Image via Girls/HBO.
Somehow, you turn 25 and you’re a virgin.
You live on your own, buy groceries most of the time, do your laundry (at your parents’ house, but still) and floss when you manage to remember. You have three jobs and enough friends to defend against loneliness. A few of your girlfriends know you’ve never so much as fooled around with anyone. One of them tells you it’s cute. A couple of the others think you should try online dating. You think maybe they have a point, because you haven’t had a date since high school.
The two you did have – one was freshman homecoming and the other junior prom – were with guy friends, one of which ended up with the two of you listening to Disney songs in his car instead of going into the gym with your friends. When your girlfriends ask you where you were and you say “In his truck,” they all giggle and think it’s going somewhere it’s not.
Your homecoming dress that year is $63, and your mum put it on the credit card. You’re not looking to lose your virginity that night. Not that you would ever spend $63 to lose your virginity. You’re still not sure why the accompanying verb is “lose”. You’re not really into the guy with all the Disney CDs, so you let him stop talking to you.
You go to college and grow your hair long, because maybe the short hair you’ve always had is the problem. You still play sports, though, the way you always have. This is how you make friends, what makes you feel strong. Rowing makes you happy. While you’re at Saturday morning practices, you listen to your teammates talk about their Friday night and this guy they met. They wore a dress. You wish you could feel right wearing a dress. You wonder if rowing is making your wide shoulders even wider. Your mum thinks so. She says you shouldn’t lift weights. You try not to hate the girls in dresses with the narrow shoulders and the phone full of texts from a boy they met last Friday.
By the time you reached 6th grade, you’d had three “boyfriends.” Between 8th grade and now, you’ve had zero. Your grandmother is worried you’re going to die alone. Your mum worries you’re a lesbian until the third time you tell her you’re not. Sometimes you wonder if she still wonders. People talk about you being gay and when it gets around to you, a part of you wishes you were. Maybe it would be easier. But you’re not. When you learn how to get yourself off, all you can think about is the boy you like. He never texts you. You’ve been taught not to chase, so you don’t text him either.
You wonder if you’re 25 and a virgin because you’re fat (you wear a size 6 while you’re rowing, a size 8 or 10 now, although nothing from Express fits you through the shoulders). You wonder if it’s because you play sports, if it’s because you’re boring or if it’s because you like to talk about irony and musicals and contemporary literature and you just like to talk. You wonder if it’s because you don’t make enough dirty jokes. You wonder if it’s because you make too many dirty jokes.