You can talk about Gwyneth Paltrow’s return to Glee, but for me, last night’s episode was all about Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley) once again proving why he’s the heart of this show. If you missed the sex talk he had with his gay son Kurt (Chris Colfer), watch it below. I don’t have kids, but should I ever need to have “the talk” with one, I hope I’d do it as eloquently and with as much empathy. He went to the free clinic to get gay-specific pamphlets that covered the mechanics, but more importantly, he spoke to Kurt about the emotional side of sex. Women, he said, understand that there is one, while men are more likely to think of it as just something fun to do. “With two guys, you got two people who think that sex is just sex. It’s gonna be easier to come by. And once you start doin’ this stuff, you’re not gonna wanna stop,” Burt said. “You gotta know that it means something. It’s doing something to you, to your heart, to your self-esteem — even though it feels like you’re just havin’ fun.” Kurt thought this was his dad’s way of telling him to not have sex. It wasn’t. “Kurt, when you’re ready, I want you to be able to … do everything. But when you’re ready, I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person. Don’t throw yourself around like you don’t matter. ‘Cause you matter, Kurt.” That’s not a new sentiment, but somehow, O’Malley made it sound like a truth and not a sermon. It was more understated than, say, Mary Jo Shively’s moving plea for condoms in school on Designing Women, but I’d also argue even more touching because it was personal, and coming from a father who means it when he tells his child he wants him to be happy. He wants him to experience love because he’s worthy of it.
How did your sex education compare to what we saw last night on Glee? I had several flashbacks after watching the episode:
1. I don’t recall ever actually having “the talk” with one of my parents, but I remember the boys and girls being separated and shown some movie in grade school, which I think I did tell my mother about afterward. I had a health class in, I want to say, the eighth grade, but I never got the condom-on-the-banana lecture I’ve seen in TV and movies. Am I the only one who missed out on that right of passage? I’m 35, in case this is an age thing.
2. I’d think the idea of a teen opening up to a teacher about sex was crazy if I and a couple of other girls hadn’t asked our young metal shop teacher what oral sex was during study hall in the seventh grade because they didn’t agree with me that it must be when you talk about sex. I remember his face turning white, then him calmly asking us, “Do you girls really want to know?” I assume he told us because I’ve blocked out what he said next. Mortifying.
3. I think most of my sex ed came in senior-year Calculus. We’d divide into groups of four all the time, and it was me (valedictorian), my best friend (salutatorian), a girl who went on to work at NASA, and another smart girl who was sexually active. So NASA girl would quickly do the actual work, teach us calc, and then we’d spend the rest of class quizzing the fourth girl on her sex life. Good times.