International Sex Ed
For a few weeks now, we’d been bringing the chicks outside for some fresh air every day. All the neighbor-children have visited the chicks, some have visited more than once. Our Somali neighbors came over with their mom, and as we chatted, she commented that we must have one hen and one rooster.
I explained to her that you don’t actually need a rooster to have eggs (“Ah, no?” she asked in a skeptical manner), and that was just fine by us, seeing as roosters are illegal to keep within city limits.
Clearly, her husband thought she must have misunderstood us, because yesterday he had a conversation with the Consort about it. I went out to check on them (we’ve set up a little outdoor spot for them under one of the gooseberry bushes) and heard the following:
“Well, it’s like humans: a woman has an egg every month, right? But that doesn’t mean she’s going to get pregnant every month…”
And that’s when I scurried inside, not wanting to be anywhere near that conversation. Now, I have no doubt that my Somali neighbors understand the facts of life. But I’m not too sure that they think about it as a woman having an egg, you know? That seems more clinical and less likely to be the way they talk about it at home. Let’s just say, that isn’t the tack I would have taken in explaining nonfertile egg laying in backyard chickens to my African friends.
Later, the Consort confided that his explanation didn’t convince K of chicken facts of life.
Consort: Well, it’s like humans: a woman has an egg every month, right? But that doesn’t mean she’s going to get pregnant every month.
K: (Probably thinking, “Ha! Is that what his wife told him? That she lays an egg?? These Americans, they are so weird.)
Consort: So the chickens can lay eggs, but without a rooster. And the egg just won’t have a baby.
Consort: You see?
K: (Speaking slowly, to make sure the Consort is following.) Yes, but the baby comes from the egg.
Consort: (Joking.) Yeah, well, American eggs don’t have to have a baby!
K: Yes, in America, it’s crazy! Yesterday I was watching a show on the television about a man who wanted to be a lady, and in America they have doctors who changed him into a lady, and now he is PREGNANT! I do not understand Americans.