As mentioned in previous threads, I’m the father of 3 preteen daughters, and as such, am uncomfortable with any questions from them relating to sex, where babies come from, etc. Partly from a strict and uptight Catholic upbringing (since lapsed), and partly from the fact that they’re girls. Boys, I could handle. So when such questions arise, my general strategy is to hem and haw for a second, see if my wife is around so I can pass the question off, and finally, if pressed, answer it to the best of my ability.
Last night, I was bringing all 3 girls home from school, and we were listening to Christmas music on the radio. Whenever one of them complains that they don’t like a song, I generally start singing along, because that’s what dads do. So there I am, singing along to “Silent Night”, not even thinking about the lyrics, when my oldest (9), loudly asks “Dad, what’s a virgin?” Bushwhacked! Now, if I had been thinking straight, I would have just answered “A person who has never had sex with another person.” But instead, I panicked, and told her about some people believing that Jesus was the son of God, and Christmas celebrates his birth, and that’s what the song is about. She listened to my explanation carefully, then said, “OK, but what’s a virgin?” I then realized I had sabotaged myself - if after explaining that Mary was Jesus’s mother, I then told her a virgin has never had sex, I’d be totally confusing her - she knows that you have to have sex to have a baby. So I told her I’d explain it to her later. To which she replied “Why - you don’t want the other two to know what it is?” Her sisters (7 & 5) had been ignoring us to this point, but their ears are keenly attuned to anything indicating they’re being left out of something, so they both started clamoring “We want to know too! Tell us! Tell us! What’s a virgin!” Now I was really stuck - the youngest hasn’t gotten any sex ed beyond “you need a mommy and a daddy to make a baby” yet, and yelling the explanation to the back seat of the minivan while driving at night didn’t seem the best way to have that talk. But luckily, the radio came to my rescue at just that moment - “Feliz Navidad”, our favorite Christmas singalong song started up. So I was able to make it home safely, at which point I could distract them with homework and getting ready for gymnastics, and finally, pass the question on to my wife to answer (none of this bothers her) like the coward I am.