Back in the olden days, virginity was something that made you virtuous, something that made you a top seller in the marriage market. In fact, if you weren't the picture of purity, you were considered damaged goods. So of course it was expected of proper ladies to keep their morality in tact, and if they didn't, they had better cover up their indiscretions with a good lie and 30 Hail Mary's.
These are not those times.
I am not in the era of Queen Elizabeth (although the title The Virgin Queen Colleen has a fantastic ring to it) and I have no intention on giving birth to the next Messiah, so naturally I feel a bit behind and a little out of place in the world I live in.
Back then, men heard the term virgin and they thought "good marriage material" and today men hear virgin and they think "woaaahhhh baggage, she'll probably fall in love with me and become a stage-4 clinger."
So it's no secret as to why I've veiled myself in ambiguity and mystery whenever I am dating someone or in a romantic situation that may bring up this topic of conversation.
And let me be frank (as if I wasn't being that already), keeping my v-card safely hidden in the wallet of my life has been quite stressful and has lead to many an awkward situation.
A little over a year ago I found myself in a dangerous dance of epic proportions.
It was just before the summer time and I was hosting an awards ceremony at my old college. My lovely step-mother and I went out shopping for a nice dress for the occassion and we found the perfect match for the event. Perfect price, bright color, funky cut and lots of sass. Right up my alley. So I come out of the fitting room and my step-mom brings up the idea of getting a spray tan to make the color pop some more. Which was probably just a nice way of suggesting to me that if I don't get some color on my skin, I will probably blind the audience and give Casper a run for his money. So I cooked on the idea, did some research on spray tans and thought that I'd give it a go.
So I head to Palm Beach Tan about 3 days before the event and I tell the guy that I would like a tan of the spray variety. He gives me a lesson on how to stand in the big weird machine, tells me exactly how to apply this magic lotion that will keep my hands from looking like the pre-stages of leporacy and then before I know it, I am 5 short minutes away from being the golden goddess I have always dreamed of being.
A few hours after the tan was shot all over my body, I start to see this golden color come to life on my skin. I looked in the mirror and thought "Wow, this looks great!" Aside from the fact that I messed up the hands and they looked pretty terrifying...but I was willing to look past that because HOT DAMN I was TAN!
The awards ceremony came and went, and I got compliments on my new glow (I hid my streaky hands well.) I felt unstoppable. I felt like everything I had been missing in life was just some pigment in my skin.
Slowly and quite surely I became a tan-aholic or tanerexic as it were. The second I saw that ghostly color come creeping back across my skin, you bet your ass I was back at Palm Beach getting my spray on. Some might refer to this as being vanity's bitch and oh boy I was a very bronze bitch at this point. Nothing could go wrong with this tan magic. I could have written sonnets and love songs about my fervid affair.
So time starts to creep on and tanning starts to become part of my weekly routine. Work, rehearsal, tan, rinse and repeat.
Now, I told you I was going to write of awkward love stories and right about now is probably when you are getting nervous that the kind of awkward love stories I am going to be writing of, are going to be about inatimate objects and vain obsessions, but bear with me here, I promise you will want to stick this out...
So in the midst of my tan era, I found myself getting all dolled up one night for an improv show I had. It was a Saturday, so naturally, I got up early, tanned, ran some errands, went home got ready, gazed lovingly at my sexy skintone and headed out to the show.
There I was, outside the theatre with some of the guys in my troupe when Pablo walked up. Pablo is a made up name and Pablo shall remain Pablo for many reasons that you will more than certainly understand later. Now Pablo was from out of town and was in Dallas to do a show. I had met him before a couple of times and he had certainly caught my eye because he was very talented, funny, had story book blue eyes that could melt your heart and a certain amount of quirkyness to set him apart from everyone around him.
Needless to say that when I saw him, I was excited I was seeing him on a day when I was feeling bronzed and beautiful.
The show came and went, laughs were had and I was feeling pretty good that night. As per usual a bunch of us went out to a local bar after the show to keep the good times rolling. Pablo came too and as per usual, I sat a little ways away from him, barely making eye contact and trying to play the "I'm cool and uninterested AND super tan" card. You know, THAT card, it's wildly successful as I am sure you can imagine.
Time passes a bit and then I look up and Pablo is grabbing a chair and plopping right down next to me.
"Keep it cool, O'Connor. Don't talk about how have a secret dream to be Annie Lennox or the fact that it's hard for you to sleep at night without three stuffed animals in your bed. Be the tan, super hip chick that you are...or at least that you THINK you are."
He brings up the fact that I'm moving to NYC with interest which then leads to a discussion about Shakespeare, Ibsen and Chekov. If you know me, then you know how much my heart was swooning at this point. We talk theatre for a good hour and before you know it, it's time to head home. Everyone says their goodbyes...I say bye to Pablo, fully satisfied with my interaction with such a charming and fascinating fellow and head to my car.
Now enter Fate STAGE LEFT.
Pablo has parked in the same general area as me.
"Alright O'Connor, you clearly would like to keep this encounter going because A. You have the opportunity to talk nerdy theatre for at least three more hours and B. If you had a type, he'd TOTALLY be it. Be bold, O'Connor. BE BOLD."
I see him. He sees me. I awkwardly dig for my keys and dig even deeper for the courage to ask him back to my place when...
