There are a circle of people in a dusty courtyard, a man is in its center, writing in the sand. To his side is a woman being restrained by two men. A woman on the opposite side throws a stone towards the woman in the center. He turns to her and says, “Mother, you infuriate me.”
Ahem. My literature teacher tell me that you’d get that if you lived in Ireland, or Italy, or if the pope was your G.
Anyway, I’m not going to explain it. It’s funny. I swear.
This week was le sex discussion, in which we learned, among other things, that ‘having sex feels like you’re going to explode.’
That’s the sort of talk that puts the fear of god into sparkling virgin’s heart and further tightens the chastity belt protecting his behymen. This lack of butt action, in addition to leading to extreme grumpiness and colon cancer due to a lack of pooping, also leads to many other wonderous magical things, which I (as resident the-only-virgin-in-the-whole-world-ever, I-swear) am here to inform you of.
The topic of virginity came up in the middle of our discussion, with someone posing the question, “does it have any value? Did you value yours before you were divested of it?” To which the resounding answer was a firm and powerful “Meh.” Multiple good points were raised. First, contrary to popular belief, you do NOT lose any superpowers once you’ve been Touched by The Wang. Second, sex feels pretty great. And third, virginity is dumb because the longer you wait the worse you’ll be at it when someone does deflower you, so you might as well buy a pack of sausages and some AXE bodyspray and start practicing, dummy.
I’d argue otherwise.
We’re going to take a trip back into history for a moment to explore what, specifically, I mean when I say that there’s a richness in virginity that nobody ever talks about, since they’re all adequately sexed and don’t remember what it’s like to be blissfully uninformed.
Our story begins in 1071 with William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, who was the grandfather of Eleanor of Aquitaine who patronized Chretien de Troyes and divorced Louis VI based on degrees of consanguinity. He was also, perhaps, the first Troubador.
"What is a Troubador?" you shall ask, and I shall tell you that the troubadors were the first assholes in Europe that touted and perhaps created the idea of Courtly Love, which basically informed the romantic beliefs of every single person in the western world up through this day, really. You may recognize some of trademarks of courtly love such as
1. The ennobling and overwhelming nature of romantic, sexual love 2. The raising of the woman up onto an untouchable, perfect pedestal and 3. The DEEP SUFFERING on the part of the two lovers
Literature, dating from Tristan and Isond in the 12th century, all the way up through those trashy-chic Sarah Douglass books that I love, have narratives that revolve around these principles of misery and suffering and the ultimate triumph of perfect love, which ends in people riding off into the sunsets with their soulmates. This belief, and a bombardment of turblent romance stories vomitted at us through all sorts of media has twisted our perception of what it means to feel love, and in turn, it’s changed the way we think about connection, changed the shape of our hearts so that “to love” in any way shape or form turns into something winged and perfect and transcendent.
When we are young, and impressionable, and we feel like we finally start to get the subplots in Disney movies, we end up reinforcing these beliefs, building on top of them until all of our needs, our wants and our actions revolve around this notion that love is the ultimate goal.
My evidence for this claim comes from the mere existence of the “Twlight reader” and “slasher” demographics, as well as personal experience. It is rare to see good romance written by people who are satisfied. It thrives on expectation, and connections between words, rather than any sort of realism. The act of union becomes only the framework upon which those that dream may place the expectation of something world-breaking, flash of light beautiful. We see these glittering ideas again and again clothed in trembling words until time refines this wordplay into a high art that makes your heart ache before you understand what it means. The idea of love, with all the stories I’ve shackled to it, means something to me, in that I’ve spent countless hours deciding who would be my OTP, and what it’d be like to be The Uncool One in a threesome, because it’s cool to be in love, and it’s cool to feel differently, and to feel like you have an excuse to perform grand gestures for another person out of romantic whimsy. It is hard for me to communicate, specifically, what it is inside. I know, simply, that I know that the sky will be gray when I run through an urban landscape one day, chasing after the man I love and destroy at the same time, and how, if I just hope hard enough I’ll feel ecstatic like I did when this was all very new and when it seemed like the body and mind and evolution came together for the first time.
The thought of holding hands with someone still gives me fantastic jitters.
In a way, sex has become the ultimate symbol for all of this, as well as the gritty reality of it. To participate in the act, in a sense, would end it, whether it lives up to our expectations or not: it is not something that can be rethought, or reclaimed.
S0 where does this put us? We become needy horrible people that worship various pieces of text while simultaneously waiting for our front doors to pop open revealing the love of our lives, who happens to be rain-drenched (gloriously so), haunted-eyed and filled with an inhuman need of your virtue (he is NOT, however, a vampire, because vampires puncture holes in you with their teeth and are consequently not sexy unless you like undying). And it is our right to cling to this image, as it is more rich than anything that could happen in real life.
But there’s the rub. As we age, we get smarter, and as much as we try and convince ourselves otherwise, we realize that these things don’t happen. They never did, and, if we think hard about it, never will. We persist in thinking that they can, and at the same time know, that if we were to be loved once, it may happen again. Virginity is the final choice. To choose life, to depart from ignorance and chastity is the ultimate death of fiction. In choosing sex, you choose hope: love happens, it finds us and changes us in unimaginable ways, and we trust what our books tell us and have no need of brittle words in brittle worlds to shake us.