Wet MascaraThe following account from a seventeen-year-old girl who advocates abstinence until marriage is from an issue of Life Issues Institute Newsletter:
"I guess that 2 am on an autumn night is as good a time as any for an emotional breakdown - which is why my pillow is wet and the mascara, so carefully applied to impress you, Richard, is spread across my nose and cheeks. They call it waterproof mascara, but sometimes life's setbacks are just too much even for waterproof mascara. Why don't they market 'loser's mascara' so a teenage girl can get dropped on her head by a football hero and fade out of the picture glamorously.
"We've been dating steadily for three months now. But when you drove off a half-hour ago, your masculine pride wounded, I realized that we were through. You didn't say as much, but I know you won't call again. You did say, 'I've been patient, Faye, but three months is a long time and . . .well, you know.' Sure, three months is a long time to date a girl who doesn't 'put out.' The pressure has been building up slowly as we've become more intimate and more fond of each other. At least you were nice enough to bother with me for three whole months. I mean . . .a virgin and a football player!? Not a very workable combination, is it Richard?
"But I won't be dateless forever. In spite of what people say, there are a lot of guys who will date virgins. After all, I'm only 17 and you're 18. We're not in the compulsory-affair age group yet. And I'm pretty enough to have guys calling me up, Richard. But, I'll admit, they're not superstars like you. Because your jaw is square and you look like Sean Penn, you're charming and witty, and you led the league in rushing last season, you expect a girl to 'put out.' And I know plenty of my girlfriends who would, maybe will, do just that for you.
"But why wouldn't I? It's just not that easy to explain. And sitting in your car a few minutes ago, with your eyes blazing angrily at me, the reasons just fell out of my head like shingles off a roof. And I felt stupid for not wanting to make love. And yet there are many reasons why I am unwilling. You say they're dumb reasons. Well, tonight maybe I think so too, but tomorrow I think maybe they'll seem valid again. 'Is it because I'm Catholic?' you asked. Well, in a way, but that's not the whole reason. Having sex with you tonight would have caused a chain reaction, and now that I'm lying alone in bed, I can see that chain more clearly.
"Why is it that the answers appear only after the argument's over? If I slept with you, I couldn't go to communion on Sunday and, as we go to Mass as a family, that would set my parents worrying, and then what would I tell them? So that's two people that I love who are hurt right off the bat. Plus I'd feel hurt and guilty too.
"I'm no saint, Richard, but I don't want to abandon my faith. I believe in God, and that belief gives my life a very real and sane perspective. But to you who have no religion, for me to say I like being a practicing Catholic, well, that's sort of like saying I like being a chimpanzee - you just wouldn't understand. What other reasons do I have?
"Well, in a way, my generation is shell-shocked. You know the sexual revolution isn't a revolution any longer. It's old hat. Some of us, even at my age, can stand back and observe the outcome before being involved and, frankly, I don't like what I see. If I could look at my friends and family who've been a part of that revolution and say, 'They lived happily ever after,' I might be a convert. I might even now be snuggled in your arms in that warm car, but it's not like that, Richard. I see a great big lack of happiness out there.
"My older sister, Ruth, lived with her boyfriend for twelve months when she was 19, and then it fell apart - his doing, mainly. She was so hurt by it that she warned me never to get caught in the same situation. She really didn't have to warn me. I could see the agony involved, and she wasn't even pregnant. Imagine if she'd been pregnant and been duped. Well, she might have turned into a single parent struggling along trying to juggle a baby and roommates and high rent. Her glamorous single existence would be long gone. But she's still not married, and I think the experience has hurt her so badly that it's warped her attitude toward making a future commitment.
"What other reasons come to mind as I lie here in bed at 2 am? Well, many. My generation - our generation, Richard - sees a lot of scary things coming from having casual sex: herpes, AIDS, venereal disease, warts, sores and abortions. You know, back in the '60s, teenagers didn't have to worry so much. Oh, there was venereal disease, but that was about it. But today, when a girl loses her virginity, my friends joke, 'Then she's eligible for the Big D.' "D" is for death because, if you get AIDS, you can die from having had that sex. You know, casual sex isn't all that casual.
"I don't know anyone personally who has herpes, but one of my sister's girlfriends caught it off a guy whom she considered very nice, and it was only the second guy she'd slept with. But now, herpes will give her a lifetime of problems like who would want to marry her? And when she has babies, if the herpes is active, she'll have to have a caesarean section. You know, all of these things give a girl cause to think.
"And then there's another reason, Richard, why I'd like to hold on to my virginity. What could have started tonight would have been a 'relationship', an open-ended affair with no strings, no commitments and no ground rules. How long would it last - six months, a year? Not forever, that's for sure, because neither of us is ready for marriage yet. Two of my close girlfriends are in just such relationships now - totally non-binding. And that's where the chain reaction comes in.
"When their relationships end, Richard, they're likely to move into somebody else's bed. Oh, I've heard about secondary virginity where someone loses his or her virginity and then regrets it and opts for celibacy, but that's rare. If I lose my virginity at 17, how many men will I sleep with before meeting the one I marry? And, you know, I guess I just don't want to be someone's casual 'relationship'.
"When I give myself, I want it to be in marriage. I want to be somebody's life-long lover - the person my man can't bear to live without. I don't want a 'relationship'. Anybody can have that. I want poems and flowers. I want a diamond ring and children and a history together. And I want our history to end happily ever after.
"Well, it's 3 o'clock in the morning now, and I guess I am feeling a bit better. I guess I should have laid out these reasons for you tonight, my handsome friend, but at least in thinking them back in my own mind, I'm better equipped to handle the fact that we are through. And tomorrow I'll wipe off my smeared mascara and get on with my life.
"Will I see you at Diane's party? And who will you have on your arm? Will my heart churn as I linger by the punch bowl pretending to have a marvelous time engrossed in conversation with a nerd? Yes, I will. I've lost you, Richard, but I retain my independence, my self-respect and my simple uncomplicated existence. Tomorrow my eyes will be swollen, but my future will be free and unfettered. So I guess maybe I'm really not a loser after all."