I spent part of this weekend catching up on my Glee.
I love Glee. I love that there’s a singing and dancing show on network TV. I love that it’s over the top and I love that it celebrates all of those cheeseball songs that you sing in the car when you’re alone (or maybe, if you’re lucky, with a really good friend who is totally cool with you singing off-key and hamming it up and, in fact, is happy to sing off-key and ham it up right along with you).
And I also love that sometimes it’s ridiculously poignant and makes me cry. Like in this scene from Everybody’s Got a Random. The set up, if you don’t watch the show: Kurt, the gay character with the soul-melting voice, has been avoiding talking about sex with his not-quite-boyfriend Blaine. In fact, Kurt has never had sex. Blaine, concerned, has talked to Kurt’s father, Burt, suggesting that he needs to have “the conversation” with Kurt. And Burt musters up his courage to share some pamphlets on STDs and protection and talk to his son about sex:
“For most guys, sex is just this thing we wanna do,” Burt begins. “You know, it’s fun, it feels great. But we’re not really thinking too much about how it makes us feel on the inside or how the other person feels about it.”
“Women are different?” Kurt asks.
“Only because they get that it’s about something more than the physical,” Burt says. “You know, when you’re intimate with somebody in that way, you’re exposing yourself, you’re definitely going to be more vulnerable. And that scares the hell out of a lot of guys. I can’t tell you how many buddies I’ve got who have gotten way too deep with a girl who said she was cool with just hooking up.”
“But that’s not going to happen to me, Dad.”
“No. It’s going to be worse,” he says. “Okay? Because it’s two guys. With two guys, you got two people who think that sex is just sex. It’s going to be easier to come by, and once you start doing this stuff, you’re not going to want to stop. You just… You’ve got to know that it means something. It’s doing something to you, to your heart, to your self-esteem. Even though it feels like you’re just having fun.”
Kurt answers slowly. “So, you’re saying, I shouldn’t have sex?”
“I think on your thirtieth birthday it’s a great gift to yourself.” Burt doesn’t quite smile, but it’s clear he’s not serious. Then suddenly, he is. “Kurt, when you’re ready, I want you to be able to do everything. But when you’re ready I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person. Don’t throw yourself around like you don’t matter. Because you matter, Kurt.”
Kurt is looking at him. “Is that it?”
“That’s it. For now.” He relaxes a little. “Can I make you some toast?”
“I think I’ll take it up to my room to eat while I read my new pamphlets,” Kurt says, gathering them up off the table. Then he gives his father a sweet smile. “Thank you, Dad.”
“You’re welcome,” Burt says.
BTW, I feel pretty certain that this may be the best conversation about sex — gay or straight, real or fictional — between child and parent ever had. I’m taking this as my model if I ever have to have a conversation about sex with my kid or someone else’s.