The Strings Are Rarely Unattached.

31 Day Writing Challenge Day 18: “When I lost my virginity…”

I am not telling you the story of how I lost my virginity. I’m just not. I’m a writer who worships transparency, but in my devotion, I have also learned how to draw limits and lines. If you’d like that story, you can try to bribe my best friend for the information. I hear she likes buffalo wings.

For today’s post, instead of writing that anecdote, I started thinking about losing our virginity and the extreme value our society places on it. Your “first time” is upheld as this poignant life moment, but it’s really the many other moments after, whether with that person or others, that are most transformative.

I ran into an old “friend” yesterday. Friend is in quotes because that’s not the right word, it never was the right word, but it’s the only word I’m able to access for this person. I knew that by attending one of the biggest and cheapest outdoor D.C. concerts, the possibility of seeing old faces was probable. I did not necessarily need to brace myself for anything more than pleasantries, knowing that I would need to grasp only a few words to fill the space that time and growing up had created. And, that is exactly what I did when the inevitable run-in transpired.

I glanced at my phone a few minutes later, the screen a series of notifications I’d received while spending my afternoon jumping up and down, yelling with my friends and drinking margaritas. I noticed one of the notifications was a text from my old “friend” with his new number, I presume sent shortly after our exchange as a final peace offering. It is funny how a one-word text message can open the door to a flood of options.

If you told me back during the autumn of my senior year that three years later, I’d still have loose and ephemeral ties to this person, I would have deemed you well beyond crazy. At that time, I was having fun. Enjoying my life. Doing what a single woman in college does. But, now, I’ve realized, the strings are rarely unattached. It is comforting, almost liberating, to think we can nurse our sex lives in that Samantha Jones-esque way, separating lust from like and even love. And, on occasion, we can. However, we are only human, so the ability to dislocate our hearts from our libidos is usually impossible at worst and difficult at best. Reflexive and natural it most certainly is not.

Three years later and, while I have learned not to act on the information of an old friend’s new number (after some requested coaxing from my actual friends), I still care about this person and wish him well. I have since stopped fooling myself to think I can be complacent in a “no strings attached” kind of agreement. I’ve tried it a handful of times and, for me, the strings somehow always get tied in knots. They never exist in parallel, not touching.





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