Keepin’ your togs on…and gettin’ girls into trouble…

Keepin’ your togs on…and gettin’ girls into trouble…

In reference to the impregnation of a local girl, an uncle of mine mentioned keeping your togs on, which meant very little to me as I couldn’t figure out how swimming had anything to do with babies. When it comes to the birds and the bees, early on in life, the advice can be confusing.

Today it’s a lot simpler, more clear-cut and there is a far more reality based, simplistic, intelligent way of teaching the important facts to children.   When I was a nipper, it was a very different story. My parents were not an option. All I knew before I even understood a single practical fact about sex, was that getting a girl pregnant was probably going to mean a good hiding (Beating for the non-Irish) possibly prison, the devil himself waiting at the gates of hell laying out the red carpet,  a suspicion one might fall victim to the plague or even worse.  The notion of discussing sex with my parents was ludicrous in the extreme.

At the age of thirteen, we were sent to learn about sex after school hours, in the monastery attached to our Christian Brother run school. Seven year olds today know more about sex than we did entering secondary school.  In theory a potentially valuable learning experience. In practice I learned that sex involved saying a prayer that one might conceive, the lights being turned out before the man enters the room, a woman ‘preparing’ herself whatever that meant, the act of intercourse (which went unexplained beyond the vague notion that a man and woman shared a bed almost fully clothed in the dark after prayers) and a final prayer to remind the Lord that the whole point of what just happened, was purely to conceive a child and to reassure him that neither of you got any particular pleasure from it.


You can see I was confused as a young boy. Now in the absence of any practical or helpful advice, we fell foul of the rumour mill.  I couldn’t put most of them to paper without blushing, but among them there was a suggestion involving bodily fluids being collected from very strange parts of the body, not strictly connected to the reproductive organs and these being applied to other parts of the body in some bizarre ritual. I know that doesn’t make sense but you had to be there and really, you don’t want to know.

Most of my knowledge relating to female anatomy came from second hand copies of National geographic that were passed around school with titters and “a haw a haw a haw’s” from sniggering, filthy minded boys who hadn’t a clue either. One boy who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are Joe O’Reilly, actually produced a real dirty magazine at the back of the sheds one day.   I say ‘real’ but basically if was something akin to Playboy with  a naked girl centrefold.   To be honest, I was pretty traumatised by the whole thing, as nothing looked like I imagined it and I was still quite confused as to the practical application of the various working parts.

There was one girl who would flash her bra for money but I never saw that, not that I didn’t have the money, it just seemed a little frightening to me. I watched Pan’s people on Top of the Pops and that was even a bit too much for me, the little walking hormone that I became as puberty crept up on me.

Someone told me you could get a girl pregnant through French kissing and I was deeply concerned. I hadn’t actually French kissed a girl but as I didn’t know what ‘French’ kissing was, the whole notion that I might accidently do it unwittingly someday, frightened the life out of me.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. I was such an innocent, there would have had to be another immaculate conception for me to get a girl pregnant. The only way I would have got a girl into trouble back in the day, was if I told her mother she was smoking….

Obviously over the years I have gained much wisdom, so clearly if I was asked to give advice to the young boys of today It would be quite simple. Keep your togs on lads…




Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

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9 thoughts on “Keepin’ your togs on…and gettin’ girls into trouble…

  1. Ha! That was really funny. My sex education was also non-existent, with lots of references to how pregnancy could ruin our lives. It was all most confusing, and we were incredibly innocent well into our teens.
    I remember one nun telling us that “good girls didn’t look at boys”, and all the girls in the class wondering if we were supposed to walk around blindfolded or something.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The joys of a Catholic school. Even the biology lesson was a bit vague, and they were fond of euphemisms. These days among old school friends we even use the word ‘euphemism’ to mean ‘sex’ as a kind of in-joke referring to the ludicrousness of it all. Like you and your togs!

        Liked by 1 person

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