“Condoms,” said the teacher, “are the best way to protect against sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy.”
Ollie looked up in surprise at the teacher’s loud word, but realised he wasn’t in trouble and went back to drawing a face on the banana. Ed would have usually stopped him, but he was concentrating on copying down exactly what the teacher was saying.
‘Sex!’ thought Ed.
There wasn’t any maths in sex and they had already covered the biology part in science. There wasn’t even a test, so you couldn’t revise anything. Ed dealt with the problem by writing down everything in his best handwriting and adding notes to his work sheet.
‘I might need this,’ he thought, ‘there could still be a test.’
The teacher started to give out the condoms and there was a lot of talking and noise as each new pair snapped up their packet.
“Not yet!” said the teacher. “We’ll do it together.”
Across the room from the boys, Becca screwed her face up and pointed her banana at Gita like a weapon.
“Shtick em up punk!” she said in a gangster accent.
“I’ll do whatever you say.” said Gita, putting her hands up in fake panic. “Just please don’t…peel me?”
The teacher put a condom down in front of them before moving on. They both looked at it for a moment before Gita carefully picked it up.
“Have you ever opened one of these?” asked Gita, holding the condom by the edges of the packet.
“What condoms?…er, yeah!” lied Becca. “It’s easy, unless you’re in a hot tub and your fingers are pruney from the sexy hot water.”
“Oh.” said Gita. She knew that the closest Becca had come to being in a hot tub with someone was sharing a paddling pool with her when they had been about five years old. She put the condom back down next to their banana, and eventually Becca picked it up.
‘Oh crap,’ thought Becca, ‘I hope I don’t mess this up.’
She put the condom back on the table and tried to hide her nerves while the teacher was telling someone off for eating their banana. She looked over to the other side of the room where the boys were sitting.
‘Well at least I’m dealing with it better than Ed is!’ she thought, as he noticed her looking over and quickly looked back down to his notes.
Ollie couldn’t think of a worse way to start a Monday than Sex Education. Ok, so that’s not what it said on the timetable, but that’s what it was. Sex. Ed.
‘Hang on.’ he thought. ‘Sex. Ed…Sexual! Edward!’
“Alright there Sex Ed?” he asked casually while adding rings and studs to the inky ears on their banana.
“Yeah…couldn’t be better.” said Ed, as his eyes and pencil stayed locked on the worksheet.
“Ok Sex Ed, just checking you’re alright Sexy Ed.”
“Ollie!” hissed Ed, now hearing what he had said.
“What’s up, Sex Ed?” said Ollie, turning to him.
“Olliee!” whispered Ed. “Don’t!”
Ollie smiled as sweat broke out on Ed’s brow.
“Ok mate,” said Ollie, “you’re safe for now, but I’m telling the others about your new nickname.”
“No Ollie, don’t!” pleaded Ed.
“I’m sorry,” replied Ollie, “but you need to realise that you can, at times, be a highly sexual person!”
Ed sighed and Ollie picked up his pen to start drawing sideburns around the ears on the banana.
“I mean, we might have to get some T-shirts printed up.” continued Ollie. “How about…‘I’M WITH SEX ED’ and then an arrow.” he added, pointing to his chest to show the position of the text.
“Then maybe a fragrance line…er…an energy drink?…and if it goes really well, maybe a talk show!”
Ed smiled. It was quite funny, but he hoped it wouldn’t get out of hand. Ollie looked at the banana and thought about his new fruit based friend’s name.
“Peely Pete?” he muttered, adding stubble to the face. “Or maybe Baron Friedrich von four-skin?”
Ed had been so focused on his work that he hadn’t noticed what Ollie had been doing to their banana.
“Ollie! What the f—” whispered Ed, but was cut off by the teacher before he could finish.
“Edward, Oliver. Why have you drawn on your banana?”
There was deadly silence as the rest of the class waited excitedly to see how much trouble the boys were in. Ed could feel himself redden and his stomach fell into his socks.
“Well?” said the teacher and then had a thought:
‘Finally, something that might make this more interesting.’
