August 15, 2012

Let's talk about sex, baby.

With my portable cassette player in hand, I walked through the house singing along with my latest favorite song: “I knew a girl named Nikki, I guess you could say she was a sex fiend. I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine.”

“What did you just say?!”

Mama was standing straight as a board, her hands submerged in soapy water at the kitchen sink. Her eyes stabbed me.

I pressed the stop button on the cassette player and asked, “What?”

“What did you just say?”

“Nothing, I was singing.”

“What did you just sing?”

Thankfully her hands remained in the sink.

“Prince,” I answered. “The song about Nikki.”

“Play it back,” she demanded.

I pressed the button with the two arrows pointing to the left for a couple seconds as the machine whined a bit, then pressed the play button again.

…met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a…

“Stop it!” Mama snapped, her tone forcing me to press the stop button. “That word! What does it mean?!”

Mama’s face was getting tighter and I knew she wasn’t happy with me.

“You sing it to me,” she said, dropping her shoulders and looking back into the sudsy water.

“I knew a girl named Nikki I guess you could say she was a sex fiend. I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating…”

“That’s the word!”


“What does it mean?” she asked, her hands diving in and out of the water.

I looked down at the black cassette player and pressed the eject button. The cassette door popped open and I took out the white cassette.

via google imagies

"Why don’t you look it up in the dictionary?”

“Oh mama, I don’t wanna! Can’t you just tell me what it means?”

“Christina,” she spat in her thick German accent, sounding more like Greasetina rather than Christina. “Get the dictionary.”


I opened the junk drawer in the cabinet I was standing next to and found a fat, red-covered paperback book with tan pages that I fanned through.

“I don’t see it.”

“Give me the book.” She dried her hands on a towel, tossed it on the counter, and stretched out her open hand.

“It’s M. A. S. T. YOU.”  She pointed down at a word while handing the book back.

“It says ‘to practice masturbation’.”

“OK look up that word.”

I found the word and read the definition which included words like “erotic” and “genital organs” and "orgasm”. Words that were hard for me, at 12, to figure out how to say let alone read aloud… especially to my mother.

“If you don’t know what the word means, don’t use it,” Mama said, feverishly washing the dishes again.

I’m not sure when the definition finally clicked for me; I just couldn’t seem to wrap my head around how Nikki would masturbate with a magazine.

Such simple times.


  1. Loved it. So amusing. I also knew a girl named nikki and loved to sing about her at about the same age. i miss prince... or being 14. ;)

    1. heh. :) i finally got to see Prince live in concert about four years ago or so- he was AMAZING. and tiny. his gotta be The sexiest un-manly man i've ever seen. ;)

  2. Oh, how embarrassed you must have been! And wow, what a lesson...

    1. haha it was pretty embarrassing- but not until i truly realized what it meant. i mean, i knew it had to do with sex but yeah. fun, fun times. :D

  3. LOL. Embarrassing but amusing! I love the second to last line. It made me choke on my coffee. HAHAHAHAHA.

    1. :) it's one of my favorite memories from that time in my life... and yeah, it's a memory that reminds me often how literal kids take things. :D

  4. Love this post! I used to sing Voulez vous couchez avec moi, ce soir (by Lady Marmalade) at the top of my voice too well before I had the French skills to realize It meant will you have sex with me tonight! Thanks for brining back the memory!

  5. I was a little fascinated with that song too. My mom would have killed me if she heard me singing it. Great post!

  6. Great story. Those song lyrics will get you in trouble every time. My 6 YO loves that Ke$ha song and would run around singing "it's a dirty free-for-all". That's when I had to start listening to talk radio instead.

  7. Christina, I love your new header; very cool! And this post is very well done; I like the spare style and how you suffer through these tedious steps to find the meaning of the word only to not find it until much later. And Prince. . .I've had a crush on that little twerp for at least twenty years now.

  8. Hahahah I would have been MORTIFIED

  9. Great job of keeping the reader interested and loved the description of your mother with her German accent and the way her name was pronounced. I could see this whole scene playing out in my head.

  10. My mom would have flipped too! Nice job!

  11. I loved it! Your mom is awesome :) And great interplay between the two of you.

  12. I love me a mama who makes ya bust out the dictionary! Especially for masturbate!!

  13. Hilarious mother-daughter dialogue! I was old enough to know about masturbation when “Darling Nikki” came out, but remember shouting the lyrics to Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back” to my mother’s horror. Your spare yet vivid writing puts us squarely in that kitchen, feeling the tension, plunging our hands in the dishwater, and frantically searching the “M's” in the dictionary for the offending word. I love the end - young Christina’s dawning awareness of definition, yet cluelessness as to the operation. Great post.

  14. Wow! I wouldn't have understood the definition in the dictionary anyways. I didn't truly grasp English until I was 14, I think.


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