Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Dear Spike:

I don't usually think much about the lyrics in the songs we listen to on the radio. I don't usually have to.

We generally tune in to pretty tame stuff. 1960s and 70s rock. Elton John and Neil Diamond. Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. The Beatles, Beach Boys and Monkees.

I know that doesn't say much for our musical sophistication, but that's perhaps a discussion for another day. The point I mean to make today is we don't usually have to worry too much about explaining to you lyrics with adult words or subjects.

Then, today, The Piña Colada Song came on. Technically, I suppose, it's called "Escape," but the lyric that everyone remembers is "if you like piña coladas..."

That, of course, is followed by, "... and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga. If you have half a brain.
If you like making love at midnight..."

"Eeeeeewwwwww!" you shrieked. "Daddy! Did you hear what he said?"

So many things went through my mind in that moment.

How did you know what making love was? Who told you? What did they tell you? How much of what they told you was correct? What was the context for this discussion? Was it a kid who told you or an adult? If it was a kid was I going to have to have a conversation with his or her parents? If it was an adult... what the hell?

OK, I thought, this is not the worst thing in the world. We were going to have to have this conversation anyway. She's eight years old now. That's plenty old enough to have the good old birds and bees talk. Except there's no way we're actually going to talk about birds and bees. We're just going to get her mom in here and sort of lay down the facts of life. Nothing to it. Just play it cool. Ease into it...

"Oh yeah," I said cooly. "That's kind of a naughty thing to sing a song about, huh?"

As soon as I said "naughty" I regretted my words.

You stupid jerk, I told myself. You don't want her first conversation with you about sex to start with the idea that it's something naughty! You're going to have to walk that back. Explain to her that you misspoke. Tell her that no, in fact, making love is not a naughty thing. It's not something for children, of course, but that doesn't make it naughty. Yeah. That'll work. But wait... maybe she didn't notice. No, of course she noticed. If she's astute enough to hear that lyric then she certainly understands that you just said it was naughty. OK, maybe just wait a moment and see how she responds...    

"I know!" you said. "Making out at midnight! That's so gross!"

And this ends the story of the first conversation we ever had about sex, but didn't.