On Virginity

Firstly, I must apologize – I said I would only post on topics submitted by readers this month and I haven’t done a good job at all of that.  I got a bunch of great topics though, so just keep your eyes peeled for them (I try to keep close to my word).  But recent conversations got me thinking about the nature of virginity in current society and the stigmas and such.  Because it’s 3am, expect me to ramble a bit.  But I’ll try to keep it concise.

First, some brief remarks and an anecdote.  1) I’m not a virgin – so this isn’t purely theoretical without knowledge of the removal of the “virgin condition” (I’ll explain why I call it a condition later).  2) Ludacris has a new song out called “First Time” that got me thinking about mine and (the more pertinent issue here) why it was an important event in my life.  3) I’m working on a small essay called, “Blowjobs and Basslines” for a sex magazine in St. Louis, so perhaps this will spur me on to…well, finish the job (pun intended).  Now for the anecdote…

As a young man of roughly 11 or 12, I was a pretty smart kid.  I was fairly culturally aware that I was a boy, and soon I’ll be really dealing with girls and doing the whole dating thing.  This is all before I came to find out that my dating customs are way too old fashioned for this generation, but that’s another discussion for another time.  Nevertheless, I knew that girls were fast approaching on the horizon and I (like a young thinker would) needed a plan of attack for my general dealings with girls who I might be interested in.  Having watched stuff like The Real World and whatever else was on TV in the late 90’s (which included Saved By The Bell, Family Matters, Simpsons, etc.), I could tell there was a lot of importance on this whole “sex” thing.  More importantly, that the older you are, the more sex one should be having.  And that these are events that mark a person’s life – the first time you drive, the first time you drink, the first time you go to a party, your first kiss, and your first time having sex.  Apparently, these are the events that mark a young person’s life.  Knowing all of this, I decided to lay down some ground rules for myself –

1) Don’t say “I love you” to a girl just to mess around with her (something always felt wrong about that – I was a Kantian long before I’d even heard of him!).

2) Only get intimate (at that time, it meant kiss and show interest on a stronger level) with a girl I had some type of legit feelings for. Controlling one’s urges was important then to me also.

3) Make sure she’s always comfortable because I can get in trouble if she’s not (I’m really referring to buyer’s remorse cases – I knew back then that you don’t take it because something is also wrong about that).

4) I want to be wanted. Felt like a fair request at the time too – I don’t wanna be a default guy, I want her to like me too.

So those were my basic ground rules.  Turns out, that’s NOT what I’m “supposed” to be doing.  I also had feelings of only really dealing with one girl at a time but I never made that a no-no to deal with multiple girls at one time.  But it always felt a little off to, for some reason.  With those rules in place, I felt like I was in a good position to mix and mingle and all.  Enter puberty, teenage awkwardness, a lack of a true predator instinct in social situations amongst other things and while my rules were all well and good, I had no chance at really getting in there and mixing it up, so to speak.  A few other things came up also – I didn’t really like any of the girls I’d met or kicked it with; they were attractive but I wasn’t trying to get intimate unless it was with someone who mattered – as an example.  Some might call it a copout, but I held tightly to these principles because I felt like they were the right way to go about things.  For the record, I still more or less adhere to these principles (the new caveat is that if I’m drunk, all bets are off and I can live with that).  Either way, with that framework in place I just wasn’t getting after it like I’d imagined.

Bombarding my teenage years are, of course, the curse of being a virgin.  So (nearly 800 words in), I’ll try to break it down a little bit.  In my estimation, being a virgin is nothing more than a social affliction for guys.  This is for a boatload of reasons, including the idea that women are things to be conquered and it’s a ritual for one’s manhood to be affirmed by conquering a female at the appropriate age, but nevertheless it’s a social affliction.  It’s embarrassing to be the virgin for a few reasons also, including the fact that between the ages of 15-19, the bulk of conversation tends to revolve around sex.  So, if you’re like me (and I imagine you’re pretty damn rare), and you felt like getting physical needs to be with someone you like (let me reiterate – I never wanted to wait to do anything until marriage.  I just wanted to have feelings of some sort for the girl.), and your friends, hell your culture looks at you like you’re crazy?  It can become overwhelming at times.  It becomes an ideology; a myth that gets perpetrated through time and affirmed through its own perpetration.  The myth is that guys need to be having sex, particularly before you go off to college.  Gotta get the training wheels off at some point, right?

