Quote: “They have to embrace the ‘ick’ factor.” Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, in the Washington Post.
Figure of Speech: metallage (meh-TALL-uh-gee), the getting all medieval figure. From the Greek, meaning “making a swap.”
Are teens using oral sex to maintain their technical virginity? A recent study says no. Only 23 percent of teenagers who describe themselves as virgins say they have had oral sex in the last six months, while 82 percent of those who have had vaginal sex had also had oral sex.
The moral of that story, according to Sarah Brown, is for parents to “broaden the number of topics they discuss.” You know, like birds, bees, fellatio…
Brown uses a currently popular idiom, “ick factor,” to describe the feeling that parents have when they hold a sexual discussion with the fruit of their loins. The expression qualifies as a metallage, a useful figure that takes parts of speech that aren’t nouns — such as verbs or adjectives — and uses them as the object of a sentence.
Samuel Jackson does this in the film Pulp Fiction, when he threatens “to get all medieval on your ass.” Figaro assumes he was not referring to a sexual technique.
Snappy Answer: “Do we have to embrace it? Can’t we, like, nod to it?”