Pure as a Shriven Ho
I speak of Purity Proms (or Purity Balls, which calling them that is, in my opinion, just asking for trouble…).
These are events, apparently occurring chiefly in the hinterlands or benighted red-state metropoli, that involve young girls getting dolled up like hookers in what passes for prom finery these days, donning tinsel crowns and being escorted by their fathers to a full-on wedding-reception-level event.
Where they take a vow to their date, their FATHER, to stay “pure” until marriage. Can you say “Electra complex”, boys and girls? How about “Agamemnon”?
I don’t know about you, but this reeeeeally makes my skin crawl. My own father and I never EVER discussed such things, because we would both have burst blood vessels and died on the spot of mortal embarrassment. In fact, even my mother and I didn’t actually ever talk about sex. When I turned 11 or 12, I was hastily, and with no further elaboration, handed a little booklet published by Modess, the big-name sanitary-napkin maker of the day, that purported to Explain It All to me.
Uh-HUH. So well and so tastefully did it explain things that for about three years thereafter I was of the unshakable belief that one had to go into a hospital to have sex—mental images of anesthetized people lying side by side on gurneys being clinically and briskly fitted together by medical personnel. (Which actually may be some people’s idea of sex, now I think of it.)
Oh, and you had to be married, of course, to do this. And the word “sex” was never used. I’ve blocked out what they did call it, apparently.
(I swear I’m not making this up…I only learned otherwise when I sneaked a read of one of the modern novels my mom hid in the bottom drawer of the bureau. “Peyton Place,” maybe, or “Ten North Frederick.” What a surprise.)
Times, thankfully, have changed. But maybe not so much as we like to think, considering these “purity” parties.
One clearly brain-damaged male parent actually blustered that if his daughters had premarital sex, they’d be damaged goods, and how could he possibly give them away to another man with a clear conscience, so he was glad they’d promised him to stay virginal (though that word was never used in any form).
Dear Goddess! Testosterone poisoning much? IDIOT much??? And what about asking his SONS to stay pure and not go out busting virgins (and then complaining that they can't find any virgins to marry)? Aren't they damaged goods too?
First off, how many girls did HE get it on with before he married (he admits he did, so there it is)? Did he feel no guilt or compunction at “damaging” “goods” that would later be handed off to some other guy? ’Course he didn’t!
Moreover, his daughters are not slaves or pieces of property to be “given” to someone. A woman gives herself, in sex, love or marriage. True, most of us hope she doesn’t do the sex thing until she’s an adult in a loving relationship and knows what it means, married or not, and that she’s not caving to peer pressure and doing it joylessly when she’s 13 because some pimply over-hormonal young hound pushes her into it. (Studies of sexually active early-teen-age girls indicate that they are almost without exception nonorgasmic, because they don’t know what to expect or do or demand and they’re just not ready for real sexual participation. And thanks to idiot parents and school districts and Republicans, they probably haven’t had any kind of sex education to help them out.)
And what double-standard crap is this about “damaged goods” anyway? Are MEN with premarital sexual experience “damaged goods”? No. They’re “sexual partners who know what they’re about and aren’t clueless fumbling selfish idiots”. Haven’t we finally gotten past the virgin/whore thing? Knock it off!
Also, 90% of the girls who make such pledges break them. NINETY PERCENT.
And 100% of them are never given any sound advice on sexual matters. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Abstinence is presented as the only possible way to go. And abstinence is no bad thing, on many levels and in many situations. It just shouldn’t be presented as the only thing.
Because when it is, you know these kids’re just gonna go find out about sex the worst way possible: and not from a little Modess brochure or racy novel, either. No, they’ll go to their skeevy friends, or to the Internet, or just wing it.
And they’ll end up with STDs and babies at 15 and their lives in ruins. Because, in the name of some spurious and antiquated concept of “purity,” their parents utterly, horribly, failed to protect them from the real dangers of sexual ignorance.
And the only ones these girls should be making promises to are themselves.
In an unrelated incident, two girls in Westchester County NY were suspended the other day for saying the word “vagina” while reading a school-sponsored presentation of “The Vagina Monologues,” in defiance of the principal, who had ordered them not to say that, you know, v-word.
Eve Ensler, the author of the play, promptly lauded the girls for their behavior. The school authorities, backpedaling so fast you couldn’t see their feet move, equally promptly claimed the girls were punished for “disobeying” the order they’d been given not to say the word, not for saying the word itself. Huh??
It’s more like prior restraint than censorship, anyway. And we authors don’t take kindly to that…
Maybe we should all take our cue from glorious Dr. Bailey on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and from now on just call it “va-jay-jay.”