Relationship and Sex Education first thing on a Monday morning, it didn’t get any worse than that, did it? But now this, a ray of sunshine in a poo storm. In fact, this might actually be the only time that the teacher had been glad to be teaching Ollie in a class.
“It wasn’t me…I…” spluttered Ed.
“I know Edward,” said the teacher, “I can see that Oliver’s hands are covered with ink…and he’s holding the pen…and the banana.”
Ollie put down the banana, re-capped the pen and hid his hands under the desk. There were chuckles from the class and the teacher grew more confident. Gita bit her lip, wishing she could somehow help Ollie.
“Any thoughts Oliver?” asked the teacher.
Ollie looked around at the class staring at him, while Becca made faces behind the teachers back.
“I don’t know…” he replied, “I just…thought that as I would usually pretend a banana was a…a…”
“A penis?” asked the teacher, and the class laughed. “Quiet everyone! Let Oliver finish please.” barked the teacher, before turning back to him. “Do continue.”
“Well, yeah,” said Ollie, “I would usually pretend that a banana is a…is…one of those, but now we are pretending it’s…it’s one of those, I thought I should probably pretend that it’s something else?”
‘There’s a surprise, a sensible answer from Ollie.’ thought the teacher. Ollie’s words had shocked everyone. For once, he had sort of, almost made sense.
“Please do NOT draw on your bananas,” said the teacher, turning to a group of lads, “…and that means you two over there! We need to reuse them for this afternoon’s lesson, so they must to be kept pristine.”
“Ew!” shouted Becca. “Second hand banana penis!”
“Thank you, Rebecca!” said the teacher, as the class burst into laughter. “We’ll have no more of that.”
‘26 minutes and 44 seconds,’ thought the teacher looking at the clock, ‘and then it’ll be over for another week.’
“In your pairs, I want you to practice putting the condom on the banana.” said the teacher. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to each other about it.”
The class fell silent, while a few practiced hands ignored instructions and applied protection with experienced skill.
“Having some trouble Oliver?” asked the teacher.
No matter how hard he tried, Ollie just couldn’t roll the condom down over the banana.
“Just taking my time.” he said. “That’s important when you’re with a piece of fruit you really like.”
“Yes of course.” purred the teacher, with a smile. “We talked about that didn’t we. But you’ve also put the condom on inside out.”
“Oh…really?” said Ollie, losing his cool.
The teacher smiled and pointed at the board where there was a diagram of a condom and the words:
Condoms are made to be easily rolled down.
Make sure you don’t put them on inside out!
“Edward, could you show him how it’s done please?” said the teaching, re-rolling the condom.
“Er…ok?” said Ed, as the teacher moved on.
“Thanks Sexy Ed.” whispered Ollie and Ed jabbed him in the leg with his pencil.
“Owww!” said Ollie. “What was that for?”
“You’re always getting me into trouble!” said Ed.
“Yeah and you love it.” said Ollie, grinning.
When Ed had put the condom on, he decided to treat it like he was making one of his model aeroplanes. When he got to a difficult bit, he just followed the instructions and slowly kept going. Putting the condom on was actually quite easy, in fact he didn’t know what he’d been so worried about.
“You going to show me how it’s done?” asked Gita, looked at the condom in front of them.
“Erm…nah,” replied Becca, “I think you need the practice, you can go first.”
“Ok.” said Gita, taking a deep breath.
She carefully ripped the packet open down one side and pulled the condom out. Its circular, rolled edge reminded her of when she was little and would sit in school assembly, rolling her socks down her legs so they made perfect rings of fabric around each ankle.
“Come on Becca,” she said, giving her the banana to hold, “it’s not a one person job.”
“Alright, if I have to.” replied Becca, taking the banana with a sigh. “Put that thing on so I can have my go and can get this stupid lesson over with.”
‘Ok,’ she thought, ‘just watch how Gita does it and copy her.’
Gita suddenly realised that the next time she would be opening a condom might be with a boy…and he would have more than just a banana! She put the condom on the end of the banana and pinched the bulbed bit on the end, before slowly rolling it down. It felt a bit funny, but there was nothing difficult about it. She thought it would be…well, she didn’t really know, but she didn’t think it would be as easy as it was.
