Life, Love, And Lube: The Youth Group Flashback — 2

Slip-n-Slide.JPGAs I've already indicated, growing up in a South Texas youth group adds considerable confusion to the normal adolescent yearnings. It was probably in the spirit of answering those yearnings that, when I was in high school, our youth minister — an unnervingly energetic man in his early 30s with a wife and kids — arranged for our youth group to go on a weekend retreat wherein we would follow curriculum provided by the folks at True Love Waits. For those who didn't grow up in either the South or Colorado Springs, True Love Waits is an organization dedicated to keeping Christian teens from screwing their brains out like their hormones are telling them to. (For what it's worth, I have no idea if the program actually works; the teens I knew who actually left high school with their virginities intact did so out of circumstance, not a higher moral calling. Teens think about sex, food, and sex.) So anyway, we all piled in a van — this time careful not to touch each other — and headed to a dirt-blasted waste of a campground in the middle of nowhere. One evening, the youth minister and his wife held a kind of panel session, where we, the sexually inexperienced, could submit anonymous questions to them, the sexually knowledgable. Many of the questions were pretty predictable: One guy (it had to be a guy) asked about the moral/spiritual implications of, um, onanistic pursuits, to which the youth minister, not wanting to start a mutiny, gave his grudging and qualified approval. But eventually things got downright weird. I don't remember how the subject came up; it was 10 years ago, and to be honest, I've done a fair amount of work to bury specific moments like this one. But at one point the youth minister began to wax poetic about the kind of unforced errors that can plague recently married couples who, either from having grown up in somewhat conservative households or just out of a reluctance to do a little research beforehand, find themselves in a bit of a wedding-night pickle. On the topic of lube — and it was here that my fragile teen mind began to crumble under the unfortunate weight of the mental image of my youth minister and his wife in coital repose — my youth minister cautioned us not to use too much, or else things might "become like a Slip N Slide." I believe he even extended his arms briefly when making this joke, much like the guy in the photo above, though that detail could just be my subconscious screwing with me. It's happened before. Anyway, what little information I'd managed to retain from the disastrous Q&A went pretty much straight to hell because all I could see was my youth minister and his wife in what had to have been a small kiddie pool's worth of KY. The rest of the night was pretty much a wash, too. The girls in the group gravitated toward my youth minister's wife and began sharing their own horror stories from the private hell that must be the female puberty experience (not that the male side of things is a cakewalk, but still, everyone knows we got off way light). The girls invaded the cabin that had been assigned to the boys and began to sit around and have a lengthy confessional in which they each talked about their individual tales of getting their periods in the school cafeteria, etc., as if finding the horrible remnants of their burgeoning womanhood smeared into a tacky paste on their seats was like any other story worthy of cocktail-party reminiscence. The other guys and I stood outside for what felt like hours, throwing the football in the crisp evening and wondering when the hell they would tire of their mutual shame circle and let us go to bed. He and his wife left a few years later.