Balls of their own

"Purity" events are no longer just for girls.

Published October 10, 2007 5:41PM (EDT)

When Broadsheet first covered purity balls, one of the first questions we asked -- after "Can you please, please make them stop?" -- was "Where do the boys come in?" Now, buried in an otherwise late-to-the-party article in the Arizona Daily Star, we have our answer.

According to Abstinence Clearinghouse president Leslee Unruh, more and more "purity" events for moms and sons are taking place. But really, they can't call these mother-son dances "balls." Or "dances," for that matter, if they want any boys to quit playing Halo and show up. Instead, they've decided to give these events, well, exactly the name that you would have come up with if you were writing the "Saturday Night Live" parody of same. Mmm hmm. I'll give you a sec. Tap, tap. OK. Got it? Here you go. Yes, indeed: They're called "A Knight to Remember." (Subhead: "A Celebration of Chivalry for Sons and Mothers.")

So what do moms and squires actually do at such an event (aside from pretending the name doesn't sound like some sort of naughty role-play)? Make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy? Well, sort of. The newsletter of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, which sponsors the events, reported that "mothers and sons spent the night together talking about integrity, purity and character while feasting on 'groom's cake.' Mothers took a pledge to be available for their sons [?!], while the young men tried to escape to the Purity Ball next door took a pledge to remain pure until marriage."

To be utterly fair, Knight events do address one of the gazillion things wrong with girls' purity balls: that is, the suggestion that girls' virginity is something to be kept safe (under, eww, the watchful eyes of their fathers) from the marauding boy hordes of Goths and Vandals who bear no responsibility for keeping their swords in check. Here, at least everyone's making the pledge, crossed though their fingers may be. But -- wishful-thinking moment -- wouldn't it be nice if, instead, everyone would quit fetishizing virginity and just speak frankly about why it's way better to wait, but here's what to do if you don't? I know Trojans predate knights, but come on. I've got some shining armor for you.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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