15 April 2007
The Virginity Trap
by Paul Aitken
About ten years ago I came up with what I thought was a dynamite high concept movie idea: a romantic comedy about a guy who was thirty years old and a virgin. He keeps his virginity a secret from his friends but is eventually discovered and his friends (including the woman he secretly loves) work to help him get laid. The premise being that getting laid is harder than it looks.
I was very excited about the project and was all set to write the movie but my wife talked me out of it. She insisted that no guy who was a virgin at age thirty would be a likeable enough character on screen. Depressing drama? Yes. Hollywood blockbuster? No way.
So I dropped it. Five years later when 40 Year Old Virgin ruled at the box office, I would occasionally ask my wife if she wanted to go see the movie that would have made us rich if only I hadn't listened to her. It's still a sore point between us.
The thing that bugs me is that I knew she was wrong. Not just about the movie, but also the real-life fact that perfectly decent non-ugly guys can find it extraordinarily difficult to get laid. I was a virgin myself until the age of nineteen. And while 19 isn't 30 or 40, it's worth stressing that I had wanted to get laid very, very much for a number of years before that. At 17 I was a great guy. Ditto at 18. I was funny, smart and not repulsive looking. Take the top ten traits that women say they find attractive and I'll bet I had 8 of them. I was shy with women to be sure and more than a bit geeky, but I was average height, average weight and I wasn't limiting myself to girls who red-lined the babe-o-meter. At age 19 I seriously wondered if I would ever get laid.
I suppose I could have gone to see a hooker. But hookers were expensive and I was broke, and besides, they scared me. And anyway, it was beside the point. At issue wasn't whether I could enter some woman, it was whether some woman would invite me in. I eventually did get laid, of course. And with a woman who was far more attractive than I was. We dated for a while. She was fun, smart and beautiful and when I fell in love with her she dropped me like severed hand.
But after that, strangely enough, I never had a problem getting laid. Sure, I went through droughts. Hell I'm married and I'm still in a drought. But nothing that's come close to matching the boundless Sahara of my virgin years. It's a truism worthy of Yogi Berra to say that the best way to get laid is to lose your virginity. Why this should be is anybody's guess. I certainly didn't walk around telling women that I wasn't a virgin anymore. Somehow they just knew. As Joel Goodsen, protagonist of the movie Risky Business put it so eloquently; "College girls can smell ignorance... Like dog shit." And the ugly truth is that it mattered.
Why it should matter is hard to say. The converse is certainly not the case. Female virginity is rarely a turn-off for men and in many cultures it is a prized asset. No guy ever blew himself up for 72 crack whores. But women do seem to prefer to sleep with someone who has experience. This of course becomes something of a Catch 22. It's not so bad when you're 16 and everybody's a virgin. But when you get into your twenties it becomes an issue. And there's no self-correcting mechanism at work. Like marriage for women in the 19th century, it seems that the longer you leave it, the less likely it will happen.
The problem is not that women don't want sex. It may not be the constant craving experienced by men but at certain times women desire a tumble in the sheets every bit as much as men do. The problem is that women are very picky about who they'll sleep with. It's not their fault. Evolution has mandated that men and women have vastly different reproductive agendas. Men are driven to spread their seed as widely as possible. Women, who must bear and nurture the resulting child, must choose a mate whose genes will succeed in the hardscrabble Pleistocene world. That means beefy thugs will beat out pencil-necked geeks just about every time.
A few years ago I attended one of those multiple dating events that dot the singles scene across North America. In the course of a couple of hours you get to meet and woo 25 different women, checking off those who you'd like to meet again. Out of curiosity I would ask the women how many men they checked off and which ones. Most women checked off one or two. None had checked off more than three and almost all of them had checked off the same guy: a beefy, square-jawed, brown-eyed handsome man. Somewhat predictably, most guys had checked off at least half the girls. One desperate dork had checked off every one and I'm guessing he didn't get a single bite. The mating game is heavily weighted to the favorites.
If you're a virgin in your twenties or, god forbid, thirties. This is not something you want to hear. You want to think that getting lucky really is a matter of chance. But the truth is there are guys out there (I know at least one, and suspect a couple more) who have never gotten laid. They're not gay, they're not mentally handicapped or autistic, they're not ugly. They want to have sex but they seem to be missing whatever it is that would make women want to sleep with them.
So, if you're one of the millions of horny slobs spending their Saturday night getting a cathode-ray tan in their mamma's basement, here's a few tips.
- Don't feel bad about being a virgin. Any form of self-loathing is a turn-off. For another the mating dance is highly complex. Both parties have to be on their game and the slightest misstep can mean game-over. It's actually a wonder that anybody gets laid. This dance is encoded in our genes. You know how to do it. You just have to believe you can.
- Be confident. Women love confidence. That's why ex-virgins have an easier time getting laid. They've seen the dance through to its conclusion. They've been there and done that and it shows. Now, if you're not confident it's hard to fake. People read more than your lips. There are body signals and facial mannerisms that we're not aware of. Some we don't even have conscious control over (for instance, you can't fake a genuine smile). If you're not confident you've got to summon up some method acting. It's like a lie detector test. You can only beat it if you believe it. And believe it or not, every man has something to be confident about, even if it's getting the high score in Tetris.
- Try not to be a dork. As a dork I know this can be hard. The dork impulse is very strong. Repeat to yourself until it becomes a mantra; "If you can't think of anything dorkless to say, don't say anything at all!"
- Choose your counterpart. If you're a 6, chat-up your equivalent. Otherwise you may spend your whole life as an over-reaching virgin.
- Look a women straight in the eye when you talk to her. Let her be the one to break-off contact. And when your eyes meet, think about how much you like her. How funny she is. If you think it, it will show on your face and she will be able to read it. Few things are as sexy to men or women as a confident expression of attraction.
- If you sense mutual attraction DON'T PUSH IT. Play it cool. This is a very sensitive juncture, and it's where most guys blow it.
- Don't rush her. If you drive her home don't ask to come up. Remember, it's always the woman who decides whether sex is going to happen. There's no chance of miscommunication. If she wants you, she'll let you know.
- Remember that time ultimately is on your side. Yeah, the beefy, square jawed, brown-eyed handsome man is going to get lucky. He already is. But women don't just want a fuck-mate, they want a mate, and there are only so many men to go around.
If all else fails, bear in mind that history has seen its fair share of men who have been laid in their graves before they ever got laid in their beds. Among the putatively virginal luminaries: Sir Isaac Newton, Immanuel Kant, Louis XVI, John Ruskin (art critic), George Bernard Shaw, Havelock Ellis (sex psychologist, believe it or not), Hans Christian Anderson, James Barrie (author of Peter Pan, who never grew up himself), Samuel Hardy, Paul Erdos (mathematician), Nicolai Tesla, Lewis Carroll... I could go on for a page or two but suffice to say that if you go through life a virgin, you'll be in good company.
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