56 :: virginity :: 7/13/01
A shelf piled high with graphic design books and stock photography catalogs. Taped to it are a dozen self-portraits of Janine and Lee, made by squashing their faces up against photocopier glass and then markering elaborate designs on the output. When it's slow here in the Designer House, they can get away with anything.
Things are not slow right now. They're trying to finish up a project that they're already a week behind on. Lee went out an hour ago to meet with Colin, their project coordinator, and now he's back.
Hey, Lee says. Colin says that Benjamin wants to implement the new directory of the Klein site today; he wants you to forward on those fixed GIFs as soon as you can. Like, before lunch.
Yeah, yeah, I'm on it, Janine says. She is working in Photoshop 6.0 with a half-dozen document windows open. I'm still getting those transparencies to look right.
Colin says that if you can't get them done before lunch, then he wants you to send an e-mail out to Benjamin letting him know when you will be able to get them done.
Colin can blow me, Janine says. This is a frequent refrain around Designer House, alternated sometimes with Colin can suck my left nut. In reality, though, she would never let Colin touch her; he has a patronizing, unctuous way about him that makes her feel like she needs a bath every time he finishes talking to her. He seems very sure of himself, confident, and, for Janine, the more sure a guy seems of himself, the more slime he seems to exude. She prefers a guy like Thomas, a guy who's a little less certain.
She would have let Thomas touch her, if he'd wanted. She's still a little bit surprised that she propositioned him. And she's still a little surprised that he said no. She thinks that saying no was the wrong decision. OK, yes, maybe it's presumptuous for her to make determinations about what's right or wrong for Thomas, but she really feels like this whole virginity thing is tripping him up. It's hard to know what sex is when you've never had it. If you imagine it as this heavy, intense, sober thing, then it's going to seem pretty intimidating, and she can see how that would fuck you up if you were going into an adult relationship. Thomas is fucked up because Lydia expects him to have sex, and Thomas doesn't know what that means.
For Janine, sexuality means communication, play, and she thinks that if she could get that across to Thomas, then he'd feel a lot more ready to try it with other people. But the only way she can get that across is by going to bed with him. And he said no. She can't very well force him.
Losing your virginity. People talk about it like it's some kind of fucking surgical procedure. Having your appendix removedlosing your virginity. What the fuck does losing your virginity even mean? It's not like there's some physical part of you that disappears. (Don't give her that shit about the hymen: she broke hers when she was fifteen, trying to do a skateboard trick, and she wasn't sexually active thennot until the end of that particular summer. And it's Thomas' virginity that she's thinking about, anyway.) She supposes that it has to do with some heterosexual bullshit, some magic act involving a penis going into a vagina, but as a bisexual who has spent most of her adult life hanging out with one queer posse or another, that particular piece of alchemy holds no tremendous significance for her.
I'm going to make a pot of coffee, Lee says. Do you want some?
Yeah, says Janine.