Why Single Sex Education Rules the School

Girl Power
Girl Power

Planning and plotting the education of one’s offspring in the city of Los Angeles feels like navigating a dark labyrinth, filled with venomous snakes, deep ditches and fire bombs being tossed at you from unknown locations so you never know where you are supposed to be looking as to not die a firey death. Reggio, Montessori, Waldorf, Public, Private, Charter, Experimental, Progressive, Immersion, Preparatory, Jewish, Catholic, Methodist, predominantly White, predominately Black, predominately Asian and super-diverse are just some of the things you have to educate yourself on in order to understand what is right for your child.

As I reflect back on what was the insanity and ridiculousness I lived while being educated by nuns, I always come back to the one monumental positive I took away from my all-girls school, the positive that has made my life what it is today. And that is, no one ever said I couldn’t do something because I was a GIRL. In fact, no one ever mentioned any sort of limitations because of one’s sex ever because it was a non-issue. We did everything boys did, we just did them without them. We went to school makeup-less, with wet hair, in unflattering uniforms, eating cookies and laughing about things we probably wouldn’t have spoken about while walking in between buildings if boys had been around.

Here are my Top Seven Reasons Why Single Sex Education Rules the School –

  1. You can eat whatever you want

You can order cheese fries topped with bacon and literally talk with your mouth open while eating them and yes, it’s still gross but no one really gives two fecks. You could get pizza, fries, a salad, a chicken sandwich, ice cream and soda for lunch and no one was like, “Eww, you’re a cow”. My friend’s daughter told me she had friends in school who would barely eat because they were embarrassed to do so in front of boys. WTF is that? That ain’t right.

  1. Getting ready for school meant maybe showering

Hours of hair and makeup? I think not! A top knot and some Zinc Pink and I was on my way baby! I did spend quite a bit of time searching for one, matching regulatory knee sock every.stinking.morning. Which brings me to my next point.

  1. Uniforms

I know I grunted and groaned about this one because there was not much personal expression in green and blue plaid skirts and knee socks but seriously, no one was like, “Ugh, I wish my navy blue blazer was as nice as her navy blue blazer” because all of the navy blue blazers were equally ugly as shit. Also, no one got to dress slutty and isn’t that really what we all want for our girls? A place where you don’t feel like you have to dress in shorts shorter than your ass or don a tube top to go and learn Geometry? I know it’s all I can hope for.

  1. Dating

You dated after school and on weekends. There was no boy distraction in class, no breakups in the cafeteria, no lusting after Jake Ryan in study hall. Study Hall was time for us to discuss what boys’ penises looked like and maybe sometimes, just sometimes, we might have studied, but never in the Library because that’s where we planned our keggers and talked about what penises looked like while some of us gasped in horror.

  1. Conversation was not censored

We would discuss why our nipples got hard when it was cold outside while we tossed tampons between each other while pondering if pubic hair got gray when you got older. Do you think girls talk about this stuff in front of boys when they are fifteen? They don’t because after school when the boys came around, we talked about music and where we were gonna score some beer for the weekend. It was liberating to be able to be yourself and to talk about things that were on your mind and to know that you would all laugh hysterically and you never had to put the filter on except when a teacher passed you by.

  1. Boys Schools

When you attend an all-girl school, you usually have an all-boy school close by. When one of you has a dance, it’s like an explosion of wonder. All of these coeds in one place! It’s magical and special and fun! They’d have their proms and we’d have our prom and they’d have their games and we’d have ours and everything was done in multiples which meant for a robust social life, not gonna lie.

All Girls VMA
The sisterhood of the traveling pants…mine were pegged at the bottom if you are wondering. I am bottom right, sporting the ultra-fashionable straw “Boater”.

7.  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

When we’d see a man or a boy on campus in Grade School we used whisper under our breath “Sound the alarm!” and it would really make us giggle. They looked funny, awkward, almost like intruders when they came around. Later, in High School they were allowed to visit us in the parking lot and in the cafeteria after school, so it became a lot more natural but if one stepped on campus before 2:30pm all hell would break loose. We’d run to the window like there was a fireworks display or a three-headed unicorn.

We were one thing and they were another but we were not inferior to them in any way, shape or form and the most important thing our all-female staff did was never mention that we might come across that notion in the outside world. I went to college where I learned about girls’ insecurities regarding participating in class and eating in front of the opposite sex or not studying something because “Engineering is for Boys”. I always grabbed these conversation bulls by the horns and I debated and lectured these young ladies as if I were Gloria Steinem on a hot day because I was given that foundation of being a secure, strong woman who did not doubt herself because she had a vagina. Also, I was able to school everyone in my dorm suite regarding aging pubic hair. That, if for nothing, is a great reason to consider an all-girls school.

