I thought I’d told this story before, but a search turned up nothing, so it might have been on another board.
When I was about eight, I read about rape in the newspapers, but I didn’t know what it was. So I looked it up in the dictionary (Webster’s New World, I think). It defined it as ‘carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent’.
This wasn’t very enlightening, so I asked my mother. She told me it meant ‘knowledge of a woman without her consent’ – she’d obviously read the same dictionary, and couldn’t bring herself to say the word ‘carnal’.
I asked her if a woman bleached her hair, and didn’t want anyone to know (these were the Clairol days), and I found out, would that mean that I’d raped her. She told me not be be silly, and walked out.
I seem to remember that the entry to ‘sexual intercourse’ was equally unenlightening – I think it defined it as ‘coitus’, which was defined as ‘sexual intercourse’. There may have been more stages to the loop that I don’t recall, though.