Guthrie asked me a question (at 0 : Dark : 30 this morning) in the comments to the Wow, How Appropriate Is This Post? thread, which is about some statistics Tara looked at in one of her older posts. (The link to that post is also in that thread. Really interesting read, take the time!)
His question was:
Excuse me for being nosy, but what were your reasons for taking the silver ring pledge in the first place?
I can understand how it would appeal, but did you do it as a way of fitting in at church, or to reinforce your own opinions, or what? When people change their minds rapidly, it can be interesting to know why.
(I fixed one little typo, it was bugging me.) 🙂
My answer started to get a little long, and I’ve only just started, so I figured I’d better give it a post of its own.
It’s a perfectly valid question, given how publicly I’ve spoken about it.
I don’t have a great answer for you, though. I suppose it was a combination of things.
First, let me tell you what it wasn’t about.
It wasn’t about sex generally, really. My family has always been pretty relaxed and candid about things like sex and nudity. Not that I was ever encouraged to go out whoring or anything, but sex was never a taboo subject, and walking from the shower to the bedroom in the raw was nothing of note. I never got “THE TALK” that my friends did. Never needed it. We talked about sex at my house the same way we talked about the alphabet, or the parade in town, or the tornado forcast. (We lived a little south of Columbus, Ohio then, and tornados are a mild concern sometimes.) If the topic came up at the dinner table and I had a question, I asked. And I got an answer. Sex is just another part of life.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that unlike most of my friends, the idea that sex was somehow dirty or evil or sinful was foreign to me.
When I was like ten, the first girl in our class got her period in school. She was hysterical. I think she thought (get this) that God was punishing her and she was going to die for something she had been thinking about a boy. I was in the girls’ room when she came in with the nurse hot on her heels. The nurse was an idiot. That airhead was talking about “Lie down on the floor, in case you feel faint.” She wasn’t worried about shock from the surprise, but blood loss! (And why the Hell did she take her to the BATHROOM to lie down instead of the couch in the nurse’s room? Ewww, nasty! Hello?) Not only was she the school nurse, but as far as I know SHE STILL IS! (Another time I overheard her telling a different girl that she couldn’t help in the garden while “Aunt Flo is in town”, because it would wilt the vegetables. In Kate’s words, “WTF????”) I think this was ’round about when I started to realize that not everybody knew about “the birds and the bees”.
Anyway, the nurse went to call the girl’s parents and I volunteered to stay with her. That poor girl is probably scarred for life. I talked to her for a while, and helped her settle down, and when she was a little calmer, I did the best I could to reassure her she wasn’t dying and going to Hell.
The state of Ohio’s high school science (not to mention the nursing schools, apparently) is disgraceful. I think we’ve all figured out here that I’m a case in point.
Ok, so the reason I took the pledge wasn’t about sex per se.
Neither (I originally wrote “nor” here, but you can’t have one of those without a “neither”) was it about religion. I was raised to believe in God, and I still do, but that’s about as far as that goes. I’m fairly certain that The Big Guy (Girl?) has much more important things to do in the universe than shoot a lightning bolt up my ass for enjoying the love and company of another girl. Heck, if He’s like most of the guys I know, He’s probably watching… with a big ol’ woody. (In his spare time of course. There’s a universe to run!)
Ok, moving on…
I suppose there was a small amount of “fitting in peer pressure” from the other kids in my youth group. Not a lot, though. The pressure was there, I just didn’t take a lot of stock in it. But it is a bit disconcerting to be the “odd man out”. So honestly, I do have to say that that was a small part of it.
There was also the fear of disease. That’s just smart. You can’t get VD (at least not as readily) if you’re not sexually active.
I was also pretty… “bookish”… I think was the term one of you guys used to describe me. Don’t misunderstand, I have a healthy libido. I got my share of offers. I’ve always liked kissing. But it’s hard to read The Hound of the Baskervilles with some guy trying to tickle your tonsils, y’know? His head keeps getting in the way!
I was a cheerleader in the fall and winter, and I ran track in the spring and played softball over the summer, so there was the time factor, too.
But mostly I think that I just wasn’t ready for sex, and I didn’t expect to BE ready until I was married. I’m pretty idealistic, and I’ve always cherished the fairytale notions about my wedding night with
Eventually, though, everyone understands that Santa Clause isn’t real. Prince(ss) Charming isn’t coming on a white horse to sweep me off my feet and rescue me from the Troll’s Tower. In point of fact, she rode in on a tank.
And they lived happily ever after.