27 May 2005

Is There Anyone Else who is a Real Sexual Outsider Like me?

I'm blatantly plagiarising this from the May 19-25 2005 edition of NOW, a free weekly in T-dot. I came across it last weekend on vacation, and had to reproduce it.

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By Virginia Slams

A few weeks ago I locked myself in my room. I wasn't hiding an acne outbreak or moaning from a bout of diarrhea. It wasn't because I had developed an odd aversion to doorknobs. The reason was much more personal and embarrassing.

I am of a rare breed, one you will not find on the back page of NOW divulging my sexual deviance (god love those who do) to Dan Savage. One you will not find confessing her sexual foibles to Sue Johansen on the W Network.

I stand apart from the crowd of 20-something sexually adventurous carnal aficionados. I am a 24-year-old virgin.

On the night in question, when I'd sought the privacy of my room, it was for reasons not readily understood by my peers who freely explore sex as some explore mountain ranges (with vigour and fearlessness... or at least I assume so).

My roommate had sat down to Sex and the City while I had been hoping to catch an Intervention rerun on A&E. Watching Samantha, Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda trade secrets, I couldn't help but be overcome by the pain in my heart caused by the lack of initial pain between my legs.

I felt 12 again, painfully unpopular, perpetually on the outside of some inside joke. My breath condensed on the TV screen as I gazed at the sexually experienced and satisfied, wondering where I stood, my 24-year-old vagina having nothing to show for itself. In short, I felt left out.

I muttered an excuse to my roommate about an upset stomach and lumbered up to my room, where I spent the rest of the evening alternating between Nick Drake and Barbra Streisand, ashamed that I was nearing my mid-20s with nary a sexual tale to share over a midweek cosmopolitan.

Now, please do not mistake me for someone who externalizes the blame for my particular difference. I'm well aware that the common denominator in my background of sexual inexperience is me. Perhaps I should accept my uniqueness. Perhaps this is the journey my life is meant to take.

However, in our increasingly media-saturated and sexually exploratory society, I can't help but feel that most would view me the same way they would a headless individual. I can't help but wonder if I'm the only one not having sex.

Could there be other attractive, intelligent, self-possessed, independent, hygienic, kind and compassionate individuals with overworked hands and vibrators?

Is there a rite of passage at 20 that introduces you to a world of doggy-style, missionary, and a million other positions my virginal brain can't fathom because I missed the moment, only to be left floating in an abyss of sexual frustration?

I'm not completely isolated from the notion of sex. My friends, all experienced in one way or another, share their tales with me. I listen, somewhat sheepishly aware of my shortcomings. Sure, I, too, had my share of anonymous (but fully clothed) trysts in my early years of university.

But otherwise, my slate -- as well as my Pap smear results -- is clean. And while I mentally flog myself for my lack of experience and wake up in a cold sweat fearing that the first time with the guy I'm still not convinced I'll meet, I still can't abandon the hope that I'm not the only one who's remained a virgin for reasons that can't quite be defined.

But the world wants sexy. It wants stories of sex, tales of threesomes, twosomes, fivesomes. It craves stories of fisting, rimming, sucking and fucking. Those on the fringes are left curiously scratching their heads simply because their bits and pieces have remained untouched.

So the question remains, is everyone but me having sex? Or is it simply that the popular kids (those having sex) are moaning too loud for the unpopular ones (those not) to be heard?

I'm calling for celibacy, whether self-imposed or otherwise, to be considered a viable sexual alternative.

I'd like not to feel like an anomaly for a change. Who's with me? Virgins unite!

Virginia Slams is a pseudonym

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Now some of you may point out, "But you're not a virgin. You are having sex." So, what's my point? She's right. I was a virgin for what felt like a long time, and talking to my friends who weren't made me uncomfortable. Then, after I crossed the barrier, I felt for a long time that it was the wrong decision made for the wrong reasons, and that realization affected me in a very negative way, for a very long time -- even though, shortly thereafter, I entered a "loving" relationship where I should have felt safe.

The fact is that I didn't feel okay with it until years later when I felt marginalized again, because all my friends seemed to be having sex -- either with their loving significant others, or (so it seemed) consequence-free with strangers. I couldn't do either. And while it frustrated the hell out of me, I eventually learned to be okay with it. I started speaking up to my friends who tried to set me up on one night stands, and telling them that I tried that once, and it sucked. That I was happy with who I was, and eventually I'd get to a place where I was comfortable with sex again. Instead of trying to force the issue, they started supporting me and redirected their benevolent searches. Reminder of the potential cost of sexual casualness and apathy toward consequences came in the form of a couple of friends who had some bad casual experiences.

So, I applaud Ms. "Slams" for standing up for herself. I know she's not alone because I've talked to lots of people in her situation, and I know how it feels to think that you're on the outside. I wish I'd had that strength of conviction.

16 May 2005

Deep breaths

Two days left in this work week. My short vacation is less than 72 hours away.

It probably seems odd that I'm so desperate for a vacation when I spent most of the first two months of this calendar year unemployed. But unemployment isn't relaxing. Lately, I feel my stress levels going up, up, UP.

Maybe, like Lani said on Jaclyn's blog, it's because this is past the time when I usually get an annual break. Maybe it's because I'm addicted to vacations. In either case, I'll soon get my fix.


