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Friday 19 July 2013
For those of us who live in the UK and listen to Women's Hour, hearing the full technical terms for female genitalia on Radio 4 at 10.15 in the morning is quite normal. It is another one of those differences between us and our American cousins. Laura nearly fell off her chair when words like "labia" and "vagina" were thrown around with gay abandon by the inestimable Jenni Murray.
We talked about religion a lot and the difference between parenting teenagers in the US and the UK. I think G arriving back from a camping party at 7.30 am - no, there was no parents staying up all night to patrol and the boys and girls weren't billeted separately - was an eye-opener. The drink thing is another vast difference. Here in the UK, and on the Continent, there is not such a big deal about alcohol. Whilst I do admit that binge drinking is a major problem in the UK, I do sometimes wonder if it is because we have an 18 rule for buying and consuming alcohol. In Italy, I believe it is 14.
G has gone off to a festival for 4 days and is camping with a load of friends, some boys, some girls. She is very keen to camp with one boy, not because she fancies him or is in love with him, but because he has brought a paddling pool to the Festival and it is very hot here.
I am well aware of the risks of being too laid back about all these raging teenage hormones and the consequences. I am also aware that the more I say No, the higher the "Sod You" temptation to try it anyway.
It is never easy being a parent. You never get it right all the time. I am glad that I live in a country where "clitoris" is a non-remarkable word at 10.15 am on a Wednesday and I admit to quite enjoying the look on Laura's face.....