Observe the following scene:
[Late night, CBD apartment, behind a kitchen door kept closed by an obstinate foot (locks don't work in China), keeping out the drunken crowds in the living room and keeping in a few drunken people in the kitchen. Wait, maybe it was only me that was drunk in the kitchen. Anyway.]
Me: Hello, archenemy. Finally, we meet. (Do I always speak like this? No. But I’d like to.)
Archenemy: Oh, it’s you.
Me: Let’s skip the small talk. Please list your top 10 reasons why you are still a virgin.
AE: Oh, OK! I’d love to!
Okay, those weren’t his exact words. But after I followed him around the kitchen for a little while, he gave in and listed them. Persistence, you guys, it will always either get you what you want or get you dead. Sadly, because I was drunk, I woke up the next morning not remembering any of this list. In fact, I didn’t even remember that we had that conversation. Or even that we had met.
Fortunately, it turned out that the night before, unbeknownst to myself, I had come bursting out of the kitchen and blabbered parts of this list to some other individuals. These other people then wanted me to elaborate later on. I could not, obviously, for reasons said above. So I obtained AE’s email and asked him to provide a written list.
Here I must interrupt myself and declare my eternal love and admiration for three of my favorite inventions ever: the functions “cut,” “copy,” and “paste.” It took an eternity for AE to reply to my email. Technically, it was approximately 20.3 hours. But it felt like an eternity because my head was hurting so badly. I thought he had fallen into a ditch and broken his typing fingers. But then I received his email and realized that, no, he had not fallen into a ditch after all, but had written a novel in response.
Usually, when I’m making an argument against some defenseless, nameless person, I like to paraphrase their point into two or three words, tops, and then go on with my own point at a very lengthy length. But I could not paraphrase AE’s point, because I’m not sure what his point is. It was all very confusing and only made my headache worse. So I copied and pasted it into a pseudo guest entry. As you can tell, I’m getting very lazy with my entries, using all these cheaters’ tricks like pastes and links and stuff. That doesn’t mean, though, that I’m going to sit by idly and just let you guys hear AE’s side of the story. So I inserted some of my own comments.
AE’s original words in blue, my commentary in black brackets. Also, because AE likes to write in confusing little circles, I gave his points alternate titles to make them easier to understand.
0. First of all, I am willing to undertake this exercise for its rhetoric merit. [I do not know what rhetoric merit means, but I like it because it appears to be the reason I got this list in the first place.] There exists no stance or viewpoint that we are entitled to hold without expectation that we can defend it [unless you're Sarah Palin], and I am eager to do so. That said, I think that the decision not to have sex, as one face on the sex-coin [I wasn't even aware of the existence of this sex-coin, which is clearly my problem in the first place], is not the one that should require justification. To have sex is not some sort of default state from which temporary abstinence is an irrational aberration. [However, it is the only way to get boys to like you. In my experience.] Unless you’re viewing things from some sort of evolutionary, atavistic [I also do not know what this word means. From now on I will shorten this sentiment with the notation BWICU - big words I can't understand] perspective. In which case, fine, but let’s continue this discussion with clubs and clothed in animal furs. [Incidentally, wearing animal furs in clubs is now in again. At least in the clubs I go to.] Enough of the fancy language, too. [Thank god, because my laptop is old and slow and can't simultaneously run dictionary.com and gmail at any reasonable speed.]
