Amongst hobbies such as half-understanding in-jokes and awkwardly listening to conversations I’m not really a part of, one of my favourite pastimes is pretending not to care about Valentines Day. This is a small but important part of one of my larger occupations, which is pretending not to care that I’m a virgin.
I’m not a hundred percent sure why this is. My current favourite excuse is that I live in St Andrews, where everyone is insanely beautiful. Despite being a solid 6.5 at home, I barely scrape a 4 here. But plenty of my friends managed to get to the Netflix-and-Chill stage before coming to university, whereas I’ve been stuck at the Youtube-and-double-texting stage since I was about 14.
It’s also not for lack of thirstiness. If it was possible to be simultaneously a virgin and a slut, I would be one. In fact, the first draft of this article was going to end: “So, any takers?”, before a sense of self-respect I didn’t think I had reasserted itself.
So, I’m not entirely sure why it is I’ve never done the deed (apart from the fact I refer to sex as “the deed”), but here I am, a virgin on Valentine’s Day. Only a couple of weeks shy of being a twenty year old virgin on Valentines Day, as a matter of fact.
And you know what? It kind of sucks. It’s not just the games of “never have I ever” in which I end up with an untouched drink, while the people I’m playing with confess to having done it in tents, trees and coffins. It’s not even the having to keep awkwardly silent when conversations turn to sex. It’s the general sense of inferiority, of defectiveness, of knowing I must be doing something wrong, but not being sure what.
So when Valentine’s Day, that annual middle finger in the face of the perpetually single, rolls around, I make the same pretence of not caring about it. And it never works. Dismissing Valentine’s Day as a commercialised and heteronormative hangover of a Christian-Capitalist social hegemony only makes you feel better until you realise even people who use phrases like:“commercialised and heteronormative hangover of a Christian-Capitalist social hegemony” are getting more action than you are.
But what if it didn’t have to be this way? What if, this year, instead of slinking off into the shadows this Valentine’s Day, my fellow celibates and I stood up and were counted? I’m not talking virgin-pride parades across the North Haugh (that already happens when Computer Science students get out of class), or defiant declarations that je suis vierge. But surely a little more self-respect among us wouldn’t go amiss? After all, St Andrews is a very cliquey town, and virgins are the one clique that nobody can get back into if they break the rules. The Kate Kennedy Club dream of that kind of exclusivity. And besides, what has campus sex ever lead to besides drama and backache?
Whether you’re a virgin, single, or just stuck on a really long dry-spell, let’s stop apologising for ourselves. Let’s ditch the self-loathing. Let’s make this 14th of February the first-ever St Andrean Virgintines Day, a day when we stop feeling jealous of our more experienced friends, and instead own our celibacy. Future generations will thank us for it.
Or, at the very least, if more people admit to being virgins than I’ll feel less bad about myself.