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Dorm Room Diana

college culture


American University


Dorm Room Diana

Virgin at 21, at senior year

K Kohn


It’s Sex Week at the Rival, and I’ve started this article about a dozen times now.

I thought about attaching my name to it, but I want to save myself the grief. If it’s alright with you, dear reader (or, rather, my editor. Love you!), I’d like to get a bit personal. A lot personal. Personal enough that you may cry reading this, and I will cry writing it. My motive here is not to garner pity, but to share a truth that doesn’t get heard between the funny hookup stories, and the romantic gestures. Those stories are delightful, and lighthearted, and make the world seem so cheesy and kind, but goddamn I just cannot relate.

Here’s the thing: I’m a virgin at 21.

It took me five minutes of deep breathing exercises to write that. But, while I’m at it, here’s what else: I’ve never had a boyfriend, I’ve never been asked out, and I had my first kiss at twenty-years-and-eight-months old. I’m not going to tell you I’m living my best life, that I don’t have the time for a partner, or that I don’t require the romantic validation from others. I’m not going to tell you that because anyone who says that is lying. When everyone you live with spends their weekends at their significant others’ places, and you’re crooning to Bjork at one in the morning every fuckin’ week, yeah, it sorta blows.

Thanks to the advent of dating apps, casual and serious relationships have never been easier. There are hookups galore on college campuses, just as there are first kisses and first times with first partners after a museum date.

But the same thing that makes it easy, makes it hard. No one wants to go on a Tinder date, get back to some guy’s place, and have to tell them that they thought they were emotionally and physically ready, but they just aren’t, which is news to their date when they finally pick out the intelligible phrases gasped through hiccups and tears.

Sometimes, for the very unlucky few, their partner doesn’t care, and proceeds on their own, against protestations, and more tears. Sometimes things are that bad. Sometimes things are so bad that it stunts your emotional growth, and you have these nagging feelings that no one will ever love you, and you’ll die alone because one person messed you up.

That’s the thing about sex, and love, and the spirit of Valentine’s Day. There’s a lot of room to feel wrong. Not just bad, or sorry for yourself, but ugly and undesirable. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re ugly, you’re worthless, you’re no one’s cup of tea. It’s easy to see everything wrong with you, your crooked teeth, your stupid face, your incorrigible lack-of-personality. These aren’t uncommon feelings, but when no one gives you a second glance (or so you think), they magnify. My stomach is in knots.

It feels awful to wallow in your own misery, sure, but if you don’t admit to yourself that’s all you’re doing, then it can only fester and get worse.

I’m getting ready to graduate, and I have to constantly trick myself into thinking my life will finally start. That someone will want to take me out for drinks, that someone will think I’m pretty, that someone will want to spend time with me out of desire, and not pity. These are the sorts of things that compound, and compound, until you find yourself crying alone to Bjork at two in the morning every weekend. I wish there was someone who loved me as much as I love Bjork!

The worst part is, I don’t know what. There’s that adage, you know the one, RuPaul says it sometimes: If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else? Or its cousin, if you don’t love yourself, how can someone else love you? To both of those I answer god, I have no clue. If the only cure for my woes is self-esteem, I should take my horse out of the race before it even starts.

I guess the remedy is self-love, or self-care, or exchanging deep gazes with myself in my mirror daily. You can't forget that virginity is revered by the ancients, right? The Vestal Virgins? The Virgin Mary? Those girls who got thrown into volcanoes, or bogs, and whose skeletal remains have only been found in the past century? There certainly is something to say about holding yourself up on Valentine's Day. You can buy your own chocolate, and drink champagne alone. Prosecco if you're cheap.

The rub for today, and any day you find yourself questioning your self-worth because no other human has decided to validate it, is self-pity. Feel sorry for yourself. But do it with enough style and poise that you come off deep, introspective, and debonair. It's not that you're not good enough for anybody else, just that you're busy, thoughtful. Turn that negative energy into bomb-ass lipstick, or a new hair gel, or anything that makes you feel good, since no one else is going to do it.