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When I was first married, I was charmed and delighted by how my husband could shake convention and charm a room.

When my Extroverted Feeler son reached school age, it became more complicated. Naturally, he imitated his father.

My husband told jokes. He told shocking jokes. He told jokes that were beyond not appropriate. He told them in front of his son.

I talked to him about it, to no avail. He wouldn't edit in front of my son. I knew that my son was picking up these jokes that were really really not what I want my 7 year old to tell their friends. Not Socially Acceptable.

My husband gave me the "you are no fun" and "what a stick in the mud" treatment. I was the evil authority.

But I still wanted to do something. What? If I told my son not to tell those jokes, it would make them more attractive.

I sat the Extroverted Feeler down and explained. "Ok, your dad is telling jokes that are not appropriate for your age. If you tell one of those jokes to one of your friends, and their mom hears it, she may not let you come to their house again. She may not let you play with them.

So I don't want you to tell the inappropriate jokes, because you will get in trouble. You either should not tell the joke or pick your audience very carefully. If anyone, any mom or kid or adult tells me that you have told them one of those jokes, I will fine you $5.00."

The Extroverted Feeler thought about it. "All jokes?"

"No," I said, "Just the ones that aren't appropriate for your age."

"How will I know?" he said.

"You can ask me. You can tell me the joke and I will tell you whether it is appropriate or not."

"Will I have to pay $5.00?"

"No. If you are checking, it won't cost you anything."

"Ok." said the Extroverted Feeler.

He got it. Some weeks later, the Extroverted Feeler said, "Mom, what about this joke? Is this an okay one?"

Two maxipads are floating down a sewer, laughing and joking. They see two tampons.
"Hey, let's go say hi." says the first maxipad.
"Nah," says the second.
"Why not?" says the first.
"Oh, they're stuck up cunts!"

I said, "Um, no, you are correct. It is not appropriate. That is a $5.00 fine joke at your age." I can't remember if I asked if he knew what a maxipad or a tampon was. I think that he didn't want to explore that.

I never had to fine him the $5.00. He didn't run many jokes past me, I think he figured it out very quickly, probably by watching adult reactions. Recently I told an adult about this and their eyes widened a bit, "Oh, your son told me a joke once."

And that is how the Extroverted Feeler learned to pick his audience.

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