Saturday 27 August 2016

Singletons are being condemned to live as born-again virgins

Published 23/06/2014 | 02:30

'The message from the church was to lay off the sex until you get married. Keep yourself for the big day and you will be fully compliant. 'Picture posed. Thinkstock Images
'The message from the church was to lay off the sex until you get married. Keep yourself for the big day and you will be fully compliant. 'Picture posed. Thinkstock Images

Virgins would be scarce enough nowadays but there is no shortage of born-again virgins. The church kept the numbers up for years, of the originals, that is. The few virgins we have left now in Ireland wouldn't fill up the front few pews and so it has come to pass that the ranks of the virgins have been boosted by the inclusion of the born-agains.

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The message from the church was to lay off the sex until you get married. Keep yourself for the big day and you will be fully compliant. There are millions of Catholics all over the world of a certain age who believed they would be doomed if they went off before the starter's gun, which was usually fired late at night in the hotel room and the level of expertise was often of a very poor standard due to lack of practice.

Although a limo driver – whom it must be said is prone to exaggeration in that he claims to have taken Elvis from Shannon to Feakle some five years after the king was declared dead – told me the story of the couple who consummated their marriage in the course of the journey from the church to the hotel, a trip of some three miles. It could be, as was often the case in the old days, that a long engagement was effectively 20 years of foreplay.

I could never see the sense behind the concept of compulsory celibacy. Total abstinence just cannot be beneficial for a person's health. Just look at the fallout from the misdeeds of our biggest congregation of virgins. There is no doubt but that child sex abuse is linked to the prohibition on sex for the clergy.

The question of choice is paramount. Many young people will wait until the big day. Fair enough, if that is what they want. There are the terms of conditions such as the age of consent that must be complied with and sexual safety must be adhered to at all times. It would be best if there was love and respect involved in the relationship but aside from these prerequisites, I wouldn't see any great harm in young or old people having sex.

The younger people, for the most part, do have a choice but what about the born-again virgins who have gone so long without sex that their virginal status has been regained. I hear so many stories of attractive and intelligent women from late thirties on who live the life of virgins. Many of the women are divorced and on the nights when the kids are with the father they stay at home watching TV, all alone, drinking wine, which is not good for body or soul.

Such is modern Ireland. The liberation of divorce has become an enslavement. The lonely are scared of losing their anonymity by joining a dating agency. As we have often written here, Ireland is too small for secrets and there is the danger that the mother might be caught trying to get dates online by their own nosy kids.

One very attractive 40-something woman explained her situation. "I can't go to a bar or club on my own. I know I should try but you feel everyone is looking at you. There are married women then who think you might be after their husbands or that you are in some way desperate. It is so hard to find someone. It's not even that we are looking for a date. Just to be in men's company and have a bit of fun is enough.

"Sometimes I do go out with my friend. We just sit there and look at each other. Then I get to thinking, I've just spent €70 on the night out and all I'm doing is looking at my friend. Now what I do on Friday nights is I put the €70 in a jar and I think at least I can go on holiday and meet men in Spain where there is no shortage. I live for that week every year."

I suggested a website for women who are not gay and just want a friend as a wing woman but the attractive 40-something says women are less likely to get on in such situations as two men who travel out and about. So naturally I ask why this is the case.

"Women are planners and then if one woman is chatted up and the other isn't, she doesn't know what to do with herself. Men just wander off around a bar and leave their friend with a woman, but we can't because that's just the way it is. It's easy for men, they can initiate the conversation with women, but if we wander around on your own randomly chatting up men, well then we're looked on as some sort of whore.

"Then by the time you get to your forties and you are divorced or single, you find most of the good men are already snapped up anyway. And the single ones do not really want a woman with kids. But it's not like we desperately need a permanent companion. A date would be nice."

It's sad, isn't it, that so many fine women in the prime of their lives are left without. We need a change of attitude by the lonely women and by society in general.

I know of one or two married women who always make sure they bring along their single friends to social engagements. This really is a woman's problem that can only be solved by women.

The women of Ireland need to talk this through and come up with solutions to help out the sisterhood. Ireland is a country where thousands of our women are being denied the right to love and be loved.

Irish Independent

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