1. But All The Other Kids Are Jumping Off The Sex Bridge (I want to feel special.)
Let’s start with the silliest. There is just too much gosh darn sex going on these days. [I would like to know who these people are, having all this sex. Most people I know are sex-wanters and not sex-havers. But this could be due to the quality of the
crowd I hang out with people willing to hang out with me.] It would seem that people are having extra-marital sex more frequently and with more partners than ever before. I can’t back this up, though I challenge you to find stats that disprove it (the best I’ve got is this). [Please click on the link. That is how you figure out that AE is talking about premarital sex and not extra-marital sex. This is an important distinction because I don't want people to think I'm pro-home-wrecking, unless the other girl/guy is a total bitch/jerkass, in which case you should of course rescue the object of your desire from a lifetime of domestic misery.] The age of sex-havers is going down, too; studies in New Haven, Connecticut showed that a not insignificant [linguistics students please take note, this is called a double negative in English. It has no practical purpose but is a great way to increase word count if you're doing freelance writing and getting paid by the word.] number of sixth graders had already had sex. By sixth grade I barely knew what a pelvis was, much less what I could do with it. [This actually explains a lot. Equally anonymous studies have shown that once a child falls behind at a young age, he will spend the rest of his life playing catch-up, but failing.] This isn’t necessarily, a bad thing. But it’s a trend, it’s the thing everyone’s doing. And whether I was raised this way or figured it out on my own, I say let’s take a moment and consider following the crowd, especially when the crowd is very big. [This is the same stance I took when the iPod first came out. And then the iPhone. And then the MacBook Air. I hate Apple and rail endlessly against them. However, this is because I cannot afford to buy any of their products, and also/as a result am Apple technology illiterate. Instead, I am stuck using a bunch of cheap annoying clunky machinery.]
2. What’s So Great About Pleasure (I am a masochist.)
[I actually do not know how to respond to this. What is so great about pleasure? Let's all take a second to think about this. If you can't readily come up with a clear, concise answer, you'd better cut pleasure out of your life before it's too late.]
Might as well ask, then, why is everybody having sex? Well, probably because it feels good. [And also to get boys to like you.] And we, as a culture of humans [I thought we were just humans], love things that feel good. We love things that stimulate and titillate and tickle and sooth [but not all at the same time; that would be too much], and we seek them out whenever we can. Explosions in action movies, that buzz off the second [or fifth] cosmopolitan, those bolts of pleasure from a satisfying sexual encounter. Again, not a bad thing, but I believe that we need to be careful about becoming slaves to our enjoyment. [I agree, slavery is bad.] There is nothing we should do solely because “it feels good,” and I think allowing ourselves that sort of indulgence (in a general sense) can lead to a bunch of bad habits. [You hear that, Mr. Holy Grail? Oh, I haven't introduced you to Mr. HG yet. Just wait.]
3. This Guy’s Weird (Thoughts on Pleasure) (I am still a masochist. I am also super emo.)
My thoughts about argument number 2 are…drawn into sharper relief by the fact that I don’t derive an excessive amount of emotional or mental satisfaction or enjoyment from sexual pleasure. [This is totally unfair. The rest of us don't derive excessive satisfaction from sex. The amount of satisfaction that we derive is just right.] I will get hard, I will orgasm, but I’m personally not too thrilled about it. I think this is probably largely a trust issue; I slowly/rarely trust my partners/people in general, and therefore often see any attention my partner pays to me in bed as something they feel compelled to do. ["You don't really love me. You're only trying to sleep with me despite my protests because you think you have to."] And as I’m not into hookups for the obligation of it, that doesn’t really interest me. Even the best blowjob on its own will leave me feeling sort of bored and impatient. The very fact that I’m being sexually pleasured has me mentally less interested. [At least he has this in common with all other men. Maybe a few minutes prior to all other men, though.] My penis may be enjoying it, but I’m not really, [disproving the common theory among women that men and their penises are in fact one inseparable entity] so when can I get back to interacting with you instead of watching you, you know, do your thing? [The simple answer is: when you orgasm. Or die.] Of course, we’re talking about sex, but it’s the same thing. Sex supposedly feels better than other forms of sexual expression. Well, okay, but I’m not looking for something that feels better. In fact, I’m sort of avoiding it.
[At this point, you probably think this guy is insane. But I think he's onto something here. There are in fact times when
I women feel totally obligated to sleep with men, even though we're definitely not in love with them, or don't even know their last names. However, there are other times when we're just super horny and need to rape some dude, a situation that no one should ever feel bad about. The problem is, because women are crafty, crafty animals, there is no way for these dumb guys to tell when is what. I think this at least partially accounts for the problem of the "No means Yes" phenomenon - when confused, just keep insisting. In light of this terrible dilemma, the only distinction I can recommend is this: whoever is doing all the taking off of clothes is the initiator. If it's the guy, you're a creep. If it's the girl, enjoy.]
