PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED.
"It's like Mother Nature said,
'Now you just go to your room and shut the door
and think about what you've done!'"
Left is a.... Damn, I cannot think of the name! It begins with a C and it needs its feet in the shade and its head in the sun. Anyhow, I've tried to grow it many times, never survived. This time, it almost died. I watered pretty carefully..... CLEMATIS!....... and look! It's a vine.
So I've been thinking lately about virginity. I think it's because so much seems to be so terribly wrong with our modern world. And my subconscious was delving around, trying to come up with something that seemed like a REAL IMPROVEMENT over the past, anything that could give me unalloyed joy and satisfaction, some improvement that didn't have its evil side. And my subconscious came up with (drumroll please)....
THE TOTAL DEVALUING OF FEMALE VIRGINITY
IN GREAT SWATHS OF THE WORLD!
Needless to say, male virginity has never been prized. For one thing, there's absolutely no way to TELL if a male has had sex or not. For another thing, the virginity requirement is all about men controlling women's bodies so the men don't accidentally end up spending their time and money bringing up another man's children. Of course men can have sex with whoever they want because, if some other man ends up bringing up the first man's children -- so much the better for the first man!
So for thousands of years, women have been threatened with being outcast, without value, if they had sex before they were married. And of course this situation does still pertain in much of the world. And women did and do suffer terribly under the burden of maintaining their virginity or becoming worthless in the eyes of society.
So this has been going on since Patriarchy began, and that's a few thousand years at least. But it kinda screeched to a halt in lot of the world in the mid-20th century when the birth control pill became available and for the first time ever, heterosexual sex could just be about pleasure.
Wait a minute. I'm realizing that widely available and easy birth control THAT WAS USED BY THE WOMAN doesn't NECESSARILY lead to a devaluing of virginity. But it DID lead to what we called at the time The Sexual Revolution.
Well, I can see this is more complex than I thought. But what my subconscious was muttering is that the devaluing of female virginity has been a tremendous advance for women! My life was so much better because my virginity had no value!
Of course, I might have become a lesbian much sooner if I HAD been pressured to remain a virgin. That would have been much more fun than being straight until I was 30. Hmmmmm....
I had a conversation decades ago with a lesbian who had been in the Navy and stationed in Greece. She was there in the 60s. She had a very very wonderful time there because all young Greek women had to preserve their hymens intact for marriage and therefore could not risk having sex with MEN. But they had no qualms about jumping into bed with this gorgeous butch sailor girl.
ANYHOW, now that I'm writing this I can see that this subject is deep, complex and totally beyond my ability to fully explore. Everywhere I look, little tendrils start growing into other areas.
ACTUALLY, female virginity STILL has some value in the lesbian community. If a woman has never had sex with a man, she can be considered a Gold Star Lesbian. And I think that women ARE proud of only having sex with women. I would be. I haven't encountered many Gold Star dykes.
I did have one girlfriend who had never had sexual intercourse with a man. She told me that at one point, she had kind of a kinky playful relationship with a gay male friend. One play session, he had her tied up and he said he was going to ... well, essentially rape her. He seemed serious. She told him, "If you do, you'd better kill me too. Because as soon as I'm untied, I'm going to kill YOU!"
She definitely would have killed him, in my opinion. I guess he thought so too, because he changed his mind. You could certainly call her a Gold Star Lesbian, but she would have scorned the term. She was a Communist. Actually a Trotskyist and a member of the Spartacist League...
But I digress. Or do I?
I'm extremely happy that, by the time I got to college, the sexual revolution was in full swing and virginity was not only a positive thing --- I felt it was TERRIBLE! I was the last girl in my dorm hall to lose her virginity, and I was so ashamed of being backward. I felt like I was carrying my virginity between my legs (which I was) and it weighed forty pounds. I was DISABLED by my virginity! I could hardly walk! And now you will hear a story that, I think, I might be telling for the first time, since Carolyn doesn't remember it, and she's much better at remembering my stories about my life than I am.
