The Secrets of Womankind

Chaos in Print

Being a person who has never had a girlfriend, I have done a few crazy things to find out more about women. (And if that opening line doesn’t grab you, I don’t know what will.) Sure, I have several close friends who happen to be women, but I’m certain that they must get a little embarrassed when I start asking questions that were best covered in The Vagina Monologues. Working in a such a female-dominated workplace might seem like a perfect opportunity to study the opposite sex, but I’m just too much of a professional to let my personal questions take control of my work. And I’m at the age where going to my mother would just be weird. Things would be so much easier if I had a girlfriend, because then I’d just ask her, and hopefully, she’d put up with my scientific curiosity because she loves me. But until that day, I’m left exploring other avenues.

One of those other avenues is always glaring me in the face at work. Since my workplace is a typical grocery store, the checkout lines are crowded with magazine racks, filled with publications that cater to the modern woman. As I’m doing my supervisory patrols, I am often looking at magazines with the titles Marie Claire, Redbook, Seventeen, Glamour, Flare, and Cosmopolitan. The headlines scream at me: “75 Sex Tips to Leave Both of You Satisfied.” “Are you a diva? Take our quiz!” “Hot colors for whatever time of the year they are appropriate for.” As I’m trying to organize the candy racks, I find myself coming under the come hither stares of several super-models. Surely, buried within those pages, must be the secrets of womankind.

But as much as I want to know the secrets, nothing ever compelled me to buy one of those publications until recently. It was about a month ago when I first saw it on the shelf. It was the March issue of Cosmopolitan, with the always-enjoyable Cameron Diaz on the cover. When I was done checking out the always-enjoyable Cameron Diaz, my gaze wandered over to one of the headlines on the cover. It was a small headline, pushed off to the corner of the cover. It was even done up in a dark font, so it wouldn’t stick out as much as the others. The headline was “The Last Sex Taboo (and why you’ll love breaking it).” I had seen several similar headlines before, but something about this one latched on to my curiosity. What is the last sex taboo? Are there any left? I initially shrugged it off and went back to work.

The hours went on. The hours turned into days. The days turned into weeks. And every hour of every day of every week, I would find myself facing the always-enjoyable Cameron Diaz, standing next to that question and guarding the answer. It was starting to gnaw at me. If there’s one thing my scientific curiosity has cursed me with, it’s a desire to know the answers. What is that last sex taboo? My imagination began to overflow with all kinds of images that words fail to describe. But were any of those images true? I needed to know. Through all of this, there was the always-enjoyable Cameron Diaz, calling to me from the cover of Cosmo. I can get pretty obsessed when I need to know. After this had gone on for about three weeks, I knew what I had to do to get my knowledge. So, as I was coming back from the deli section with a fresh chicken salad sandwich for lunch, I casually reached out and grabbed that magazine off of the shelf. I had given in to the always-enjoyable Cameron Diaz, probably in the same way that Adam gave in to the always-enjoyable Eve when she gave him a slice of apple. I bought that issue of Cosmo.

Luckily for me, this was the early afternoon. The middle-aged cashier didn’t bat an eyelash. Had it been one of the teenagers, I’m sure I would have been in for some mocking (and they’re probably going to do it anyway, after they read this). I retreated to the back office to have my lunch and finally learn what the last sex taboo was. I sat in the chair behind the desk, opened up my sandwich, and began flipping through the pages. I was searching in vain for the knowledge that had eluded me when I heard the jingle of keys in the lock. Someone was coming into the office. I slammed the magazine shut and thrust it under some papers. I picked up my sandwich and tried to look engrossed in my lunch when the store manager walked in. He walked over to the computer, took a look at the morning’s sales figures, then announced to me that he was going out for lunch. I said good-bye to him, and when he was gone, I pulled out the magazine and once again looked for my answers. Just as I was about to find the right page, I again heard the jingle of keys in the lock. Again I hid the magazine. In walked one of my fellow supervisors, coming in early to get a jump on the paperwork. Something told me that I would not be learning my answers right away. I had been waiting three weeks, a few more hours would not kill me. I finished my sandwich and, secure that my magazine would not be found, went back to work. When my shift ended a few hours later, I grabbed my magazine, casually tucked it under my arm, and casually walked to my car.