“Once the first person has had a go,” said the teacher, “roll the condom back up so the second person can try it.”
Gita looked at Becca, ready to silence her clever comment, but Becca was too nervous to be cheeky.
“Swap.” said Gita, as she took the condom off.
‘It doesn’t look too hard.’ thought Becca. ‘If Gita can do it then I should be able to, right?’
Becca shoved the condom onto the end of the banana but pulled it too much on one side and it slipped out of her grip and onto the desk.
“The ones I usually get are more flexible!” she said.
“Oh…ok.” said Gita blankly. Becca’s lying made her cringe. Why couldn’t she just chill out and admit that she didn’t know any more than the rest of them?
“Right, here we go.” said Becca, gently putting the condom in place and rolling it down.
“Done.” she chirped, and Gita put the condom covered banana down at the front of their desk.
‘Wow,’ thought Becca, ‘that was close!’
Finally they reached the end of the lesson. The bin in the middle of the classroom was half full with opened condoms and the bananas were in a pile on the table next to it.
“That was boring.” said Becca.
“I don’t know,” replied Ed, “I thought it was ok.”
Unlike Gita, he hadn’t made the connection that he might have to put a condom on a bit of his own body. It had just been a lesson to Ed, with things to write down and type up later.
“Yeah, I didn’t mind it.” agreed Gita, rubbing some lip balm in and holding the tin out for Becca to take.
“I already know about all that,” said Becca, running her fingertip around the small tin, “and to go through again, without doing all the…hands on bits, was dull.”
As Becca bent down to get her bag, Gita and Ed shared a micro glance. Ok, Becca might have, maybe kissed a boy, but even that seemed doubtful. There was an unspoken agreement between her friends, that nothing she spoke about could ever really be believed.
Gita looked over at Ollie who was with the teacher. She hoped someone would mention the lesson during break so she could hear what he thought about it.
“We should go to English.” said Ed.
“Yeah, see you at break Bex.” said Gita.
“Ok, bye.” she replied.
“How did you find the lesson?” asked the teacher.
“Yeah, well easy.” Ollie replied. This was nothing new, he’d been through after lesson ‘talks’ before.
“But you had some trouble with the activities?”
“You sort things like this out when it comes to it, know what I mean?” said Ollie with a cheeky smile. He realised that most teachers were nothing to be scared of, as long as you didn’t lay it on too thick.
“I know you don’t want to hear it, but there are some things you need to pay attention to, and this…” said the teacher, shaking the large box of condoms, “is one of them.”
“Yeah…but, you know I—”
“Oliver, when you have sex for the first time, is Edward going to be there to help you put the condom on?” said the teacher, interrupting him.
“Er…maybe?” Ollie said as he thought about the question “I mean no!…No, he definitely won’t.”
“No, I thought not.” said the teacher with a smile.
“I think that you rely on your friends and pure luck to just about get through things.”
Ollie felt guilty and looked at the box of condoms.
“When you meet someone you like and have sex, don’t you want to do more than just get by? Don’t you want to know you’re being safe? So you can enjoy it?”
“Suppose so.” said Ollie, sulkily.
“I just want you to realise that this is about more than today’s lesson. It’s about what you do with your body and how it could affect your future—”
The bell rang, cutting the teacher off.
“You need to go to your next lesson, but please have a think about it. If there’s anything you want to talk about, you know all of the teachers and staff are here to listen to whatever you want to talk about.”
Ollie nodded and put his banana on top of the others in the box.
“Oh, I think you better keep your banana Oliver.” said the teacher with a smile.
“Really?…thanks.” said Ollie with a grin, his mind instantly switching to his banana buddy.
“Come on Tony Sun-Skin!” said Ollie. “I’m gonna make you a hat out of the end of a chip cone!”
He ran off and the teacher sighed, while outside the next class were on the edge of all out war.
‘Coffee.’ thought the teacher. ‘I definitely need coffee.’
Come on, that wasn’t too bad was it, let’s try Chapter 2