Saturday, December 10, 2005

The High Altar of Virginity

One upon a time, in fact quite some time ago, I was in Manila with a few of my friends. We were in a taxi prowling the city as young bachelors would do - hmmm, do married men do that too?

We came to a busy alley, and as the taxi crawled through the chock-a-blocked thoroughfare a young Filipino lad of around 6 to 7 years old, ran beside our taxi and cried out,
Sir, sir, do you want to f**k my mother? She’s a virgin!”
We had a good laugh, chucked a couple of pesos to him for his outrageous lie and drove into the night, never to see the young pimp again. A couple of years later, when I thought of that incident I felt differently, indeed I still do. I was truly sad for the boy who had to commercially offer his mum for the carnal pleasures of strangers. I also asked myself then, why was there a need for him to extol his mum’s imaginary virginity?

Virginity! Since time immemorial, many cultures place the value of virginity in women on a high altar. Some societies have elaborate methods or procedures for verifying the virgin status of brides. One was a ‘post-event’ check, when female elders would make the bride after her ‘first night’ washed her bridal pyjamas in their presence. Absence of red or brown specks on her nightgown was a disaster for the young woman.

Virginity was originally deemed a sign that the woman had abided obediently by the rules of men, who incidentally didn't abide by their own rules as they were very seldom virgins themselves when they married. Therefore, a submissive woman must be a good woman.

Then religion kicked into the game where virginity was seen as a sign that the woman was not contaminated by the
original sin, though I wonder why an intelligent Eve should be punished for exercising the so-called 'free will' that God purportedly gave to her to exercise? This reminds me of an old girlfriend who told me to do what I like, so long as I didn't do what she didn't like - the condition was unstated, of course, which meant I was totally oblivious to it ;-)

But then, the Bible were written by misogynists, unwashed bearded smelly blokes with uncut toe nails, who didn’t had enough of the nookie themselves, or perhaps even died as virgins if self abuse was not counted as sex. Maybe that explains why they wanted to smite, slay and burn people on the altars for YVWH. I suppose you can’t blame them for being hot-tempered for not getting it – I would be too.

In a scene in the film
Joan of Arc, young virgin Joan had her private organ probed intrusively by a nun on the orders of the king to ascertain her ‘fitness’ to receive visions from God. Virginity again! Then there's that famous 'virgin birth'.

On the darker side of 'virginity', some old codgers sought after it, in some misguided belief that it could accord them longer life and virility. Perhaps the Filipino lad had advertised his mum in that manner to promote her possession of that sought-after property. Then there was that young female American pop singer whose PR made much ado about her virginity, which perhaps had helped her sell more records.

There's a story in medieval times of Brahmin priests in some remote villages requiring the would-be brides to spent a night at the local temples before their weddings, for 'purification' purposes of course - presumably those priests would check their virginity!

In the Levantine countries, men would kill their own daughters or sisters if they believe those unfortunate women had lost ‘it’, even when they had been raped. They call it ‘honour killing’, though I wonder where the ‘honour’ was in killing a defenceless woman, in some cases, already an innocent victim of a male assault.

In Malaysia several years ago, a high ranking politician murdered another politician from the same political party for having the nookie with the former’s sister, which demonstrated that the Malays had the more sensible perspective, which the Levantine Arabs should emulate – namely, if really any killing must be done because virginity had been lost, kill the nookier rather than nooki-ed, or better still, if family honour is equated to a piece of tissue called the hymen, make the bastard marry her, which will be the greatest punishment.

In Tamilnadu in India, actress Kushboo was harassed and even persecuted through the courts when she stated on TV that men should stop expecting to forever marry virgin brides. Those who had originally marshalled around her were equally harassed until they retracted their support for Kushboo’s ‘no more virgin’ statement. Needless to say, those who went after her were males. How dare she ventured into the 'virgin' territory of Indian female outspoken independence?

As I started with a personal story, I'll now end with another personal one. When I was a young laddie - mind you, not so young that I didn’t know what a nookie was - a boastful and rather petty-minded childhood friend had the hots for a very nice and lovely lassie in my village. He went after her, become her boyfriend but, not before long, was dumped by her because she couldn’t stand his ways. She was immediately chased by a dozen other village heros - I would have joined in too, had I not felt a sense of loyalty to my broken-hearted friend.

That mate of mine – let’s call him John – boasted to me how he had already relieved her of her virginity, describing in sordid details the ultimate tryst. Sure, it was just spite for being offloaded, but for him, telling me (and I suppose, imagining) he deflowered her seemed to give him sick satisfaction.

Several years later, fate being unkind to the woman, John won her heart back and succeeded in marrying her. Being the boastful and in fact distasteful bloke he had always been, he described to me with great pride how he de-virginised his bride on the wedding night.

I asked sarcastically how many hymens did his wife have, but John was so thick he didn’t catch my barb. But it demonstrated one thing - John was not unlike most men, who place a high value on virginity, not in themselves, but in their women.

Is it true that today the virgin girl has been placed on the list of endangered species? ;-) Now, that would be an ironical though fitting deserts for men.
Related:(1) Virginity in Tamilnadu Vital to Tamil-hood
Was Lilith a Virgin?
A Virgin, More or Less!

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