"Hey, I'm staying at my parents house while I'm in Dallas and they are out of town. I've got some wine there too. We could keep talking, Ibsen if you want."
He's perfect to me in this moment. He's made the move that I was searching for in my purse and when I only found my keys, he found the exact words I was frantically looking for.
"Yeah! I'd love to! Where is it?"
"Just follow me."
I jump in my car, just as excited as can be, when sudden panic and fear creeped into my thoughts. Naturally, I grabbed my phone, called one of my closest girlfriends and she without fail gave me the validation and courage to see where this night is going to take me.
We arrive at a beautiful house, with beautiful old tress lining the entire street and he immediately suggests we continue our geeky thespian talk while taking advantage of the luxiourious pool in the backyard.
Cue screeching breaks NOW.
Pool? Woah. That's alot to deal with. I mean generally I would love to go swimming, but well...I umm...MY TAN PEOPLE! MY TAN!!! What if I got out of the pool and looked like a brown and white zebra? Or what if my lovely golden gleam suddenly turned into a third grader's version of a Monet painting?
No. I can't swim. He'll understand. He's great don't get me wrong...but this tan and I have history. And I'm loyal to my vanity.
I awkwardly opt out of the swim, where as he strips down to his boxers and jumps right in. I'm certain he feels like I'm this ball of complete insecurity, at this point. Thinking things like "she must have some serious insecurities because this pool is great, how could she not jump in?" And he's right about the pool, it was lovely but spray tans and pools are a recipe for disaster.
We manage to talk shop while he swims and I sit up on a perch (safe from chlorine) and he jumps out and suggests we watch a movie.
Hey...I've gotten this far, might as well keep going.
So we sit on the couch, pop in a movie and then we cuddle and talk through most of it.
Now, I like cuddling, alot. It's a very rare occasion where I find myself in a cuddling situation with an actual human being and not a stuffed animal or pillow but this was nice. Dare I say, special. I was finally taking a risk to be innocently intimate with someone who I deemed very worthy.
While the cuddling was great, the conversation was not. Not by any fault of his, mind you but by fault of my very odd circumstances.
He asked if I had ever been in love... "Nope."
He asked what my longest relationship was...."Define relationship."
He found my answers weird...he even said so...and while him being off put by incredibly evasive answers, I was very strongly hoping that he would dismiss it as me being some unattainable by man force of nature and not a repellent to all things love and romance (that and PLEASE GOD don't please don't ask me if I'm a virgin. I don't lie very well and we just talked about Ibsen and Chekov for three hours, everything is going so well, just DON'T ASK ME THAT!)
He didn't. He suggested we try to get some sleep in the next room and he pulled me into the room and gave me a kiss. Without fail, I was incredibly awkward and he labeled that kiss as such, describing it as an "awkward tree house first kiss."
So we crawl into bed, cuddle and talk and we start kissing some more. I wish I could tell you that this was great and passionate and romantic but honestly all I was thinking was along the lines of "Oh my god, he called it an awkward tree house kiss, I'm so terrible at this stuff! No, O'Connor, be sexy, be tan, be bold."
I take my own advice. I forget the tree house comment. I forget the fact he called my romantic history weird and I just let romance and passion take hold....for maybe five minutes.
This cycle of Jekyll and Hyde thoughts continues for a good while but eventually calms down after I realize that I have made progress. I have allowed myself to enjoy a level of intamacy with a guy I find pretty awesome. Yes, my brain was pretty cluttered the whole time but progress is progress and by god! I'll take it!
(If you are still reading I'm sure about five minutes ago you have made a mental note as to how long this blog is and for some reason you are still reading it. Your endurance is commendable. The conclusion is just about here...hang tight.)
I'm not going to go into full detail as to what happened between Pablo and I because I'm no Samantha...I of course fancy myself more of a Carrie (yeah I made a SATC reference, what?) but the time came for me to go home, so I picked up my shirt of the floor, he crawled out of bed to bid me adeiu and...
CUE SCREECHING BREAKS AGAIN
MY TAN! OH MY GOD MY TAN!
This golden beacon of confidence I had grown so fond of, this false pigment I so vehnemtly protected from the pool had....come....off...on...to...the...sheets.
My stomach sank, my heart raced, humiliation was now oozing out of my pores along with the backstabbing spray tan.
"Do you spray tan?"
"Yes! Er umm...bdjlsj...gurgle...giggle...you see I had this formal dress I had to wear and um...pale...me so very but spray...it's just I mean..errr...ummm....sorry, sooo very soorry...new sheets...i'll buy you new sheets...I should go."
"Hey it's okay. Last night was really fun!"
He was being sincere.
WHO WAS THIS GUY? This guy who can keep up with my Shakespeare references, who can challenge my Ibsen knowledge....who can so quickly look past the fact that the thing that gave me a false sense of pride and glow was now streaked all over his sheets, like straight out of a teen movie dream sequence??
He let me go quickly. He made a joke about having an awkward tree house kiss goodbye and we did. It eased my panic and of course made me like him more, which made me hate my tan even MORE and I ran into my car and drove off into the sunrise knowing that unfortunately, I would never see Pablo again.
But I learned a pretty valuable lesson.
Back in the olden days being pale and a virgin= beauty and value
Today being spray tanned and a virgin= hot mess.
I was born in the wrong era.