I was sitting on the bus this afternoon, contemplating my naval, and I was struck by a sudden fear. What if I become one of those adults who just stops? I don't want my mind to stagnate. I had a horrible realization that I'm doing absolutely nothing to expand my brain. I'm afraid that my vocabulary is slipping because I have to tone it down for the general public with whom I work. I think I'm starting to mumble more because I care less and less about what I have to say -- yet I become more and more frustrated when people don't understand me.

I'm seeking genuine suggestions (bearing in mind extreme lack of fundage) to expand my brain. Any thoughts?

11 May 2005

What to do?

Some may disagree, but I think I'm generally good at butting out of something when it's none of my business. Of course, determining whether something is or is not my business tends to be a little trickier for me.

When there's a friend involved, I sometimes forget that my Concern isn't the same thing as my actual Involvement in the scenario.

I'm not sure if it's arrogance, or ignorance. I don't really feel that I'm necessarily better than anyone at solving disputes or other problems, just that I have insight that someone else may have overlooked. And considering how people get when in stressful situations, I'm not completely wrong in thinking that. But that still doesn't mean that I should butt in.

Is there a standard that I'm unaware of? How does one determine when is or isn't a good time to interfere (which isn't always a bad verb) in someone's life?

08 May 2005

Last time I checked....

As far as I know, it takes two people to make a relationship. Both people have to put an effort into making it work. If one person give up, a relationship is still possible, but it's extremely difficult.

It also takes two people to break a relationship. Sure, I've gone out with my share of assholes, but eventually I've been able to realize that nothing that happened in the context of the relationship was entirely their fault. Or, for that matter, mine. Specifically, even though the Tim was fairly emotionally abusive, cheated on me constantly (lucky I didn't know at the time...), and he was well-versed in mooching off other people, I made mistakes too. Mistake number one, not breaking up with him sooner. I kid. The big mistake was the games I played to manipulate him when we were together. I'm not proud of it, but I did it. A lot.

Now it kind of frightens me to know that I'm, capable of that level of deception and coercion. And it's probably why I have such high standards when it comes to honesty and openness. I also try to withdraw when things are getting too tense or out of hand so I have time to examine the situation. I don't think it always works, but I try to be aware.

What's my point? Well, it upsets me when people don't take responsibility for themselves, period. But when that shirking results in direct harm to another person, I get incensed. When I'm close to that person, it's even worse. But in this case, I'm impotent. I have no direct connection with the conflict, I'm obviously partisan, and I have no right to say anything or interfere.

But this is my blog, so I can talk.

If a person moves across the country, and tells their partner that they don't want them to come too, then they made a choice to leave the relationship. Coming back a few months later to "talk about it" (and then shutting the conversation down with unreasonable travel conditions) is not the same thing as "offering to give it another go." Insisting on being offended when someone who is hurt by your actions tell you (even impolitely) to leave them alone, is preposterous.

All the posturing in the world isn't going to change the facts. Sometimes you just have to accept that you made a mistake and deal with it. Sometimes you have to accept that you hurt someone and deal with it. Sometimes you have to accept the hurt that someone else inflicted and deal with it.

And after you deal with it, let it go. People make mistakes; some bigger than others. People hurt others; sometimes worse than others. People get hurt; sometimes worse than others.

But if you aren't genuinely examining your part in a situation to see how your actions may have contributed to it, then you can't go pointing the finger at others.

Take responsibility for your own life, and learn to let go of the bad things that happened in the past. You'll be a lot happier. Trust me.


Reference

04 May 2005

I got a job?

So, an interesting thing happened a couple of days ago. Some of you may know about it already, but I had to post it for those who didn't.

About a week and a half ago (the day of my birthday), Jan came to me and said, "I need a voided cheque from you. Or you need to get your banking information, so you should call."

"Why?"

"You're going on payroll."

"What? How? Why?"

"Rose said so."

"Oh. Okay."

Later that day, Beth and I were walking back from lunch, so I asked her about it:

"Jan came to me and said I was going on payroll. Did I miss something?"

"Um... no. I don't think I can really talk to you about it, though. You should talk to Don."

"Oh. Okay."

"Well, remember when I asked you a couple of weeks ago where we were in your contract, and how you felt about things?"

"Yes."

"Rick asked me to write a report about the status of your contract, the status of the position, and how we should proceed. I recommended that they either extend your conract or hire full-time for the position. I guess they decided on the latter."

"Oh."

"Talk to Don."

But Don was out of town so I was SOL. I went into my b-day weekend, knowing only that my pay would now be subject to tax deductions.

When I finally talked to him, he said, "Someone skipped a step." Great.

Which step. Well, actually it was three. 1) Hiring for a new position must be approved by the Board of Directors. 2) I had to be informed. 3) We had to negotiate my salary.

Well, luckily, the board approved.

Currently, I'm still being paid by the hour (yea!) but with deductions (boo!) which will help alleviate my tax bill next year (yea!) when I will actually have to pay taxes (boo!).

Every so often, Don mentions my job, but still no word on salary....


New in the office: Beth is no longer my boss (announced today)! She still works here, but she's been moved to another division. Don is now my only boss (next to Rick -- not my friend, my dad).