It’s not just herpes but other STDs as well. Unfortunately, there’s an inevitable logic to this and the best way I can put it at the moment is as an excerpt from the current book:
‘Herpes – do you know anything about it?’
‘Oh my goodness – you?’
‘Stop and think before opening mouth – that was crass. Think it through.’
‘I have. Sorry. I’m listening.’
‘Question – there’s not always a correlation, I know that, but there often is. Think of a young Adonis or a hot chick as they say. Are they not going to have vastly more body contact with ‘the beautiful people’? They become this thing they call A List but what does it mean? It means putting their genitalia all over the place. So that gorgeous girl with the beautiful smile – would you touch her with a barge pole? You don’t know where she’s been, what care she’s taken.’
‘And in the beach culture, they’re running around barefooted and bare everything, a group thing.’
‘Yep. Now think of me, poor Jenny, can’t find a man, shy, reticent. Any idea why not?’
‘I’m starting to be horrified.’
‘Now look back, Leyton, at the past few years in our circle. Miles – did he put it about?’
‘No but Chloe did. Laura did too. Frank. Maybe not Amelie.’
‘Yes but did Amelie ever kiss her sister?’
‘This is horrific – almost everyone could have that inside ’em and they wouldn’t know how it got there.’
‘No one really thinks about it up front. Now, I’m not saying you’ve touched [the current manageress] Jane but what if you’d given her a peck one day, exchanged a slight amount of fluid? Do you know her past? Because I do, I found out.’
‘And your sister – I kissed her.’
She gathered herself and was struggling. ‘Are you aware she’s HSV2. Just let me grab the iPad.’
She leaned over, opened it, went to Google, found this and showed it to him:
‘Go on – read it. Did you see the words ‘highly contagious’? Scenario – you and your wife are the type who’ve had one partner only – each other – but one day some man gets fresh with her at the office, plants a kiss, nothing special, just part of the office banter, she’s flattered -’
‘Say no more. And I kissed Sarah.’
‘But even if you hadn’t, you’ve kissed me, and I’ve kissed sis many times. Not after I knew about her but what good is that? OK, I stopped kissing her and she knew why, she resented it more than you can imagine, Jan thinks she gave it to him. You’ve been in clinches with Laura, I’m not saying you cheated, not at all. And what if [ex-wife, deceased] Jane was clean and you’d given it to her?’
‘I’m not a religious person but I do see the value in one-to-one and only one-to-one. And that’s why I’ve been hard to get … with everyone.’
Of course, it’s not just diseases, it’s the drugs inside the person you’re canoodling with. It was always a risk through history but when society was largely marry first, consummate second, the percentage chance of widespread STDs and other conditions was so much lower.
Now look at it – doing it at 12, along with the drugs.
Therefore, that plain, not so popular girl might be by far the better bet for your own health and for your children.
And of course, don’t forget the world of tattoos.