Are You a Virgin? And Other Ponderables
And on to my virgin musings... I'm reading this really interesting book now, The Virgin by Erik Barmack. (I hotlinked the cover image to the Amazon page so you can read more about it and see reviews, etc.) It's been in my To Be Read stack for awhile and it just popped out at me the other day. It's come out in a format I see more and more of lately, the trade paperback original. So far, I am really impressed.
The premise is that this guy lies about his background in order to go on a reality TV show, The Virgin. Basically, the guy who wins gets to fuck the virgin. It's reality TV at its worst and most disturbing.
Naughty me, I peeked to the end, so I know that The Virgin herself has some big secrets~but even though I spoiled it for myself, I won't spoil it for you. You'll have to read it yourself!
This is an odd book, but from me that's a compliment. It's really got me thinking about appearances and the lies we tell to ourselves and others to make ourselves either more acceptable or more interesting. Barmack's novel cuts deep and is chilling in some very visceral ways~yet as a reader, you still somehow care about and root for this lowlife, lying narrator. It's rather amazing the way he's able to do that. We're gonna hear more from Barmack, I'm sure. I'll bet this book will be reissued in hardcover. Here's his website.
Anyway, I was reading this book on the beach and my kids were sitting on the blanket with me eating lunch. They wanted to know "What does that mean, The Virgin? What's a virgin?"
THUNK. Yes, yes, we've had THE TALK. They know how the sex thing works et cetera and so forth. So I don't know WHY I hemmed and hawed. But I did. I said, "It's a name for someone who's not married."
"Oh," said my son. "So then I'm a virgin."
Me (lips twitching): "But you probably don't want to go around school describing yourself that way."
My son: "Why?"
Me: "They just don't use that word for kids."
My daughter piped in with, "So Miss X (her teacher, who's 33 and unmarried) is a virgin?"
Me: "Well, I don't really KNOW...It's not really any of my BUSINESS..." Realizing I've contradicted myself: "Backtrack..."
BLUSH BLUSH. Fuckitall, I shoulda just explained it the right way TO BEGIN WITH. So I did. To which I heard:
From daughter: Eeew, I don't want to hear it!
From son: Mom, WE'RE EATING HERE.
Ah well. Taught me to be honest the first time, something I should've already known! Anyway, The Virgin by Erik Barmack. I'm gonna finish it tonight... then, like the depraved consumer I am, I'm gonna watch Survivor...