Okay, give me a second, this isn’t easy. It’s been over forty years and it still hurts.
So, I must have been twelve or thirteen. Science class, I can picture it clearly. It was biology that day, The Reproductive System.
Our teacher, Miss Singleton, was a bit of an ageing hippy. Loud floral dresses and horn rimmed glasses. As was her way, she called out names of the boys at random and whoever was chosen had to stand and read the next chapter of the schoolbook.
I was the third one picked. I stood and read clear enough until I came to a word I had not encountered before. I took a moment and then made a brave stab at it. ‘Vag-in-a,’ I stammered.
‘What did you say?’ Miss Singleton practically screamed. ‘Repeat that word again!’
‘Oh my God,’ she shouted. ‘What is wrong with this country? No sex education in school. No sex education at home. Your parents should be ashamed of themselves. You’re a disgrace.’
She marched from the room, slamming the door.
I remained standing, red-faced, until the boy next to me told me to sit.