big_Ben4158: “hey ;)”

This was the message request I was staring at on Instagram. I should have deleted it immediately — big_Ben4158 could have been a classic serial killer, or may own an uncomfortably large collection of Beanie Babies. Upon reading the message, it was clear to me that deletion would have been the appropriate course of action under most circumstances.

These were not most circumstances.

It was 3:12 am. My sleep-deprived brain contained the higher function of a sea sponge and no survival instincts.

To boot, I had experienced close to no human interaction for almost two years. Having watched every romantic comedy Netflix offered and having defiled every cylindrical object in my possession, I was at my wits’ end. It felt like I was giving the personification of loneliness an endless piggyback ride.

Plus, I was the capital V. You know the one: ‘Virgin.’ Not the “never had sex before” type of virgin; I was the “never been kissed or held hands with someone else” type of virgin. 

But there were positive aspects to my situation. I was no longer “that weird theatre kid with the ugly orange hair” Charlie. I was now University Charlie, and University Charlie was confident, extroverted, and was not going to finish their freshman year a virgin.

In my mind, virginity was like Super Glue — it stuck the label of ‘loser’ to me. All my friends had lost their virginities a long time ago. What was wrong with me?

Now you understand why I took this opportunity. I started with some research on my potential hookup and found out his real name — let’s say he was called Ben N. Syder. According to his bio, he was a “fun-loving guy ;)” who clearly used winky faces as a motif; his profile contained a picture of headless abs that had been shoved through Instagram’s Mayfair filter about 69 times too many.

He wasn’t the most enticing, but I was less concerned about the ‘who’ and more about the ‘what’ of turning in my V-card. It was time to strike. My next move? Send something subtle, yet smooth. I didn’t want to seem too intense.

chmorocz: “Hiya there!! I’m Charlie, what’s your name? :)”

Did I actually send that?

What the hell was wrong with me? Was I an idiot? Goddamn it.

big_Ben4158: “ben lol. doing smthn tonight?”

I retrieved my phone from the crater I threw it in upon feeling my phone vibrate. Then, I contemplated my options. I decided on a message that was both short and sweet. 

chmorocz: “nope, hbu?”

big_Ben4158: “not much. maybe trying to ‘slam the ham’ if you know what I mean ;))”

It was then that I had a moment of clarity. Its message was beautiful — I needed to respect myself. I was above heeding the booty call of a stranger who wanted to, quote, “slam the ham.” I deleted the conversation, did my skincare routine, and went to bed.

This is what I wish I could say.

Instead, I found myself stumbling down Spadina Avenue to catch a streetcar to big_Ben4158’s house. My friends’ constant pestering about “When are you going to… you know?” had not gotten old — it had gotten Paleozoic. I was tearing up that V-card tonight.

As I crossed the street, a thought hit me: Does he have condoms?

This made me pause. My new extroversion did not extend to microbial friends. My pause was short — a driver laid it thick and heavy on their horn since I was stopped midway through the crosswalk — but it was a pause nonetheless.

Embarrassed, I scurried onto the streetcar. Then I remembered the condoms in my wallet. I had meekly snatched them from the Office of Residence and Student Life when I thought the staff hadn’t been looking, only to knock the bowl over.

Cringing at my entire existence passed the time well; I was getting off — the streetcar, that is — before I knew it. The walk towards big_Ben4158’s house was nerve-wracking. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of his front door.

Here, I was expecting the Pokémon theme song to play as I evolved into an adult. Instead, I took a deep breath, prepared to knock, and… flopped onto my bed.

That entire plan, just to bail at the end. Inspiring.

In hindsight, my night wasn’t a complete waste of time. I realized that I didn’t need to lose my virginity to get validated. Having shame about an imaginary construct like virginity was not a good use of my energy.

Virgin or not, wear your label with pride. Maybe that was the night’s lesson. Or maybe I’m trying to justify the Stage IV case of blue balls I had. Regardless, the end result was the same. It’s like P!nk was foreshadowing my adventure with the line, “It’s just you and your hand tonight.”