I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who lost their virginity before college.  I was lucky enough to date a girl towards the end of high school who was the first girl I genuinely cared about, and we were comfortable to fool around with one another but neither of us were ready at that time to do anything more than what we did (which wasn’t much, for the record – and that’s a good thing in hindsight).  And to be honest, I felt pretty well ashamed.  As it were, only the losers and social misfits couldn’t get laid before they go to college.  And only bigger losers couldn’t get laid while in college.  I was torn – the principles I believed in (and came up with independent of parents or siblings influencing me) just weren’t right for the social paradigm that I had to engage in, combined with growing carnal urges (which included a Friday where I refused to socialize because I was going to lust after every woman I saw and I didn’t want to be that guy) made it harder to maintain.  Not to mention the peer pressure to just go and have that fun was there.  It really did seem like a rite of passage that, at least your freshman year, you bring a girl back to the room and have sex.  I failed in that ritual, which only piled onto the embarrassment.  If I couldn’t pull this off in the cesspool of the AUC (where you come for the legacy and leave with some booty), when in the hell was this going to happen?

This chronicles me up to my freshman year – feeling socially retarded for the decisions I made (and to be fair, I was and still am socially awkward.  I didn’t give myself much of a chance.) and really feeling behind the social curve.  Take a panel of random, sexually active women and ask them if they’d like to have sex with a virgin.  By and large, the answer is “no,” because virgins don’t know what they’re doing and are prone to quick nuts, leaving the woman without any pleasure of her own.  Which are both fair complaints.  So as I got older, I felt the pressure from both sides – from my male peers because it’s a cultural rite of passage, and from my female peers because one needs to have had experience in these matters in order to do well – practice makes perfect, so to speak.  Such is the life of a young man who is afflicted with the pre-existing condition of virginity.

Conditions are those things that can be diagnosed (and things that can be diagnosed usually aren’t good).  Take a RPG (Role-playing game), for example.  Condition spells are those that do something to the opponent (usually) that wears down the opponent or weakens him.  Spells like Poison, Slow, Confuse are conditions you put on the opponent to mess them up and make your fight easier.  Why do I mention this?  Because I haven’t played a RPG in a long time and miss them (I used to use RPGMaker2k3 and design my own little games as a creative outlet, which no doubt didn’t help with my social awkwardness), and because one’s virginity often feels like a spell that’s been cast upon you.  Spells can’t be blocked – you can’t help your virginity (at least, at first).  After a couple of turns, you should be able to cast a spell of your own or use a healing item to cure the spell, right?  Many of us do this because we don’t like the rest of the party (to continue in the RPG metaphor) to be able to battle while we’re dragging the party down.  But sometimes you just don’t have any more potions left in the bag.  Sometimes it’s better for you to suffer through those turns because, quite frankly, you’ve got no other choice other than to wait it out and hope the spell wasn’t an extremely strong one.

So if you’ve followed the metaphor thus far, then you can see why I call virginity a condition.  Socially, at least.  But one’s social paradigm does get ingested and maintained – I see no way around that.  But, the simplest response to all of this is, “Well, Mr. Philosopher, you chose those principles.  You could’ve been fucking a long time ago.”  Right you are, hedonist #1, but just because I can does not mean I should.  That aside, I held an importance on intimacy that dissolved long ago more than likely.  But this doesn’t take away from my larger point – that it is viewed as something to get rid of, for whatever reason, like a growing child sheds baby teeth.

A brief aside before I continue; the act itself wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  I still don’t see sex as something grandiose, which is the other end of the spectrum.  The heightened anticipation for losing one’s virginity is always amplified by the talk, the buzz, the fascination with sex that teens have.  The first description for my question of, “What’s it like?” that I remember was from a very good friend of mine: “It feels like your dick is swimming in a warm pool.”  While intrigued by that description, I had no idea what it meant.  And intrigue into the inevitable unknown made it that much more of an imperative to find out what this sex thing is.

Over the years, I’ve stuck to my guns (against my better judgment sometimes) and held pretty tightly to those principles.  Others have just gotten luckier (pun intended) with similar principles and meeting a good person and etc.  I have no regrets about the circumstances in which I lost my virginity, the same woman who I lost it to had said she was proud of me for being a virgin for as long as I was.  And that backwards compliment felt like a slap to the face, ironically enough.  That’s how much of a condition virginity was.  It was like congratulating a special ed kid for staying in the special ed course.

