I realize that nearly everything I've written in the last couple of days has had to do with virginity or abstinence. In fact, the other day, a reader posited that I have a serious virginity fetish that stems from my own regrettable early "loss of innocence" (for the record: It was neither especially early nor regrettable). But look, I'm not making this stuff up or even searching it out! Case in point: There comes news by way of the venerable Daily Mail of yet another virginity auction. This is, what, the third one, or is it the fourth -- who can keep track anymore? (Not even me, apparent virginity enthusiast that I am.)
After coming across news of Natalie Dylan's highly publicized purity sell-off, 18-year-old Alina Percea of Romania decided to go the same route so that she could pay her way through college. She also held out hope that the experience might yield a "nice man, like in the film 'Pretty Woman'" (to which sex workers the world over rolled their eyes) and, as luck would have it, she actually found herself attracted to the winner, a 45-year-old Italian businessman. But the next day it felt decidedly unlike a fairy tale: Percea had to don her own shining armor and ride off to the nearest pharmacy: "I took the morning-after pill," she says. That's because the business deal required that she have unsafe sex if the winner tested negative for STDs.
We've heard a lot of buzz lately about women putting their virginity on the auction block, but Parcea's story is unusual for a number of reasons. First off, the highest bid was pretty low. Her inspiration, all-American 18-year-old Dylan, snagged a high bid of a whopping $3.8 million (and the bidding is still going). Percea netted a mere $13,000, and had actually hoped for the still comparably modest sum of nearly $79,000. Clearly, virginity doesn't have a set rate. (But, based on the far less explicit ways that girls' purity is bought and sold every day, we already knew that, didn't we?) The most unique thing, amusingly enough, about this latest virginity sale is that it's the only one that's actually been finalized, at least publicly.
At the risk of sounding grandmotherly, I have to say: This all makes the prospect of "giving away" or "losing" one's virginity seem comparably inoffensive.