Colin Dearest

It’s time for another edition of “Ask the Experts” where we task our very wise (and very child-free) friends with answering your toughest parenting questions. This week we’ve recruited Reality TV Development Executive and one of Kelly Dearest’s besties, Colin Devenish. Now, Colin may be better known for his love of poker and sports (see below) than his child-rearing abilities but that may all change after this post. Behold, Colin’s take on all things stinky kids, minivans and why preschoolers are really just Network Executives in disguise.

Colin's happy place, sans children
Colin’s happy place, sans children

Dear Colin, 

My nine year old could care less about personal hygiene. She lies more often then not when I ask her if she brushed her teeth, changed her underwear or used actual shampoo in the shower. It’s a real problem and I am worried that people might start calling her the stinky kid. Can you help?

-Kathleen 

Dear Stinky,

Does your nine-year-old live out loud? Does she have no Plan B? Is she all-in? I’m just asking because we’re casting for a precocious pre-teens with halitosis show for the Breath Mint Network and I feel like your daughter could potentially be a good fit. While it is worrying that your kid is gonna be the one with the cloud of dust and pack of flies following her into her teen years, I’m gonna say this actually isn’t that big of a deal. Adolescence has a way of self-correcting even the smelliest kid’s hygiene failures. All you need is one cute boy she has a crush on telling her she reeks for soap and toothpaste to start getting real interesting to her. In the meantime I’d plug your nose and pour yourself a tall Scotch. You’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Dear Colin,

I have never seen myself as a “minivan mom.” I’ve always seen myself more as an “Aston Martin Mom.” However, I have had three kids in 4 years and I had to give up my dream of an Aston Martin for the time being and settle for a Honda Odyssey. It was a tough pill to swallow but there are worse things, I suppose. My question to you is, how am I supposed to drive a small-sized yacht, with three crazy kids in the back, park in the only parking that exists in LA, which is “compact” and still keep my “cool” (in more ways than one)

Respectfully Yours,

Needs her Mojo Mama

Dear Mojo Mom,

One of the greatest challenges of working in TV is not going to Defcon 4 everyday. Why? Because expectations are unreasonable, money is tight, time is short and no one will face reality when the IDEA of something feels better.

Ahhh, but you did ask about the kids and an oversized car. Let’s dig into that a little bit. The Aston Martin isn’t happening Mojo, not if you wanna send the ankle biters through college and pay for them to eat organic kale salads and avocado toast everyday and have every damn Apple product that comes out for the next 18 years. Given all that, the aptly named Odyssey will probably be the best vehicle to pilot you through these choppy childhood years. So the only X factors here are the kids and the means to contain their uncivilized behavior and that pesky parking issue. I say you put a steel-cage in the back and treat every trip to the store or soccer practice like a championship WWE wrestling match. Lock ‘em in, swallow the key, and let them batter each other to their heart’s content. Then blast some of that music that made you feel cool in the 90’s (they call it oldies now), and try to pretend there’s not three feral animals in the back of the car engaged in some Revenant style beatdowns. As long as the kids can’t smack you while you’re driving, or physically exit the car, you should be ok. Oh and just start valet-ing everywhere. Is 5 bucks here and there worth saving you from flying into a homicidal rage? I am no accountant, but I’d say yes.

Dear Colin, 

I feel like my son has a split personality! He is basically a complete asshole to all children and adults, friends and strangers alike, when we are in public, yet the sweetest most loving child when we are alone. I suppose I could keep him in the house and continue crafting all damn day, but I like people and wanna be out in the world. HELP!

Thanks,

Borderline Schizophrenic Mama

Dear Borderline,

I’m pretty sure your son is a network exec. The bad news is he’s gonna be completely unbearable, unreasonable, insane, malevolent, vicious, simple-minded, tyrannical, maniacal, callous, callow, petty, ridiculous, vindictive, cheap, asinine, oh hell, where was I? Oh yeah, the good news. The good news is if you don’t like him you can fire him in a year and start over. Honestly though, in my experience with network execs, very few of them are actually certifiable schizos and some of them might actually be human. In general, when they are unkind to us humble development folk, it tends to be because they are afraid of something. Maybe your son is anxious to be around people and being around them makes him act out. I’d ask him how he feels when he’s outside the house. As a shut-in myself, er, I mean as someone like me who’s super well-adjusted and calm, I bet he just gets nervous around people. And if that’s not it, fire him now. It ain’t gonna get any better.

colinvisit
Summer 2011 in NYC. Neither one of us knew what to do with the kid so we ate burgers and looked at dinosaurs.

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