A half-an-hour later, I was home. Finally, some peace and quiet to myself, free from interruption, to learn about this last sex taboo. I walked through the front door and, much to my dismay, my mother came rushing to greet me. She asked the standard questions, “How did your day go? Anything exciting happen?” I answered her questions while secretly wishing that she would go away before noticing the magazine tucked under my arm. But, it was not to be. She noticed it, saw the title, and simply said, “Cosmo? Oh, Mark.” She walked away from me, visibly shaken, and I was ashamed, too. Surely, had I come home with alcohol on my breath or if it was a nickel bag tucked under my arm, Mom could have dealt with it. But her son, a Cosmo reader? I am sure that, at that point, my mother was truly disappointed in me. I put the magazine down in my room and I spent the evening watching Star Trek and making pointless pop culture musings out loud in a desperate attempt to prove to her that I was still her son. We have yet to speak of the incident. Yes, I was about to learn my answer, but at what cost?

That evening, after the parents had gone to bed, after I had checked my evening news websites, and after I had replied to the e-mail that demanded replies, it was time to learn my answer. I turned out my lights, turned on my bedside lamp, and crawled into bed. Now, completely free of interruptions, I was going to learn what this last sex taboo was. My quest for knowledge was about to end. I flipped it open to the correct page, and I was…disappointed. The last sex taboo was something I had always been aware of and something that I’ve already been working at. I had been taunted by the always-enjoyable Cameron Diaz for weeks for this? I had concealed things from my coworkers and alienated myself from my mother for this little page-long factoid? Well, it’s time for me to do some community service. I’m going to save yourself the humiliation I endured and $5 I wasted to get my answer. People of the world, this is the last sex taboo and how to break it.

Ladies, tell your man how to pleasure you.

That’s it. That’s all. The taboo is telling your man how to pleasure you. Of course, the article it padded with how to break this taboo, mainly ways to slip it into conversation. I mean, THAT’S IT?? The last sex taboo is simple verbal communication? Jeez, then I can’t imagine the hell I’ve put my female friends through when I’ve asked my questions. If it’s the last sex taboo, then the uncomfort! The shame! After each and every one of those conversations, they must have walked away thinking I was some kind of pervert because here I was, talking about it. My God, talking about sex is the last sexual taboo! Here I am, the virgin, counting on a woman to tell me how to pleasure her when the day comes. When it happens, it’d be nice if at least one of us knows what we’re doing. Little did I know that such an attitude was making me a sexual deviant, and the only way we can all be happy is if I swing others over to my way of thinking.

What the hell is wrong with society? Here we are, men and women, two haves of the human race, and we can’t even sit down and talk to each other about the most intimate act we do together. When did this communications breakdown first begin? When did men and women stop being human beings and start segregating themselves along the mechanics of reproduction? C’mon people! What stops boyfriends and girlfriends from talking to each other about what they do when they turn the lights out? This is nuts! Why can’t we talk to each other?

Here’s what we have to do to fix what’s wrong with society this week. Ladies, gentlemen, I want you to take that special someone, snuggle up to him or her on the couch, and talk. Have a meaningful conversation with that person! The best way to learn the secrets of the opposite sex is to talk to the member of the opposite sex you hold in high accord. Why do we need magazines to tell us the obvious? Ladies, gentlemen, I implore you, talk to each other. There’s nothing I hate more than having to state the obvious, except having it stated to me.

The big question on my mind now is what the hell to do with that issue of Cosmo. After I got my knowledge, I couldn’t help but read a few more of the articles. I will admit that some of the stories about bizarre sexual habits of ex-boyfriends have been a great primer in what not to do, but other than that, I didn’t learn any big secrets today. I’ve now read enough sex tips to last a lifetime. The interview with the always-enjoyable Cameron Diaz was enjoyable. After taking the quiz, I learned that I simply like my female friends, and I’m not in love with any of them. I still don’t know what my butt says about me, as they neglected to mention my body type. So, yeah. I know what I needed to know. Now, the seductive eyes of the always-enjoyable Cameron Diaz have turned into a questioning gaze, as if she’s asking, “Sooo, now what?” It’s like an awkward morning after. Sometimes the magazine is in my drawer. Sometimes, it’s under my mattress. But I do know I have to get rid of it soon, as some of the perfume-sample-soaked pages are starting to make me sneeze.

I haven’t learned any more about women that I didn’t already know. They still remain this somewhat mysterious race that I hope to learn more about some day. I think I’ll stick to the traditional avenues to learn about them. I’ll occasionally poke my head up from my cash register to look at my coworkers. I’ll continue asking my questions of my female friends until they get sick of me. I still won’t go to my mother, though. That’ll always be too damn weird. But then again, I see the new issue of Cosmo‘s out, and they have a quiz on how to tell if your man is good in bed. Being a virgin, I’ve always wanted to know how I’d rank…. God, I need a girlfriend.

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