toward us as we entered. “I guess they’re going too,” he joked. They were. I was the oldest person in that room by a good decade, and the place was crawling with babies, going to show some had learned their lessons the hard way. The average age in the clinic was 14 years old, and maybe younger. I was handed a form that requested me to fill in what school I went to, and I decided this was way too much so I left. I’m glad these girls are being responsible, I guess, but there is nothing responsible about having sex at that age. And probably these girls were the minority and most don’t plan so far ahead. It’s a no-win situation. I think these clinics make young people think that pre-teen sex is normal, even socially acceptable but yet shutting them down would make the problem worse. I hope all those ugly awkward adolescents who no one wants to have sex with yet realise how lucky they are.

Now reading “Park and Ride” by Miranda Sawyer, a fascinating pop culture romp into British suburbia. It even comes with its own website! I am currently residing in British suburbia for the first time, and so enjoying Sawyer’s insights into fitted wardrobes, The Trafford Shopping Centre and Preston, the most average town in Britain, all of which I’ve had contact with this week.

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