THE LOSING OF MY VIRGINITY
We're talking 1964. I started going to Antioch College, which has a job program. Students alternate three months on campus taking classes with three months working what they called a co-op job somewhere in the U.S., throughout the whole year. No summer vacation. After our first quarter on campus, my best friend Bonnie (not her real name but very close to it) and I chose jobs in New York City.
I was a nurse's aide at NYU Hospital. Can't remember what Bonnie's job was. We had a little studio apartment. She slept on the bed, I slept on the couch. I didn't mind. I liked the couch. I was a very naive, privileged girl from Los Angeles encountering the Real World for the first time. Seeing as we wanted to dedicate our spare time to saving that world, we looked for volunteer opportunities. And there it was, right across Central Park: Tutoring underprivileged teenagers and young adults in a community center in East Harlem, every Wednesday evening!
So we trotted over and there they were! Two underprivileged young adults! I was a little disappointed, expecting an entire class. I jumped in to tutoring mode. Truly I have no memory of exactly how or with what book I tutored. I do remember that Bonnie was doing NOTHING! What was her problem? FINALLY I noticed that Bonnie was gesturing madly to me that something was wrong. And the two young men, while seeming VERY eager to learn, were also laughing up their sleeves.
Well. It turned out that the tutoring had been moved to another time. These two "underprivileged young adults" were there for a community meeting which they had organized and were leading. Bob and Solly were important players in the politics of Puerto Rican East Harlem. And they thought Bonnie and I were pretty adorable.
Clearly, Bob was the leader and Solly was the sidekick. Bob picked Bonnie, so I got Solly. He was very good-looking. They both were. And community leaders! How exciting! Bonnie and I forgot all about tutoring the underprivileged. It never crossed our minds again.
Bob and Solly came over to our apartment at some later time, for a kind of double date. We NEVER went out in public with them. It would have been extremely bad for them politically to be seen with two white college girls. (I only understood that later.) They also never invited us over to THEIR houses. Hmmm.... I wonder why not?
At some point, Bonnie requested that I absent myself from our little apartment for the evening, so that Bob could come over and get rid of her virginity. Of course I was willing to acomodate, although envious.
And then it was time to return to Antioch College, in the midst of the green cornfields of Ohio. WELL, every girl in our hall who had not had sex their first quarter at Antioch had damn well taken care of having it on their first co-op job!
Except me. That's when my virginity became an overweight... why did I say 40 pounds? It was 500 pounds of desperate virginity I carried between my legs! No wonder I walked bowlegged!!!
Three months of classes in the cornfields finally passed. Bonnie and I couldn't wait to get back to our ,,,, "boyfriends?" I don't think I ever used that word. There wasn't any connection between Solly and me except our mutual desire to be in bed together. I think Bonnie was really in love. THAT was a real relationship.
So the very first night back in New York City, Solly invited me to sleep over, and we had sex and I lost my virginity. There was a lot of blood, a lot of pain. I don't remember any pleasure.
BUT THE DEED WAS DONE!
I could hold my head up when I returned to Antioch. That was the important thing.
Then, the very next morning, Solly's wife walked into the little love nest. Solly, courageous and loving man that he was, immediately threw on his clothes and left. I never saw him or talked to him again.
So Solly's wife and I were left to face each other. She didn't live in that apartment. They were already separated. They had a three-year-old kid, and Gina wanted a divorce that Solly refused to give her. Gina and I talked for a LONG time. I mean, we really hit it off! We just loved each other. We laughed, we told stories. She told me of her little boy's trouble with asthma, which I also have. Of course, she thought Solly was a complete jerk for not mentioning her. Gina and me, we were really on the same page in so many ways. She was a wonderful human being. Gosh, if only I was a man..... Eventually I bid a fond farewell to Gina and went back across Central Park to my couch to contemplate my newly deflowered status.
In retrospect, it seems strange that I saw no message in that experience that I might learn from. It was another 13 years before I slept with a woman. Better late than never, I always say!