The 36-Year-Old Virgin
August 23, 2005

Despite its rave reviews, allegedly honest and non-mocking portrayal of the title character, and successful display of the "triumph of the human spirit" (whatever that is), I'm not about to get excited about a film that frames its main character in such a way that suggests being a 40-year-old virgin represents some sort of inherent problem. The film's tag line, "Better late than never" begs for some tangential statements. Granted, around about 39-years of age, I was probably AC Green's biggest cheerleader. But not because I thought something was wrong with him. I just wanted the man to get his due. With his wife, that is.

The concept of abstinence is finally gaining back some momentum in our society, but the concept of adult virginity is seen as downright peculiar. In a society that trivializes sex almost every chance it gets, a film with such a title can't possibly be taken as a nod to the chaste. I've had my fair share of discussions with people who couldn't even conceptualize "not having sex." I look at some of my guy friends who are virgins (handsome ones too) and I feel like I'm looking at a rare and uncelebrated breed.

I first met Lakita Garth when I was around 13-years-old. At the time she was in her mid-twenties and stood before our youth group and boldly professed to us that she was a virgin. She then rattled off statistics on teenage sexual activity and STDs like it was the alphabet. The girl knew her stuff. Not only that, she was gorgeous. Not only that she was smart, educated, accomplished, and a woman of integrity. Her style was classy and feminine. She was modest but not matronly. As a short and insecure teenager with big feet and braces, I was completely in awe.

I probably heard Lakita speak in person around four times throughout my teenage years. Every time she opened her mouth, her message was consistent. I know there were many factors included in my making a decision to remain a virgin prior to marriage, but without a doubt, I can truly say that Lakita's presence in my life gave me the confidence and the vision to make wise decisions for the future.

As an adult, I watched the former Miss Black California travel around the country speaking, testifying before congress, and regularly appearing on "Politically Incorrect" with Bill what-his-face. She always held her own amid a guest-line up vicious enough to make even a Bible-believing Christian cuss. And they do. I know some.

This all probably seems so insignificant to many, but the question I always ask people is, "What does a virgin look like?" If forced to concoct an image of purity, chances are you see "A young, white, girl." Rarely do we envision a guy, and even more rarely do we envision a person of color. Strange the way that works isn't it? Talk about rage against the machine.

Meanwhile, the collective representation of the "sexuality" of women of color can pretty much be summed up by flipping through a few beauty magazines, turning on the television, or going to the toy store (where you'll find the self-improvement Bratz Dolls complete with big lips, big butts, and of course, LACE THONGS). In a world of bad representation, Lakita broke some major stereotypes in a very public way. She may never get credit for this, today and every day, I salute her for being a trailblazer.

So why all the nostalgia? Well, eleven days ago, at age 36, Ms. Garth's abstinence card was revoked in a major way. She was united in holy matrimony to Mr. Jeff Wright and I'm sure it was well worth the wait. I'm not a big fan of patting people on the back for virginity or abstinence. It doesn't warrant applause or special recognition. But I am a big fan of celebrating the right way to do things so Lakita, get your freak on. And I mean that in the purest of ways.

(Photo courtesy of Crestine Hauser, imprintstudio@msn.com)

Links: In lieu of wedding gifts, Jeff and Lakita opted to build an AIDS orphanage in Uganda. If you feel led, give.

Posted by Ambra at August 23, 2005 3:20 AM in Culture
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I know very few couples that can say the same.

And as long as video h..er, girls can say that they are 'role models' for young girls, real women and men of God have the responsibility to set the record straight.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

As a short and insecure teenager with big feet and braces, I was completely in awe.

Haha.

C'mon, I'm not the only one who laughed, admit it.

nice story.I think that would solve ALOT of what ails us today but its hard to do. However I did once have a girlfriend who decided to be a virgin in the middle of the relationship I respected her decision but I had to go. Ok call me names now lol

Bravo Ambra!

Besides the venerable substance of the post I enjoyed how you began with the movie reference, "40-year-old Virgin".

Good writing.

It's refreshing to hear about people who continue to have high standards. It's easy to lose faith given the overabundance of some cavalier attitudes.

I was enlightened later in life, but have been abstinent for more than five years now. As htc mentions, it's not necessarily an easy change, but I've found that removing physicality from a relationship makes for a higher quality overall interaction. And, ultimately, if one of those relationships turns into marriage, I like to feel that by reserving certain intimacies, when my wife do share them, that they will have more meaning.

Wow, thanks for the heads up. I have known of Lakita's ministry for a long time. Now we need more people like her (when she was a virgin) to not be ashamed of their virginity and encourage others to do the same.

Wondering if she is going to do the hyphened last name thing...

"Wondering if she is going to do the hyphened last name thing..."

I sure hope not.

Good stuff. Puts me in the mind to thoughts from earlier today:

1. S.E.X., no marriage = SIN
2. Marriage, no S.E.X. = SIN

And to the responded regarding the "hyphenated name" folly that many fall into, let's add number 3.

3. Honor G-d and your Husband by exchanging your Father's name with your Husbands name.

If she has been consistent in number 1 so far, let's see how she does with the other two.

I am thoroughly and completely convinced that sex is the devil's number one weapon of mass destruction. I mean, in its illicit form it works against practically everybody: married pastors/preachers, teachers, judges, 10 year olds, 80 year olds, bosses, presidents, deacons, husbands, WIVES...EVERYBODY!! If we are to believe the reports, it (sex with all those alleged virgins) was even one of the carrots that was used to motivate the 9/11 terrorist to immolate themselves along with hundreds of innocents.

Thanks for adding more ingredients to the formula for getting my three children (two girls) to the alter intact!

On Lakita's Web site it says that the incidence of Herpes in the adult black community is 45%. I thought it was actually higher, since I read somewhere that it's somewhere between 60-80% for the entire sexually active adult population. And you know how our people usually come out on the short end of the social disease measuring stick.

As my pastor might say, thanks for "being transparent" concerning your own cred, too.

Wow was this a refreshing read. As a recent college graduate I find the world that I and my friends inhabit totally saturated in cheapened s.e.x.uality. Even among many close friends I just don't discuss the issue of my decision to wait until marriage. I've struggled in the past with the question of whether I am doing the right thing or just missing out on a lot of good times, as most would lead you to believe. But when I take a step back and see all the women who talk about guilt free s.e.x. asking why they can't find a decent man, and the men who are so consumed by their s.e.x.ual desires that they cease being decent and honorable, I feel more confident in my decision. I think not having a religious community has made going this route even more lonely and so its really great to come across young, intelligent, good people who have made the same choice. Thanks!

Loved this! Got a big laugh out of the "get your freak on" comment. I happen to be a bad girl (turned bible-thumping Christian) that can attest to the fact that GOD blesses a HOLY union in far more ways than you could ever imagine. Waiting is most assuredly worth it... and I say that for those who are making a choice to abstain from "today on" as well as those who have always abstained. It's never too late to be a daughter of the King - awaiting your royal blessing! And when you get blessed, you can then proceed to "get jiggy wid'it!" :)

Brought back fond memories of my favorite rap group from the early 90s, Transformation Crusade, a Christian group who formed in college at Liberty Baptist. One of the members was V.M.C.--Virtuous MC! And whe was, too.

She went:

V.M.C. bring it!
Praise the Lord for this opportunity
To take a stand as a virtuous M.C.
First of all before I bust my rhyme'
'Cause Jesus is the reason that I'm even in front of ya'll
Home I'll be bringin' it cause this sister won't be singin' it
I'll do a rap while the beat is steady swingin' it

Guess you had to hear it to really appreciate it, but they were DOPE, I tell ya'!

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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