I am in the kitchen, washing dishes, minding my own business when it hits me like a slap to the back of the head. “Mom, have you ever had a yeast infection?” I wheel around to face my son and realize he has just seen a commercial on television for a feminine product.
In a flash I weigh my odds. I can say yes (I had one once, twenty-plus years ago) and see him later in health class with his hand up, offering to share the information on Infection Day. Or I can lie and tell him no. I opt for the second choice. He returns to eating his after-school snack and no more questions follow.
But days later, I am still annoyed. Not at him or his innocent question. I’m annoyed at the advertisements on daytime and primetime television.
I believe Courteney Cox might be partially to blame. In a recent interview, she claimed to be the first person to use the P word on television. Yes, folks, before she was cutting a rug with The Boss on stage, she was touting tampons for when you get your PERIOD. It seems a loose cannon was set off in the advertising world.
My brother-in-law was similarly victimized when watching television with my niece. She turned to him during an advertisement and asked him, “Dad, do YOU suffer from ED?” She heard the statistics of erectile dysfunction, did the math and figured the odds were, he did. For me, I will never be able to look at Bob Dole the same way again.
Now, I’m all for advertising to sell your product to its intended market. But I wish some products would take the same high road that tobacco and hard liquor took many years ago and stick to print. Finding an ad for erectile dysfunction in my husband’s golf magazine would not surprise me at all. I wouldn’t even care if they got a little tacky with lines such as, Is your putter not performing like it used to? At least the odds are my children won’t see it. And even if they did, they might not get the double meaning. Yeah, they probably would.
When my boys first saw an ad for Levitra on television and asked me what it was, I told them it was a vitamin for men that helped them throw a football through a tire swing. But I’m afraid the days of my not-so-forthright answers are running out as the ads get more and more suggestive. And from their giggles, I'm sure they know.
Before you accuse me of not shooting straight when it comes to my kids’ questions, let me assure you we’ve had plenty of talks about puberty and its trappings. When our daughter was born, we used all the proper terms in talking about her birth. Even before that, my older son asked me what a tampon was after seeing a vending machine in a family restroom at the mall. (Only he didn’t pronounce it right, making it sound as though it rhymed with harpoon.) I told him I’d tell him what it was when we got to the car and I did. Only my younger son objected to being informed and held his hands over his ears chanting, “I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know!”
So the next time I see an advertisement for a product to help stimulate a male with ED, watch out. I will probably be the one in the room with my hands over my ears shouting, “I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know!”