While in NYC, I saw something that I've never seen before-- the New York-centric portions of the Sunday New York Times. I found this article, called "Big Smirk on Campus", about a college that was considering starting a club for virgins. Yeah. Club for virgins.
As you may know, I'm not crazy about the word "virgin". Even if we tried, I doubt we could ever divorce it from its strong connotations of religiosity and morality. Even though (I would like to think) I possess these things, they have nothing to do with my lack of sexual experience. I'm sure the same is true for many sexual people of a certain age who haven't had sex as well. In my ideal world, virginity would not be so important that it would necessitate its own label. Even so, it bothered me that this article didn't take the proposed virginity club seriously, even though the school paper's editor called it “the biggest story we broke all semester,”. But what bothered me much more than that was the implication (at least, in my reading) that a guy with a leather jacket and a cigarette, obvious signifiers of "cool" for the author, couldn't possibly be a virgin. He couldn't even be virgin-friendly. It begs the questions: How are the college-aged virgins styling themselves these days? Sweater sets? White robes? Well, there's always that asexual guy from Shortland Street who rocked the "Extra Virgin" t-shirt. ("It's not what you think it is!" Smirk! Wink!)
Anyway, the idea that virgins are somehow identifiable isn't unique. I can't find it anymore, but OkCupid once had a "Virgin Game" where you were shown pictures of different users and had to guess who was a virgin. For the record, I tried it and got a fairly low score. Maybe if there was a different word for "virgin", one that had less baggage, the idea that people could somehow "tell" would be less scary. (Right up there with actually being one.) Last night, thinking of this topic, I tried to spot out virgins on the train I was riding. As you might expect, it was an impossible task. Virgins are among us, and they look just like you and me! The horror!