I’ve been around a while, three decades to be precise. And it’s taken me just as long to figure that the world is full of assumptions. I don’t care much about a lot of them, but there are a few that confuse me. Why is it that by the time you’re thirty, you are assumed to be married with a kid and a half on the way? And if you don’t fit snug in there, you have an alternate assumption to deal with. That you’re living the single life.
And by living the single life, I mean crazy partying every weekend, flings, one night stands, dealing with STD issues, and life on the complete wild side. Well, this is the reality. I am thirty years old but I am neither living my suburban dream nor am I waking up with a hangover or a stranger every other morning. I am thirty, and my life entails work, home, weekly dinner-and-drinks with friends and the occasional obligatory party. I am thirty and I am a virgin.
This is a fact I have no qualms about sharing. As an independent working woman, I am used to the raised eyebrows and hushed whispers I hear when I say I’m not married, and not going to, in the near future. What never ceases to amaze me is the shock and horror that my complacency causes. Those married are amazed at my seeming reluctance to enter the hallowed halls of holy matrimony whereas my (fewer) single friends are shocked at my lack of interest in “living it up”.
I fail to understand why they are fine with resigning themselves to household drudgery, a dreary life of runny noses and casseroles or the other extreme, going out every night and drinking to the point of no return and giggling over the sleazeball in the corner because they have nothing better to do.
I love my friends, I really do, but this having to pick between one of the two extremes is really annoying. Justifying my lack of action is no longer as amusing as it used to be. Sunday brunch with the girls is like a Monday morning migraine. As I sit and listen to them go on and on about their Saturday night exploits I dread having to reveal my relatively tamer night. Suddenly cocktails and conversation sounds like something my grandmother will do. As my turn to dish comes around, I defiantly look around the table after my confession, daring anyone to make a comment. They patronizingly change the subject.
Virginity is something that has gained a lot of interest in recent years. Blame it on the extreme coverage it has got with the media, supposed liberalization and it being the era of blogging and sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with the public. Like it or not, the lives of others (as well as yours if you want it to be) is public knowledge. The recent media obsession with teeny celebrities talking about losing their “childhood innocence” brings to mind the extensive media coverage that Britney Spears’ virginity issue got around 2002.
Blatant physical activity is something we have all come to accept and understand in recent years. Pictures of young starlets in various degrees of undress no longer cause us to cover our eyes in shock. But if you can feign indifference to all of that, then why create a scene for my desire to remain a virgin. I’m not saying that I would never consider pre-marital intimacy but the fact is the opportunity has to arise, the right opportunity. This furor that surrounds virginity and everything relating to it is something that, according to me, should reduce. Haters should lay down their spears and cease attack and all those who proclaim free love should not force it on anyone either.
Lovemaking is a matter of choice and should remain that way. But the day and age of dare-all-share-all doesn’t allow it to be that way. Most people I know are out there to prove something to the world, rebelling against tradition and customs and trying to find their own little niche in the world.
I’m all for self discovery and experimentation as long as it remains at that. I really have no unfulfilled wish to know the details of it. We are all voyeurs in our own right. Reading about celebrities and their personal lives are our guilty pleasure. The success of shows like Gossip Girl is proof enough. This essentially reflects the fascination we have with how other people, even those we don’t know, live their lives.
The world we live in today isn’t the way it was ten years back. The attitudes, among other things, have changed. But when attitudes change, the underlying values do as well. From the puritanical emphasis on virginity, we moved on to the flower power and free love of the sixties to Madonna and her bold glorification of fornication. This can be called evolution, evolution of the mind, plain and simple. Today fornication is much a part of everyday life as is your morning coffee, thanks to the influence of Carrie and Co. But if sharing intimate details of your carnal life is acceptable, then why not accept that some of us might not *shock!* have one or maybe *horror!* might not want to talk about it.
But here’s the thing, my purpose isn’t to extol the merits of saving it for marriage nor is it to preach the points of essentialist feminism. I am thirty and I have lived it up, I have had my share of crazy escapades and done a good deal of waking up with an ache in my bones and regret on my mind.
But seriously, apple martinis and one night stands don’t necessarily have to go together. The issue of my virginity is not a lack of opportunity but one of choice. It has nothing to do with the naivety of waiting for the “one” nor is it about piously waiting for the wedding night. It is simply that I haven’t had a good enough opportunity.
As women of substance, we have to be choosy until the right “opportunity” comes along. So until then “it’s no can do”, mister!
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