2014's fast food atrocities
Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.
Well, let’s just get this out of the way: I am a 33-year-old virgin.
I’m not a virgin for religious reasons. I was never waiting for marriage or “the right one.” Mine is a case of bad luck. Wrong women, wrong times.
My story doesn’t fit the profile you’d expect. I’m a comic in New York City, and I’ve worked in and around this scene since I was 22. I’m a good comic. Some nights, I’m even great. You know what comedians do after shows? Drink, smoke or fuck. They do that because all three are easy to find after-hours, when our shifts end. I’ve gone out with female audience members on occasion, but those nights somehow fall apart, and I end up at home playing “Sonic the Hedgehog.” A comic once said to me, “It’s impossible for even a mediocre comedian to not get laid doing this. And you’re good and you’ve never gotten laid. I don’t know how you do it.” Nice to know: In one area of comedy, at least, I’m a groundbreaker.
So why am I writing about all this? Because I know there are more guys out there like me. I was reminded of that last weekend, when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a murderous rampage, saying that part of his rage was because he was still a virgin. He describes his existence as “torturous.” I can relate to that feeling. Not only have I never had sex, but I’ve never had a girlfriend. In my entire life. But I wish I could’ve told that guy life without sex is only as torturous as you want it to be.
It hasn’t been easy. Every girl I’ve ever cared for has rejected me. The last big rejection was April 29, 1999. I was in high school, and I was fairly certain this girl was interested in me, too. But her ex told her I was going around school saying she was already my girlfriend. The next day she told me to fuck off and never talk to her again in front of the entire school. OK, not the entire school. Just the drama club. And the kids in detention (chanting “ECW!” because extreme wrestling was big up here and “Jerry! Jerry!” because ahhh, the ’90s). And the dance company. And the cheerleaders. So, you know, most of the school. When I got upset, as one does when his heart is broken in front of the senior class, a teacher grabbed the girl. “Don’t you remember what happened last week in Columbine?” Gee, thanks.
But that wasn’t enough for this girl. She also framed me for a bomb scare at my school. She also called my mom to let her know she only hung out with me because she felt bad for me. As the days turned to weeks and the months turned to years, I realized that perhaps I was wrong. She never did care about me. And in fact no one has.
This is the part that stings. It hurts like a motherfucker that no one has ever seen me as a boyfriend. But of course, the part people want to talk about is the sex. When you’re a virgin this late in the game, it bothers people. They ask questions. They judge you. There is ridicule. As I got older, it presented a huge handicap with women. They saw me differently, I suppose, or didn’t want the burden that came with being my first. There was just so much at stake. But the virgin part doesn’t really bother me anymore. If I really wanted to just lose it, there are ways. I made a choice 10 years ago that if I had already waited this long, then I wanted my first time to be with someone who cares for me. A woman who does it because she wants to — not because she was paid to do it.
It’s not your fault if you’re a virgin and you’re over the “appropriate” age society randomly deems to be normal. But it’s also not the fault of the women who made a different choice. They want to live their lives their way, and you have to respect their decisions. I have seen women I cared for go with slobs. I’ve known women who were lonely and knew full well I wanted to date them go to online dating sites. They’d rather risk it with a stranger than try me out. I’ve seen women I liked sleep with my friends behind my back. In fact one did that on my 22nd birthday. I was depressed as hell the next day. And angry! You know what I did to feel better? I went and bought “The Best of Dokken” and put “Alone Again” on repeat. (Still love that CD.)
But I’ve also seen myself screw up and lose women I thought were “the one.” I’m to blame just as much as any female. In a social media age, when all your friends are posting 24/7 about how “wonderful” their relationships are, it’s hard to face being alone, or being on a different timeline than everyone else. You can get caught up in envy and hit by depression. “What’s wrong with me?” is a question I’ve pondered for way too many years.
If you’re a virgin and you’re reading this — especially if you’re under 25 — don’t let it get you down. You are not alone. You have so many years ahead of you. There are so many people out there. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t let that one fact define you. Keep trying. Rejection hurts, but you have to keep putting yourself out there. And if the person you like doesn’t think you’re the right fit, then they lost out, and you get to save money on Christmas. But you have to keep trying. If you know you’re awesome, just keep busting your ass being awesome until no one can deny it anymore.
Maybe you’re thinking: What do you know? After all, I’m 33, and I’ve never been in a relationship. But I do know that there is a lot of other joy available in life. Three years ago, I started a Web series called “Ray Gootz’s Roommates.” It was about three women living together. From there, I spun off another series called “Twisted Tales for Teens,” which is pretty much “South Park” with teen girls. From there, we did three more shows. I have now written and directed five Web series with an all-female cast. I never planned that. But as I went on this creative journey I found my most trusted collaborators were women. My most loyal actors were women. And the actors I enjoyed most writing for were women. Here I am, with every reason in the world to be a misogynist slob, and I spend most of my time creating and working with some of the most talented, smartest and bravest women I have ever met.
So if you’re out there getting dark about this, lighten up. Keep the faith, kids. The right one will be here one day. At least, that’s what I hope, too.
Ray Gootz is a stand-up comic, writer and director from Astoria, NY. You can view his web series at www.youtube.com/raygootz.More Ray Gootz.
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