Born-Again Virgin

by Sam Romano

artwork by Anna Anonima

Well it's officially official. I've been saved! I've been saved from cooties and hurt feelings and catastrophic disappointment. Yes, my friends, I've become a born-again virgin!!! At 28 and single yet again, I think it's time to hang up the old birth control and give celibacy a chance. After all, men suck. But I'm not bitter.

No, instead of bitterness, I've decided on action. Or inaction. My bestest friend and I had our own born-again virgin ceremony the other night. After cleansing our souls of all the hurts and traumas sex (and men) have brought us, we bashed in a chocolate-filled penis piñata (wouldn't it be nice if a man did spout chocolate??? It would make the whole blow-job thing so much more palatable), and then we securely locked our chastity belts and threw away the keys. It was all quite cathartic. Hallmark should make cards for such events:

"Dearest Friend...It warms my heart to know you've embraced the Good and Righteous path. I'm happy that you have given up your whore-ish ways. Hope it's not because you caught something. Always remember to just say no."


It was a bittersweet moment for me, throwing away that key. I mean, I've always rather enjoyed sex in a relationship. Hell, in some cases, that's all there was to it, even if it lasted for months. But let's face it. Men suck. And I have proof. Let's start at the beginning...

First there was Jamie, my best friend until about fourth grade. He lived a couple of houses down, and until one fateful neighborhood baseball game, we were inseparable. We played dolls together (his mother, wishing her only child had been a girl, made sure he had any number of cool "girly" toys, including a much-coveted Cabbage Patch Kid); we had imaginary friends together; we even made weekly outings to Chuck E. Cheese together, where, in fact, a kid can be a kid. But as with all good things, it came to an end. We had a spat at a baseball game that ended with him punching me in the mouth and cutting my lip. Game over. I didn't speak to him again until his wedding last year. Hey, if nothing else, he taught me how to hold a grudge. Let's hope his new relationship doesn't end with his wife nursing a fat lip.

But even before my tempestuous end with Jamie, there was Joey D., my one true love. I first laid eyes on him in second grade as we passed in the hall. A heavenly light shown down upon him as a choir of angels sang his praises. His thick, dark hair and his beautiful, brown eyes immediately drew me in, and I spent much of grade school trying to catch his eye. My love for him grew by leaps and bounds each year, even more so because he actually spoke to me with a certain degree of kindness, even when I was the dorkiest of the class. He even complimented the size of my rack when we were in eighth grade (that was a compliment, right????). So finally, after years of unrequited prepubescent lust, I worked up the nerve to ask him to dance at our graduation dance.

And what a wonderful three minutes and 33 seconds that was! The Damn Yankees screeched "High Enough." Ahhh...could any hair band have summed up that experience better? "Let me take you higher!!!" droned in the background while he held me close and commented on how good I smelled. Right on! Now I KNOW that one was a compliment! "Please, Joey D., please take me higher!!!" I told him telepathically. He must have understood, for in a moment of pure joy and ecstasy, he planted my first kiss on me. Schwing! Yes, Joey D.! Yes! You did take me higher! Even now I get all oogy just thinking about it.

Alas, that was as high as he was going to take me. The following evening, at Mikey N's graduation party, I was in for my first taste of the bitter part of bittersweet love. Knowing Joey D. would be there, I decked myself out in my most vampish clothes to entice and seduce my new suitor. My best friend Theresa and I arrived early and eagerly awaited his arrival. We sipped our pop, suffered through Mikey N's booty warrior interpretation of "Can't Touch This," but I could not find Joey D. Finally, I heard Ted Nugent crooning in the background. It's our song! My heart all aflutter, I knew my one true love was surely nearby!

And he was. With Beth. Beth!!!! The Betty Boop of our class! A nice girl...pretty, but dumb as a slug. And you know what??? He was making out with her in the corner. To OUR SONG!!! Bastard!

Even through high school when Joey D.'s looks (though not his popularity) began to fade, I loved him eternally, though the sting of that night still hasn't really faded. Senior year, we had a biography assignment that required him to interview me in my bedroom (Get your minds out of the gutter. It wasn't that kind of interview!). I was giddy when I realized he'd be interviewing me. When he was in my room, he said, "Gee, Sam. You really are the perfect girl. How come we never dated???" My heart literally did a flip flop as I replied, "Well, Joey D., we still could." Oh wait. But he already had a girlfriend...a Hawkette who was at the pinnacle of all high school social circles. Though I had improved my social lot significantly since junior high, I knew I couldn't compete. Bummer.

I still think about Joey D. and wonder what he's up to these days. Heard he's quite successful, living in Milwaukee, and has lost most of his hair. Sad. He always had the best hair. Are you out there Joey D.? I'm still free, ya know. Oh, but wait...I threw away the darn key to my chastity belt. This thing's beginning to chafe a bit.

I'll skip over Jason, my high school "boyfriend." I didn't really like him, and he didn't really like me. But he gets an honorable mention for "dumping" me two weeks before senior prom to take one of my friends instead. I still managed to find a date though, you dumb fuck! So there!

Now we come to the college years, a time when I really wish I'd had this darn chastity belt. First there was Rob. I have nothing bad to say about him. He was handsome and sweet and super intelligent. And I dumped him to pursue my ill-fated Greco-Roman romance. Go figure. Rob, you're most certainly making some girl a very lucky woman. Too bad it's not me.

Ah, George. He is and shall evermore be what Mandy and Karen refer to as the "cockroach of love." He was the first guy I ever slept with (I'd come close before with Rob but never had a chance to seal that deal. Too bad, really. I'd much prefer an upstanding guy to have taken my maidenhead. C'est la vie.)