4. Really Weird (Thoughts on Control) (I am a control freak.)
What I just said is not how I feel about my partner’s pleasure, I should hope it goes without saying. I want my partner to feel the best she’s ever felt in her life. [If you're not into/good at sex, your best alternative is to buy her a Louis Vuitton bag. Limited editions preferred. This applies generally everywhere, but especially in China.] And I feel most comfortable when I’m in “control” of myself and, to some extent, the hookup. [He IS a man!] By this I don’t mean that I want to be holding the key to the handcuffs. I mean that it’s important to me that my partner is always feeling better than I am, and I can’t guarantee that during the mutual pleasure-platform that is intercourse. [Oh no wait, spoke too soon.] And control over myself is a factor, too:one side-effect of pleasure (for most) is the way it takes over your brain, and how great it is to submit yourself to those wonderful nerve firings as they shoot around your brain. [This is the side-effect? What's the main effect?] Except that I disagree; I’ve never enjoyed any sort of impairment of my mental faculties or any sort of bodily function. In any sort of sex, truly embracing pleasure means releasing control, giving yourself over to another person. But I prefer for my person to stay under the control of my person. Intercourse is a mutual enjoyment, equal footing sort of act. And that worries me. [That's what the handcuffs are for, silly.]
5. Nihilists in the Bedroom (I choose nothing over nothing.)
Sex doesn’t mean anything. It’s not a magical shining moment that forever determines the rest of our lives or in any serious way shapes who we are as a person [except for nuns]. For some, sex can mean everything: they may see it as their doorway to adulthood [maybe for guys, but for girls it's menstruation], their first proof of true love [that's LV bags, here in China. In hippielands like Berkeley, California, it's a seashell you found yourself on a cold windy beach and then wrapped in a paper napkin.], the pinnacle of their self-expression [I always thought it was shoes. You can tell everything about a person from their shoes, no lie. Except for really poor people, they have no choice.]. But these are all personal designations, which only further proves that, on its own, sex doesn’t mean anything. But if that’s the case, then not having sex is exactly the same, all things held equal, as having sex. So I might as well not have sex. [It's this last sentence that lost me. Let's test this theory by substituting the word "sex" with "ice cream." If having ice cream is exactly the same as not having ice cream, I might as well not have ice cream. No, that does not make sense to me.]
6. That Invisible Line (I avoid change. Even if the change is from nothing to nothing.)
And while it doesn’t matter, there is a hard and fast line between having had sex and not having had sex. It’s a distinction that, yup, doesn’t mean anything, but it’s a distinction nonetheless. Once I have sex, I forevermore have had sex. If I’m so unsure about all these things, why cross a line from which I can never return? Having never had sex, I can always choose to cross those tracks later. Once I have sex I loose that choice (and that power, and that control). This is also why I’ve never done drugs.
[Lines get such a bad rap. As someone whose biggest hobby is crossing lines, I'm just going to say a few words in defense of line-crossing. Granted, line-crossing is not for the faint of heart. All sorts of bad things can happen to you, and probably will. You could get fined by the municipal government. You could step on a landmine and have your limbs blown out. You could get electrocuted. Only some of these things have happened to me. Crossing lines is the single greatest cause of all my regrets in life. But there's nothing like regret to remind you that you're alive, guys! I probably have more regrets than anyone else I know, and I feel super alive! Are you sold yet? My mom is not. She thinks I'm super stupid.]
7. The Big Deal (I am nothing. Please don’t think that I’m something.)
Also while it doesn’t matter, it does matter. People bundle up so, so much importance into sex even without trying to. I know so, so many people who had their first (or second, or twentieth) sexual encounter entirely of their own volition (this was almost a BWICU, but luckily I took a Criminal Law class and learned what it means. Or at least I think I know what it means, and it might not be the same thing that AE thinks it means) and only afterward realized (and sometimes during) that they regretted it. [Yup. So, so many times.] Sex can be regretful, painful, traumatic. We like to be cool and flippant about it, but that doesn’t mean we’re aloof as we think we are. Which was an absurd thing to think in the first place, given that our bodies are chemically wired to place a lot of importance on sex (for obvious reasons). But if I’m not 100% sure that I’m properly emotionally invested in a partner, why engage in an act that will make her body start pumping out chemicals telling her that I am friggin’ awesome and an important thing to keep around? [Delusions - the backbone of our will to live.]
