Birds and the Bees

August 7, 2009 · 1 comment

I welcome reader questions! I got the following question from in response to “The Talk”: “Why is it called the Birds and the Bees? They don’t mate on each other as the birds would get stung and die. Right?”

Well, I’m not sure that a Bee can sting through a Bird’s layer of feathers unless he’s sporting a Ron Jeremy sized stinger. But you know, I agree that it’s a bit odd that “the Birds and the Bees” seems to be the time honored metaphor used when having “The Talk.” I blame overprotective parents. Think about it: they picked two species that don’t actually reproduce using the traditional “Tab A, Slot B” method. It’s just a way to have “the talk” without actually having “the talk.” Kind of like being a lawyer, now that I think about it. But, for the sake of being thorough, let’s look at “the Birds” and “the Bees.”

Birds reproduce via what’s called the “cloacal kiss” which is basically nothing more than a quick “bump and grind” of the tail feathers. Nothing gets inserted, nothing gets penetrated, but the female gets pregnant anyway. This is probably why parents say to be careful at the high school dance.

Bees? Well, when it comes to helping out the flowers, they are kind of like Nature’s little “fluffers.” Just keeping the flowers and stamens going until the pollination is done. (Note, this can also occur via a strong wind, but flatulence has never been proven to be a reliable method for reproduction in humans. In fact, I have it on good authority that it is a deterrent.) The fact that the Bees are responsible for the actual transfer of the pollen from the stamen to the flower is undoubtedly the origin of the oft heard parental advice “Don’t touch that! You don’t know where it’s been!!”

As for the Bee’s own ability to reproduce, well, there is a bit of irony there when it comes to using this little vehicle as the tool for teaching your kids about sex. See, usually the female Bee will mate with several male Bees in a short period of time. In so doing, she acquires all the sperm she will need in her lifetime. Good luck sleeping at night after you’ve told THAT to your daughter.

Honestly, after researching it on the Internet for a while, I have come to the conclusion that nobody knows what the origin of “the Birds and the Bees” is, or why we keep using it. I suppose it’s more comfortable for parents to talk about reproduction in terms of “the Birds and the Bees” than using, oh, Dogs? I wouldn’t want to be the one to say “Billy, you’re getting to the age now where it’s natural to have questions about “things.” So your mother and I would like to talk to you about copulating dogs.” (Way to take a bite out of crime there, McGruff) I mean, the kid would never be able to watch Blues Clues again and not wonder what Blue does off camera. And the first time little Billy gets busy with a girl; he’s probably going to touch her boob and yell “Clue, Clue, Clue.” Yeah, dogs wouldn’t work.

And come to think of it, the whole “Birds and Bees” thing might backfire the first time you catch your kid prepping for a date with a truck load of honey and feathers. That could be a problem, too. I have decided that straight talk with my kids is the best way to go. That’s why I am in the process of developing a short story for when its time to have “The Talk.” It’s called, “The Adventures of Chastity Beltway, and the Penile Guillotine.” I haven’t gotten past the title, but I really don’t think I need to.

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