The pressure to perform is barreling from a billion different angles when it comes to virginity (and yes, I’m aware of the pressures on women but this one was more about virginity in general and if in specifics, for males.  Though in retrospect the pressures are fairly similar with an ironic similarity being that no man really wants a virgin for the same reason no woman does – the experience, or lack thereof, factor).  Did it feel good to have that social stigma removed?  Yes.  Did I feel like more of a man afterwards?  Nope.  Take that for whatever it’s worth, but I’ll close with (for all you virgins out there) the advice given to me when I was on my way to lose my virginity:

“…Barry Bonds that ass!”

Tables Turned – Coach Interviews Mr. Philosopher

I did an interview with a blogging college buddy of mine last night (Click HERE to read it) but the Coach also wanted to interview me.  So in a very raw format (because I REALLY don’t pull my punches here), you can kill two birds with one stone – check out a good blog AND check out some inner musings of my own.  It’s always kind of fun to be interviewed, but I probably put my foot in my mouth a few times.  And trust me, there’s some humor in there (note the Blackademics rant for the humor…though I maintain there’s truth to my humorous rant).

One of my favorite lines: “But I’m a bit hot blooded and so I’m worried.  But I’d be open to speaking and bein on radio and other stuff but don’t be surprised if you hear that I popped off on someone. lol”

Click HERE to go to Coach Says and check out the interview.

Blog Spotlight: Tuesday, Midnight

Only because I have read some of this blogger’s work (that’s a sarcastic comment because I know her) am I happy to shine the spotlight on her blog (though for the record, the two of us started our respective blogs around the same time and have roughly the same numbers, go figure).  A  philosopher (who I call my “white, female doppelganger” due to just how eerily similar we are) who writes damn well regarding a few different topics makes me recommend people to visit Tuesday, Midnight.  She’s got a way with words, and while shooting from the hip (a trait I appreciate in people), she weaves between topics and opens you into what’s going on in her world – which gives insight into what’s going on in your world, ironically enough.  The posts aren’t terribly long (for those of you who don’t like to sit and read, even if it’s good writing), and the content is more than enough food for thought.  A couple of recent posts to give you a feel for her style and content:

The Best Policy; a piece regarding the ambiguity of honesty (we say we want it when we really don’t and other musings),

Good Luck With That; a piece on how the old adage of “hard work pays off” isn’t quite right in explaining how things really happen (and for those of you who like to comment on things, this one is definitely comment-worthy in a good way).

I’m slightly biased because I think she’s a cool person in general, but truthfully if you enjoy my blog, you’ll more than enjoy hers.  And for you philosophy nuts out there, yes, she brings in philosophical concepts/precepts/philosophers – but this isn’t a “philosophy blog.”  It’s a blog by a philosopher.  So she also has videos and pop culture commentary-type stuff (posts about JD Salinger’s death and Brittany Murphy’s death come to mind).  Perhaps in the near future I’ll bring her on down to this blog and interview her about the why’s of her blog, but for now be content to enjoy good writing that will make you think.

Tuesday, Midnight

Interview With The Kick Ass Coach

So instead of pushing out a bunch of me yapping, I thought I’d do something new for a change – spotlight a few blogs that deserve traffic and interview their hosts.  Tonight’s interview installment comes from the man who runs Coach Says – a blog that ranges from the hilarious to the serious to the (most obvious) sporting world.  Justin Ford (J. Ford, to many), has been blogging for months and is one of many Morehouse alums of recent years to blog.  Ford’s always been a cool guy (we both started at MHC in 2005, living in the best dorm on campus, Graves Hall, and graduated on time in 2009), so it’s good to be able to get after his blogging (and other) interests.  Is this….philosophical?  Read on, but my answer is yes.  So the first installment in the Blogging Spotlight Interviews comes from The Coach himself.

MP – Mr. Philosopher
JF – J. Ford

MP: Let’s get some background info.

JF: I was born in South Miami.  I spent my younger years in Miami and my teens in Hollywood, Florida. (in between MIA and Ft. Lauderdale).  I went to morehouse, I was the 7th in my family to go.  Graduated last year and am trying to get into an MBA in Sports Administration program and I’ll be starting coaching bball this year as well.

MP: What do you blog about?

