Warning! Seasonal soppiness alert: The Virginity Project is going to post something warm and mushy. It is Christmas after all. And Christmas is a funny time of year. It’s a bit like L.A. It’s a wonderful town if you’ve got something good going on in your life but it’s a potential sprawling pool of loneliness if you don’t. The Virginity Project is having a high old time of it at the moment but for those who aren’t, take heart, nice things do happen, and often when you least expect them.
A while back, I pondered on the idea of ‘love’ and what that meant for people. I was researching a feature I was writing for a broadsheet and I wanted to know how people felt about the finding – or not – of love. I particularly wanted to know what teenagers felt about that. Do they need to find love? For themselves? To keep up appearances? Do we have to have romantic love in order to survive? Does the media give us unrealistic expectations for our love lives? Well, I can’t answer that last question today but seventeen-year-old 'Maddie' had something to say about the rest of it.
I’m a 17 year old female, born in 1993, and my name, for the purpose of this piece, will be Maddie. Now, instantly as you discover that I’m 17, you’ll most likely be questioning the content of this e-mail, as when someone below the age of 22 speaks about love, their thoughts are disregarded as they ‘Don’t even know what love is’ - and that’s a very true statement. I have no clue what love is (well...romantic love at least). However love, not just romantic love, but material, physical, friendship and family, fascinates me. I think it’s perhaps for the exact reason that I don’t know what it is, that it fascinates me so greatly, after all, humans do have a great fascination of the unknown. But despite my age, bare with me, hopefully my two cents is worth something.
So basically, I’m 17, and have never had a boyfriend. Now although I’m reassured that this isn’t that unusual, and that I’ll find a boy some day, it makes me panic. The thing is, it’s all well and good for these people (all people who have had a vast history of romance) to be telling me that I’ll find a boy, but they’re missing one more vital piece of information....not only have I never had a boyfriend, I have also never been kissed.
You will most likely now be imagining some girl who is quite possibly socially retarded, and is physically not in the least bit appealing to the eyes, so I will now attempt to change your premonitions of what I look like, and how I behave in social circumstances. And even if you don’t think that I’m some weirdo, I’m going to tell you anyway, in an attempt to boost my slowly sinking self esteem.
I have a number of close male friends, have a high leadership position within my school, play sport, musical instruments and do alright in school. I get invited to parties on a frequent basis, and I’m fairly certain I’m normal looking (and slightly above normal looking when I put on make-up). So the fact that a boy has never even looked at me in a romantic way kills me slowly (that’s a semi lie. I’ve been asked out twice, once by a friend who I just didn’t see in that way, and a second time by my best male friend, who then proceeded to retract the offer because ‘the sex would be weird’.)
I feel like there must be something wrong with me. Everyone says ‘Oh I’m so jealous. It would be so great to be single again’. But is it? When you’re in a relationship you always have the option, so if being single is so fantastic, why don’t you too be alone? I have never told anyone about my frustration at my apparent ‘forever alone’ status. I guess it’s because I’m not often serious about such matters, and consequently it would be awkward for me to speak openly about such sadness. I know I’m only 17, and I’ve got plenty of time to find some boy who finds me lovely and wants to hang out with me, but I feel like I’ve been waiting for so long. Some of my friends have had so many romantic and/or sexual partners, and I can’t help but think... ‘Isn’t it my turn to be loved?’
Anyway, I know this basically turned into a therapy-make-myself-feel-better-about-being-forever-alone e-mail, but hopefully you enjoyed reading about how in a world so full of perceived mistrust and hate (so dramatic, I know), that love is, in my eyes at least, the most important thing.
Feel free to e-mail me back, or not, it's up to you. I've got plenty more stories on how I've been in love with the same guy for 2 years and he hasn't even noticed. It's great. Thanks, ‘Maddie’
I know what you’re thinking. What’s mushy about that? Well I’ll tell you. One of the (many) nice things about being the owner of The Virginity Project is that from time to time, people write and update me on their stories. So that what may have started out as a very sad tale can often take an unexpected turn for the better.
Earlier this month, Maddie emailed me out of the blue:
‘Hi Kate, I sent you an e-mail a few months ago and promised to update you if anything occurred within my love life, so, I suppose this is the update. Around 3 weeks ago, I received the text message I thought I'd never see - the guy who I've liked since I was 15 asked me out, and things have been going wonderfully ever since then.
I guess there's nothing more to add to that update except to say that I suppose miracles can happen! Also, I have to congratulate you on the success of the play! Keep up the good work! :)
And if that doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart, try The Muppets. This is foolproof.
The Virginity Project wishes you very happy and peaceful holidays X