Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Born-again virgins and other sex dwarves

Isn't it nice Sugar and spice Luring disco dollies To a life of vice
Inosensu: Ghost in the Machine 2
Listening to Soft Cell's Sex Dwarf today, my spaghetti bowl brain meandered over to John Mason, wannabe groom to runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks. Mason, you'll recall, declared himself a born-again virgin. Stop snickering. I've heard all the jokes, and none of 'em were very funny. Rather than ridicule the guy, I began to wonder what would drive Mason to take a vow of chastity, and to call himself a "born-again virgin". Ignore for the moment the obvious explanation (he's a newbie born-again Christian, and thinks "born-again" is a way cool adjective), and consider the possibility that maybe he really, truly wants to be a virgin again. And now, ask yourself this question: if you could have it all back in a Samantha Stevens nose-twitch, would you take the offer? Would you recapture your lost innocence?
All of her lovers All talk of her notes And the flowers That they never sent And wasn't she easy And isn't she Pretty in pink The one who insists He was first in the line Is the last to Remember her name
There's a bit in The Rocky Horror Picture Show where Frank-N-Furter sings, "I want to come again," and the audience responds, "So does Brad!" The joke being that Frank-N-Furter has just deflowered not only Janet (Susan Sarandon) but also her beau, Brad (Barry Bostwick), and Brad isn't complaining. Rocky Horror delights in the loss of innocence, and it's not alone. Think of The Graduate, Summer of '42, Dangerous Liaisons, and, for you youngsters, American Pie. Here in America, anyway, we really seem to love cherry-popping. But it's a love-hate relationship. Apparently, we draw the line at single-digit-age homosexual pedophilia; Fox News convicted Jackson even after he'd been acquitted, and that seemed to be the mob's reaction, too. Only the cognoscenti -- like author-lawyer Andrew Vacchs -- seemed unsurprised by the acquittal.
and you shouldn't have to pay for your love with your bones and your flesh...
Loss of innocence isn't necessarily sexual. When Jackson's "little friends" think back to their time at Neverland, what will sting the most -- memories of undercover cuddles (at least), or of their parents, who put them in that position (and for what?) Deflowering is an inadequate metaphor for loss of virginity, which is itself an inadequate metaphor for the loss of innocence. This has nothing to do with sex. It has everything to do with the sudden ejection from childhood's illusory sense of security. Abuse victims lose it in one acid instant. The rest of us lose it by degrees. For me, two moments stand out above all others. The first occurred soon after my high school girlfriend and I broke up. We'd only been together for three years, but at 19, that seemed like forever. There came an evening when we finally said goodbye to one another for good. For keeps. We wouldn't see each other ever again -- quite possible, too, since I was going to college 400 miles away. And I felt like a bird kicked from the nest long before he'd been fledged. The second time: roughly two years later. I'd been with Karen for about a year, and we were sure we'd get married. We had it all planned out -- I'd been accepted to med school at Stanford, and she'd been accepted to Stanford's graduate program in Chemical Physics. We were down in Southern California visiting my parents over Christmas vacation when she got sick. A bit of numbness at her ankle, spreading up her leg. Once she got to the hospital, things happened fast. On the way to X-ray (this was pre-MRI, mind you), a nurse gave her a shot -- "To shrink the tumor," she said. They let me stay with Karen in the hospital room that night, which surprised me since we weren't married and this hospital had a bunch of nuns running around in it. They treated us both really nice. This was scary. I think I had my big moment the following night. The tumor scare had passed, but the diagnoses the doctor tossed around weren't too reassuring (even at that early date, I think MS was fairly high on the list). So we didn't know what was happening, but it seemed increasingly likely that it would not go away anytime soon. That night (don't laugh) it struck me that life wasn't fair. Yup. That was the first time it hit home. It should have hit home a long time before that (another story for another time), but I guess it never did.
She waves She buttons your shirt The traffic Is waiting outside She hands you this coat She gives you her clothes These cars collide
Maybe we focus on the sexual angle because that, at least, is a pleasant (or at least humorous!) memory. And, maybe for some people, the loss of virginity does equate with the loss of innocence. But for me, and I suspect for most people, loss of innocence meant coming to terms with the real world. I wouldn't take that innocence back no matter how much you paid me -- because it would only mean having to lose it all over again. John Mason: abstain all you like. You can't regain your flower. You wouldn't want to. D.


Blogger Jona said...

The other day I wrote a long blog entry about the way I cope and live with bad things. I didn’t post it and I’m glad, because your post is considerably more coherent. Whilst I can’t disagree with you, I’m not going to agree either, or elaborate.

Thank you for sharing.

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