JF: I blog about pretty much anything that strikes me at the time. Usually it’s sports, comedy, new music, even politics.  I’ll put one post up because I feel a certain way about health care reform, and the next will be a funny video about something not nearly as important.  I just want people to enjoy what I enjoy, cause I have an eery sense of wanting to help people enjoy themselves.

MP: What got you bloggin’?

JF: One of the best things about Morehouse was the conversations in Chivers Hall and the cafe.  I enjoy talking about any and everything.  When I came back home, I realized that there wasn’t anybody I could talk to here about the things that interested me.  Everybody was on the Plies wavelength, and I was on the Andre 3000 one.  So I decided to take it to the net, and anybody who felt like I felt could read my blog and enjoy it, and everybody who didn’t could go to mediatakeout or tmz or perezhilton or sumthin.  lol

MP: What do you consider to be your best post?

JF: Man idk probably my Dec 9, 2009 post “Mos Def & Jay Electronica Call out Jay Z.”  Thas the first one that came to mind But there’s many very good posts. I try to give quality stuff.

MP: Why was it your best post?

JF: I guess cause it was very comprehensive.  There was a lot of almost exclusive information.  And I think wut I wrote was prolly not getting much play in hip hop but was interesting.  But there’s prolly a few better, that was just off the top of my head.  I’m prolly like 150 posts deep now..

MP: What’s the goal of the blog?

JF: There are a few.  Sometimes it is to lighten people’s day and give them something to laugh about.  Sometimes it’s to talk about my passion which is sports.  Sometimes it’s about more serious issues.  I’ve been through alot in 23 short years and through the blog I can help others who may be goin through what I have, through thought, opinion, or even (and most importantly) laughter…

MP: How’d you choose the title?

JF: Well Aaron Rhodan, member of Blind I For The Kids, a friend named Mac from Morehouse, fellow Coach Says blogger BP and myself all took nicknames for some random “we’re bored and it’s college” reason lol.  Aaron was “Lil Quad,” Mac was “Xerox,” BP was “Fudd,” and I was “Coach.”  I think cause I act like a coach all the time. So my blog is just what Coach has to say, hence “Coach Says.” lol.

MP: Do you feel like you’ve accomplished your goal at all with regards to the blog?

JF: Idk I doubt many people read it as of now because it’s only a few months old.  But my goal wasn’t really to have huge traffic although I wouldn’t mind that.  My goal was to lighten people’s day.  Make em laugh.  Enjoy themselves for a couple minutes.  A few people have told me they do so I guess I have…Sometimes it’s just for me to use as an outlet when I wanna scream or rant as well.  In that case it does meet its goal.

MP: What do you want for the future of the blog?

JF: I want guest bloggers and contributing writers so it’s not just what I think coming across in the posts but others as well.  I want to do more interviews and put more opinion posts up.  Kinda like what you are doing on yours.

(Note: I do plan on being a guest blogger for Coach Says, so be on the lookout.)

MP: Sports teams you follow for the record since you’re The Coach?

JF: I am a fan of the Oakland Raiders, Florida Marlins, Miami Heat, and MOST OF ALL THE U. The University of Miami (all sports)…

He really is a diehard fan of tha U.

MP: What do you plan to do with the MBA and business stuff?

JF: Three things. I want to eventually either become an AD at a D1 school or a GM in the NFL/NBA. And I also want to coach. And (a brother can dream) I would love to own an NFL franchise before I die…

MP: Anything else you wanna add?

JF: My new quote to live by: All that I’m after is a life full of laughter.  I think thas the only way I’ll be happy.  Keep laughin and keep others laughing…

And there you have it.  He is funny as hell and is a straight shooter (on all topics), so if you visit my blog you should definitely visit his.  Visit Ford’s blog by clicking: Coach Says

Interview With Mr. Philosopher

About a week ago, I got interviewed by the University of Memphis newspaper, the Daily Helmsman, regarding this very blog and what I’ve been after in doing this blog and where I see it going.  Go to the Daily Helmsman’s site to read the interview (which I was flattered and very happy to do), but here’s a quote from the piece that I really enjoyed saying:

The whole time, I just wanted people to resonate on some issues and push people’s thinking,” Torrey said. “I wanted them to think outside the box and expand their horizons, but not necessarily in an offensive way.

Again, CLICK HERE to read the article.  And see, I’m not overtly trying to offend.