Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The steamy side of character

A few weeks ago I spent a rare night out on the town, nibbling Adkins-be-damned bar snacks with a posse of near-strangers better known to Girlfriend #6 and her hubby. An hour or two into this mellow soiree, one of the guys remembered meeting me several months before.

“You have that website, don’t you?” (Men rarely recall the particulars of conversations with me, just that I made for lively chat.)

“You mean the blog?”

About this time another guy chimed in, and it was not long before Sexless became the topic of lively debate. For once it took almost no work on my part, with three animated men holding forth on the peculiarities of my “predicament.”

One was convinced my chastity had become like the long hair of Sampson, except it had no particular power or beauty — it had just become the thing for which I was known. Hence, despite the dubious merits of this state, I hang on because it’s my shtick.

Others were convinced the lack of a suitable man was my problem. In fact, they decided I would make perfect fodder for the next reality show. Only this one wouldn’t start with contestants to be rejected but with the search for contestants. The only male virgin I’d find, they were convinced, was a short, unattractive man with no balls and uncertain education.

“He doesn’t have to be a virgin,” I protested. Besides, I know a few likely male virgins who are actually pretty hot...

There was a chorus of glee. “Then we’re all back in!”

This was not the time, I decided, to tell them how much higher were my spiritual than sexual standards. Instead, spying a lull in their talk, I announced I needed to go to the bathroom.

“We all do,” quipped one clever lad.

Once on my own, there was a moment to confer with God. “This is it, then, eh? They think I’m crazy for following You in this.” Lord knows, I’ve shared their suspicions many times myself. Witness all the shenanigans previously chronicled on this blog as evidence of my impatience and doubt.

But enter a man of chastity, who’s also very eligible, and everything starts to change. Suddenly there’s hope God may have smitten more than me with this kind of madness. That realization is like a ray of sun cutting through the fog induced by drinking hard water all the time. A ray of sun that suddenly transforms the contents of the glass in your hand into something very sweet and actually drinkable. “I forgot water could taste like this.”

Things start to come into better focus again. Your step suddenly finds the rhythm of the bus and the stoplights and the traffic all around. Or rather — since chastity is a bit like the tricky rhythm of playing two-against-three — you finally figure out how to play your two in even time against the rest of the world’s merry three.

Having found the water you’re really thirsty for, there’s no more sating your tongue with Sprite just for the mini-luxury of getting a not-free drink along with your lunch. “I’ll just have water, thanks,” you say with the relish of secret indulgence. You and your tongue know the difference.

One man’s denial, after all — one man’s hardship — is another man’s restraint and self-control. And however attractive power or passion may be, there’s nothing hotter than that power reigned in — capable of being full unleashed at any time, but presently held in firm check. Self-control hints at mysteries and depths unknown, while flaccid abandon let’s it all out too soon.

When a guest in town recently told me what a friend looks like when almost mad — that his shoulders shake but he doesn’t explode — I privately had a little swoon. That’s kinda hot ...

So I’m stickin’ with God’s plan a little while longer. Something tells me this ride has just gotten started — and they ain’t playin’ your standard carousel tunes.