8. Those Things Are Bad For You (I am a bald Canadian Catholic freak. Or aspire to be.)
[It offends my ego to find myself arguing against a Canadian. But I will do it anyway. I will do it by way of repeating a joke that I stole from Mr. Holy Grail (I know, him again), slightly paraphrased.
Once upon a time, there was a dude. He only drinks beverages from the spot on the cup rim right above the handle. When people asked him why he kept acting so weird, he replied that he does this because people are dirty and full of disease and the best way to avoid getting other people's dirty diseases is to drink only from this spot, where other people never use because it's so inconvenient and weird.
One day, Mr. Weirdo saw another man doing the exact same thing and got super excited, because he thought he had found Mr. Weirdo Number Two and that they were going to become BFFs. Brimming with excitement, he tapped dude #2 on the shoulder and asked him, "Hey, do you also drink from that spot because you're trying to avoid other people's dirty diseases?"
Dude #2 said, "Oh no, I'm drinking from this spot because I have a very very dirty disease, highly contagious, and I'm trying to avoid passing it onto others by drinking from a spot where others never touch."
It goes without saying that Dude #1 died from shock and paranoia on the spot.
What is my long-winded, obscure point? It is that you can get all sorts of terrible diseases from anything! This joke is especially great because it actually happened to someone I know. She drank from some dirty ho's cup and got herpes. Herpes!! Then her cold sores broke out while giving her boyfriend a blowjob, and now he has herpes too, of the more gross and painful variety. While this is actually a terrible thing and not funny at all, it goes to prove my point. You can't win no matter what you do. Just give it up and enjoy life.]
9. What [Do Any Emotions Whatsoever] Got To Do With It (I am dead inside. Why bother.)
When I was younger, I assumed that makeouts were something you did with someone you were dating, emotionally connected to, really super into. Then I had my first make out with a friend, and my second make out with another friend, and I said to myself “well, I guess kissing is just kissing. All the…heavier stuff, that’s what you do with a girlfriend that you’re really committed to.” And then I did all those things with a girl who I wasn’t really committed to, all at her bequest [I don't think this means what he thinks it means, because I looked it up. Also because I took a class in Wills & Trusts, and I'm assuming this girl wasn't planning to die at the time.], request, and occasionally insistence. And all over my repeated assurance that I wasn’t romantically interested in her. So, I realized, no, you can pretty much do anything sexual you want with anyone and it’s all fine. Or, at least, that’s how society feels about it. So, for the sake of good old fashioned caring, I decided that I might as well leave one holdout for that hookup where I know that I know and trust my partner, when I can tell myself that I know and trust them without worrying that I’m lying to myself. This feeling is different from “love,” mainly because “love” doesn’t exist. [Oh, crap!] So maybe the most important reason I don’t have sex is because if no serious emotional commitment is required for most physical encounters, can’t they at least be a solid qualification for sex? Please? [I'll think about it. No.]
10. Because Sex Is The Great Corrupter of People and Things (Sex is evil.)
Seriously, do your research. The Ancient Sumerians knew it [if you have sex, you will no longer be friends with wild animals, and will eventually die] and the Meakambat know it, too [when one man has sex, other men not having sex tend to get pissed off. Then sorcery begins.].
[People love to talk about the root of all evil. Money, envy, sex, greed, fear, television, Grand Theft Auto, rap music, gluten, you name it. The only thing I've learned from all this is that evil is everywhere. You can't beat it. If you can't beat it, might as well embrace it. I love gluten, and television too.]
I know it seems like I’m being overly hostile to AE, which even I’ll agree is completely uncalled for. This post took me forever to write because I kept dropping it to go hang out with people who clearly adopted the direct opposite of AE’s views. You’d think I’d agree with those people more, but it turns out that I’m agreeable with no one. This is the first time in my entire life I have ever advocated for a little bit of moderation. Moderation is generally bad and an excuse for the apprehensive, the uncertain, people afraid to go all in. But seriously, this is getting ridiculous. Can’t we all be a little bit normal and just have sex like, 3 times a week?