I honestly don't speak much about the details of my relationship with the Cockroach. I'm not even sure that my bestest friends know exactly what happened, other than the fact that he's a cheating bastard. It's all too painful. Perhaps I'll write more about it one day. Let's just say that 3.5 years of courtship and undying love on my part ended abruptly one fateful night when I stopped by his apartment unexpectedly to find him fucking one of my closest "friends." A married "friend," no less. Game over. For both of them.

We'll skip over the revenge sex I had with my "friend's" soon-to-be-ex husband. While it seemed fun for the 20 minutes or so that it lasted, I just ended up feeling even crappier afterwards. And really, we didn't have all that much fun anyway. What becomes of the brokenhearted? They fuck people they don't really like and hate themselves even more afterwards, that's what.

Following months of depression and binge eating, there was Chett, a trusted friend all through my college years. I harbored a secret crush on Chett while with the Cockroach, but once we were together, I realized Chett was much like a Labrador. He was fun and energetic and always showed me a great time, both in and out of bed. But you really couldn't trust him to not chew the furniture or pee in the middle of the bed. He was just that dumb.

And on top of his dumbness was his "psycho" ex. After stalking me for a few weeks, in her last desperate ploy to grab his attention, she wrapped her car around the light pole outside of his firehouse, knowing he'd be caring for her in her injured state. And after that demonstration of her psychosis, he says to me, "What the fuck did you say to her???" Moi???

Looking back, maybe it was my fault. I didn't feel sympathetic towards her in any way. In fact, I thought she was pathetic. I'd not yet developed any true cynicism or bitterness where the menfolk were concerned. Maybe I'm now at where she was then, only instead of wrapping myself around a tree, I've locked up my hoo hoo. Did I mention this thing is a little itchy? TMI, I know.

After the most unfortunate demise of my relationship with Chett, I toyed with becoming a born-again virgin for nearly two solid years. It was quite liberating, really. No worries about unwanted cooties, or even worse, unwanted babies.

Instead, I focused my sexual energies in more productive ways. I worked my butt off in grad school. I toiled away at two part-time jobs and still managed to make some invaluable friends along the way. Then it was on to the real world, where I found myself a real job and bought myself a flashy new car. I was finally in a "good" spot, and I realized I didn't need no stinking boy to be happy. I resolved that the next man to get in my pants would be the man I married.

And then came PP. After an awkward first date, we kinda clicked. We had very different backgrounds and different interests, yet we had a lot of fun together. So soon enough, my two years of born-again virginity were out the window. Tee hee! And what fun we had. We were like rabbits!

Until he forgot my birthday. Didn't even acknowledge it, though we'd already been together months. Then he hardly even apologized for not remembering. When Forgetful Jones and I had *the* talk, "We're just casual! So let's fuck!" he said. Not wishing a return to the celibate life, I said, "OK." So we fucked. And we fucked. And then we fucked some more. And it was all very good for almost 1.5 years. I thought I was handling things so well.

February 13, VD Eve 2004. I played his game. I convinced myself I felt nothing more than friendship for my fuck buddy. It's just sex, right? I even convinced myself that his "we need to talk" statement that morning was a good thing. (That, of course, had nothing to do with his frequent and loud protestations that I'm being paranoid and that it was nothing bad). Could he possibly want to commit?

In a word--NO.

After handing me a VD gift (notice how VD could easily stand for "venereal disease"??? I'm just saying...) and a card professing his undying friendship, he asked if I was okay with our "arrangement" as friends. And no, I really wasn't, but at that point, what am I supposed to say? My spidey senses telling me the whole "friend" thing was not a good sign, he told me how he'd started dating some ho from his new job. The job I found him when his sorry ass got canned from his other job.

The level of hurt I felt at this point surprised even me, and I did what I swore I'd *never* ever EVER let any man see me do. I let him see me cry. For several hours. Not even the Cockroach ever had that satisfaction, and we were talking marriage there! And then I told PP to have a nice life. For a while at least.

He'd email now and again and reopen up all the wounds that were so newly healed. For nine months, I ignored him. For nine lonely months I tried convincing myself that I didn't love this man who seemed so sweet and perfect for me in so many ways. But as with anything, my hurt and anger subsided, and I finally responded to one of his inquiries. I agreed to meet him. Dumbass.

And in the moment I saw him, I remembered why I loved him so very much. So what if he'd fucked four other girls in during our nine-month "break," and one of them was claiming he was her baby daddy? So what if he treated me like a second-class "friend" for the entire year and a half we were together before? He said he'd seen the light. He wanted to get the band back together. He'd grown up. He'd realized that I was the best thing that had ever happened to him and that he'd do anything to get me back. And I believed him. Dumbass.

I took him back, telling myself we'd take things slow. He did and said all the right things: came out to meet the friends and family on occasion, told me how pretty I am (and scored major brownie points in doing so), reminded me how much his life sucked without me in it, and then he did something unforgiveable. He made me start thinking about a married life with him. Made me...gasp...start thinking I wanted children. The horror! The horror!

No, in all my 28 years, nothing about the drooling, vomiting, pooping, germ-laden mongrels ever seemed appealing. Nothing. But I could I see myself having a couple of them with him? Why yes, yes I could.

And then, one fateful night, just as suddenly as it all began, it all ended. He started acting like a jerk again, blowing me off for his trailer-park friends. The night before I started a great new job, a job he knew I was incredibly stressed about, he said something so incredibly cruel that it still makes me sob a month later as I write it.

"I love you. Just not as much as you love me."

If you do say so yourself, asshole.

And at that moment, I was saved. I knew my path, the path of The Good and Righteous...the path of born-again virginity. I bought my chastity belt the next day, resolving to never open it ever ever again. I have vowed to just say "no." Except maybe if Joey D. finds that darn key...