Letters to My Future Son: Get a Tent

I am in my early thirties.  By the time I have any children and they grow to the appropriate age to talk about the proverbial “birds and bees”, chances are I will be at the very youngest– forty five.  That’s if I get to baby making at this exact moment, and for some reason I want to sit down a bewildered fifteen year old and lecture him about sex.  In all likelihood I will be in my fifties by the time this conversation even becomes relevant.  I can’t remember the thoughts I was having as a ten year old… probably something about firetrucks and ice cream.  That’s the same span of age between where I am now– to fifty years old where I am giving you a lecture about sex.

Right now, I’m still a relatively young man.  I am the tiger just entering the cage of commitment.  Willingly, mind you, and lovingly building this structure around me.  But I still remember the rush of the grass and the thrill of the hunt.  I still remember what it’s like to be single, and alone, and horny, and stupid.  But I’m not sure how long I will remember these things; certainly not twenty years. So for your sake… I’ve decided to chronicle and hobble together what little tidbits of advice and experience to give to you. So When you’re asking me about sex and I’m fifty and you’re fifteen, I can give you more than a puzzled look and a blank, “Well your mom lets me do it, sometimes.”

First bit of Advice: Get a Tent

If you have the space for it, get a tent.  Now I don’t mean an outdoor tent with the bugs and the rain and mosquitoes; no buy a brand-new-never-touched-the-earth-tent, and set it up indoors.

Do you remember building blanket tents and pillow forts?  (it feels super meta, asking you about your past experiences which are happening in my presumed future, but I’ll assume with me being me, and you being my kid we’d do a lot of this stuff)  It’s this universal experience for every kid.  It’s fun, and it’s nostalgic, and it’s safe, and intimate.  Having an indoor tent taps into all those emotions.

Girls are the same way.  They did the same fort-building and tent making as children.  Maybe they had cool parents that actually took them camping and that’s a twinkling childhood memory for them.  So when you bring  a girl over and she sees you have a tent, the first thing she’s gonna want to do is go inside.  It’s human nature.  It’s instinct.

At my bachelor pad, long before I met your mother, I had a loft area that was about ten feet off the ground that you had to climb a step ladder to get up to.  The ceilings were low, where you couldn’t ever fully stand up, but high enough for a tent.  I put a tent right in the corner of my loft.  Some days when I was feeling especially shitty, I would climb up there and sit in my tent.  I had perfectly good and usable other spaces of my apartment, and it was only me living there, I wasn’t sharing living quarters with anyone.  But something about crawling into a tent felt safer, more private, more intimate, and more secluded even though it’s just a thin nylon sheet separating the space inside the tent and everything outside.

Okay back bringing girls over.  If you bring a girl over to your apartment, or to your room– it’s awkward.  You know what you want to do, she knows what she wants to do, but there’s all this space.  Do you sit awkwardly on the bed together?  Watch some TV?  Show her some videos on your computer?  There is no nice transition from two people existing in a room together, to playing backgammon.  (I might have to explain this reference to you later.)  Say you makeout.  At what point do you go over to the bed?  Or if you’re already on the bed, at what point do you do the thing where your two bodies kinda accidentally end up lying down on the bed?  There’s a lot of logistics involved, and with each subsequent step there’s room for error, miscommunication, hesitation, or in general you messing it up.

But say you have a tent.  She goes into the tent.  You go into the tent.  You don’t walk into a tent, you crawl into it.  And once in the tent, you don’t stand up… you lie down.  You’ve gone from sharing an entire room to sharing this close intimate space.  Your body is inches from hers.  Your face, inches from hers.  Basically the tent is doing all the work for you.  The tent is the little red crab singing into your ear “Kiss the girl”  (I might have to explain this reference too)  It’s fun, it’s exciting, for most girls it’s a new experience, and you’re the creative charismatic guy who for some reason has a tent in his house.

A gentleman does not talk or brag about his exploits.  But suffice it to say this: I wouldn’t be telling you about a tent unless it works.

best of luck,

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