"I'm having an orgasm," came the shout heard around the quad.
It was clear. It was unmistakable. It was unavoidably audible.
And timed perfectly to cause maximum shock value.
My teen-aged daughter and I were on our sixth and final college campus tour. By now, the routine had become familiar. After an admissions counselor dutifully presented the college's credentials and outlined the admissions requirements, a hyper-enthusiastic student, as well-practiced in the school story as in walking backwards while telling it, gave us a tour of the campus. If "admissions" was a team, the student tour guides would be its cheerleaders.
This one started innocently enough, passing venerable academic buildings, the majestic library, a state-of-the-art athletic facility. There was something so familiar, but that's because this was my alma mater. Yep, I spent four years on this campus and received my degree from Lehigh University. Indeed, as we passed Maginnes Hall, it brought back vivid memories of HR 41, formally known as Human Sexuality.
It felt good to be back after such a long absence. Now I remember: I had a really good time here. That included a certain amount of debauchery that goes with college. And I'll be damned if I'm gonna drop serious coin for my daughter to experience that.
On the other hand, being out from under her parents' wing will be one of the most enriching growth opportunities of her life, not only to learn, but to meet all types of interesting and different people.
As joyful recollections danced in my head, our group of about 20 sixteen-year-olds and 30 parents was directed by our perky guide to the campus residence halls. As a father, particularly of a daughter, I can only hope that she won't be doing what I did, right here in these same residence halls, when the drinking age was still 18.
Then came the moment.
In what sounded almost like a public address announcement delivered by a male voice from a room nearby, broadcast to the surrounding vicinity: "I'm having an orgasm."
He wasn't the kind of "interesting and different people" I had in mind.
To say that our group response was muted is an understatement. Although every single one of us heard it, silence prevailed as if trying to pretend it didn't happen. Our tour guide's reaction could best be described as mortified.
Awkward doesn't do the scene justice; this was a conspiracy of awkwardness. Or, as a teenager might say, "ewwww." Other than walking in on a couple of students actually having sex, what could be more uncomfortable to a co-ed group of teenagers with their parents in tow, just about to enter the dormitory where they might potentially spend the next four years, than to hear someone loudly proclaim their orgasm?
I should have stayed quiet. But the former standup comedian in me instinctively took over, yelling back to the orgasmic shout-out as I would have to a heckler at a nightclub: "You're always too soon." The result was awkward on steroids.
Our tour guide led us inside the "co-ed" dorm, making sure to inform us that the bathrooms were not co-ed. Oh, what a relief.
I couldn't help but notice that she later failed to point out the health center, where I recall that they dispensed birth control as readily as band-aids.
My kid loved the school.
I decided that our next tour will be women's colleges.