by Liz Talley
So the other day something interesting popped up on MSN Sports homepage that I HAD to click - an article about athletes who are virgins. That's screaming for a link click, right? Tebow and LoLo Jones were the subject. Seems LoLo had professed to being a virgin and there was speculation about her dating the other "Virgin of the Gridiron" Tim Tebow. I'm guessing the general public (or talk show hosts) thought the blind should lead the blind...or is that the virgin should lead the virgin?
Well, anyhow, this caught my attention because my upcoming July release Under the Autumn Sky is both about a football coach and a virgin. I will admit to being a Tebow fan. Love a young man with conviction who can barrel into the endzone and do circumcisions on third world babies, so it was easy for me to explore the idea of Tebow and a virgin Olympian...even though it's none of my business who Tebow and LoLo date or when they decide to forego their status as virgins.
So, anyway, I wrote a virgin book, and it's mainly the fault of someone on some blog talking about how there aren't any twenty-something virgins anymore and that if a gal had reached the ripe ol' age of former spinsterhood (like 25, I guess?) she was a major loser and the book couldn't be legit. Well, that sort of made me mad because who says there aren't any twenty-something virgins? Or thirty-something? Or even older? Is there some unwritten rule that declares a girl must have sex when she's nineteen to be normal? Hmmm...must have missed that. So anytime someone says you shouldn't write something in a book, I immediately think of a good reason why I should. So I knew I had to write a virgin.
She's atypical because she's a heavy equipment operator. And she's a virgin because a.) she hasn't found the right guy and b.) she's the guardian for her brother and sister, aka, a single mother. So for Lou, it becomes practical to put her life on hold while she raises her younger siblings. Lou feels like she's hit the pause button on her life and if she can get Waylon and Lori out of high school and into college, she'll be able to resume the life she had before her parents crashed their plane into the Ouachita forest. She doesn't really want to be a virgin...she just is.
And I think it's a fair portrayal. I don't like the idea that a life is unfulfilled if a gal isn't getting any. But that's the way popular society portrays older virgins. What's wrong with seeing sex as something intimal, personal and, okay, special? Shouldn't that absolute shedding of all reserves be somewhat sacred? I'd kind of like to think so. The romantic inside me insists that lovemaking be something more profound than a backseat groping, struggling, not so comfortable endeavor? I mean, backseat is fine, but the idea of shedding the "V" card just to shed it seems...stupid. Giving up a gal's virginity shouldn't be a capricoius undertaking. It shouldn't be given up to Christopher Whatzisname while buzzed on wine coolers on the back of a rusted out tailgate just so you can get it over with. Am I right? So, rock on, older virgins! Good for you for holding out for someone special. For something more profound than, "Oh, snap! The condom broke...and by the way, what's your name again?"
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Lou does lose her virginitiy...I just don't know when. I figure it isn't my business. I gave her a special guy who loves her more than himself, so it's up to her to figure the logistics out. So, no "V" card claimed in this book which is a little different. But I like different.
So what do you think about virgins in romance books? Is that so twenty years ago and thus unbelievable? Do virgins make good heroines?