Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Ballad of the 40 Year-Old Virgin

If you’ve been following my blog for a while (and really, who hasn’t?) you may have noticed the title “40 Year Old Virgin, Father of Two.” And you may have thought, “Well, he’s talked about being a father, but what’s all this about the virgin thing?” Well, here you go:

You may be asking yourself, “How exactly does someone become a 40 year-old virgin?” Well, it’s pretty simple: don’t have sex until you are 40 years old.

I’m sure some of you are thinking: that’s not quite as easy as it sounds. Some of you couldn’t make it past age 13. Some of you ducked under the bleachers or climbed into the back seat. Some of you got a hotel room for after the prom. Some of you experimented in college. (A lot of you experimented in college.) Some of you got drunk and didn’t know what happened. Some of you wanted to save yourself for marriage, but didn’t quite make it. Some of you wanted to save yourself for marriage, but then got so horny you ended up marrying someone who wasn’t right for you, just so you could have sex. And some of you saved yourself for marriage and actually married the right person. But, there is no way most of you could have made it to forty.

But for the 0.000001% of us that made it to forty, it probably wasn’t that difficult. I can’t speak for all of the 40 year-old virgins, but I know in my experience there were several factors working in my favor. (That’s “working in favor” of me maintaining my virginity. Or, “working against” me ever being able to have sex. Whichever way you want to look at it.) Here are some of those virgin factors:

1) I'm shy. If I’m in a large group of people, my preference would be to just blend in with the wall. My philosophy being if I don’t say anything in front of a bunch of people, then I won’t say anything stupid or embarrassing in front of a bunch of people. The bad part of this philosophy is that it’s hard to get noticed by women if you never do anything noticeable.

2) I'm not particularly attractive. If you are good looking enough, women will be attracted to you no matter what you do or say. (Or even what you don't do or say.) I am not that good looking. (I’m not particularly ugly, either. My thought is that if you were to gather 50 men at random, I would not be one of the ten most attractive, nor would I be one of the ten least attractive. I would be one of those 30 non-descript guys in the middle.)

C) I'm a nerd. How much of a nerd? Well, I have a large comic book collection, and I’ve been to more than one Star Trek convention. (You can go to one Star Trek convention and say you are just there to make fun of the nerds, but if you go to more than one convention, you’re not fooling anyone.) And, did I mention that I didn’t have sex until I was 40? (‘Nuff said.)

4) I'm socially inept. Over the years there were times when, despite the overwhelming odds against it, women were actually attracted to me. Only I was too dense (stupid) to notice until days, months, or even years later. (Once, in high school, a girl I kinda liked actually asked me out. I couldn’t go with her because of a scheduling conflict with a family vacation. But, it wasn’t until years later that it dawned on me that she probably liked me, and the smart thing for me to do when I got back from the family trip would be to ask her out. I didn’t. I’m an idiot.)

5) I'm a Mormon. Mormons are taught, at a very young age, that having sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage is one of the absolute worst sins you can commit. (Just behind murder for seriousness.) Add that to all the other virgin factors listed above, and I was figuratively scared to death of girls. (Not literally, or I would actually be dead.)

6) I'm from a small town. I’m from rural Southeast Idaho. (As opposed to metropolitan, urban Southeast Idaho.) The town I’m from, Arimo, has a population of about 300 people. There was literally one girl my age in the whole town. (Yes, literally.) They had to bus five towns together to get enough kids to make up a high school. At least 80% of the high school population was also Mormon, so all those girls were taught the same “pre-marital sex is sin” lessons that I was. So, many of them were as afraid of me as I was of them. (The “sex as sin” lessons didn’t scare everyone, though. Teenage pregnancies still existed in rural, Mormon, Southeast Idaho, even before it was glorified by MTV.)

[Note: On the serious side, even though it seems I’m making light of it, I do strongly believe that there shouldn’t be sex outside of marriage. A lot of the world’s problems would be solved if everyone followed that simple rule, such as teen pregnancies, abortion, marital infidelity, and high taxes. (I’m not sure how the high taxes would be helped, but I’m going to go with it, anyway.)]

7) I'm a child of divorce. While we’re on a bit of a serious topic, here’s this one. My parents got divorced when I was 19 years old. They had been married for 26 years. They raised their three kids, and as soon as they had them out the door, they decided they had had enough. The three months I was home after my freshman year in college, as my parents’ marriage was in its death throes, were the worst months of my life. The fighting and the yelling was constant and horrible. And I decided then and there that I would rather be single than ever have a relationship like that.

8) I'm indecisive (I think.) When I asked my wife and her sister what they thought some of my virgin factors were, they said one of them was that I am indecisive. I thought about adding that to the list, then decided against it. But then I changed my mind and thought maybe it does belong on the list. I’m just not sure.

9) I'm overly cautious. I don’t like to get hurt. I don’t want to get hurt. So, I avoid situations where I might get hurt. Was I slower learning how to ride a bike than everyone else? Yes. Did I learn how to swim at an early age? No. (I still don’t know how to swim. One of the benefits of being 6’ 2” is that I can handle being in a pool up to the six-foot depth.) Skydiving? Umm, no. So, where dating was concerned, I was so afraid of getting dumped by a girl that I never put myself in a position where I could get dumped.

10) At a certain age, it's hard to meet women. Once you get past 25 or 27 or so, it’s hard to meet single, available women. And so, most of my dates after that age came about via blind dates. If you’ve ever been on a blind date, you know just how scary that prospect can be. (Although, to be honest, on most of the blind dates I went out on, I was the scary one, based on virgin factors 1-9 listed above.)

So, there you have it, my top ten Virgin Factors. (I’m sure there are more reasons, but I’m going to leave it at these ten for right now.) Looking at this list, you can see just how easy it was for me to stay a virgin until I was 40. I had no prospects and no hope for a relationship. I had settled into what I thought my lifetime role was as the weird, hermit uncle. It is nothing short of miraculous that I ever found a woman willing to actually be with me, despite all my shortcomings and idiosyncrasies. Yes, my wife, Amber is a miracle to me. If we were Catholic, her finding and putting up with me would be a miracle worthy of nominating her for sainthood. Luckily, as Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), she already is a saint. I’m a lucky man. (Maybe even the luckiest!)

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