Bird / Boy

I know a boy whose hair lies like one coffee-colored bird—
the wings hang over his ears
and its large head-beak nestles into his brow,
murkising his forehead and eyes.
The bird stays still as the boy—so beautiful
he is an angel—
tells me he is untouched.

I blink. His full lips pale.
How is he a virgin?
I take off my blouse and reveal
myself.

And as I reach to brush the wing
behind his ear
(so as to touch his face),
the bird startles.
Worlds wake up—

MAK MAK MAKAW!
MAK MAK MAKAW!

Stunted wings
clip me,
as bird
boy rises

Together they lift off into nothing,
and I am left
with my blouse open
Wondering.

Rejecting the Prude-Whore Catch 22

In elementary school, you learn about the birds and the bees. In junior high, you learn about abstinence. In high school, you say “Screw abstinence, I want to get naked and let a [insert gender preference] see my special parts.”

In college, you’re supposed to actually get naked and see those special parts.

What they don’t tell you is that sex is the ultimate Catch 22 for a girl. I call it the “Prude-Whore Catch 22.”

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Here is how it works:

Janey is a good girl who comes from a good family and plans to get married and have a bunch of beautiful children. But she wants a boyfriend first. She waits in junior high, waits in high school for the right one. Janey is nicknamed The Virgin.

Janey goes to college, where she decides to be a Liberal Woman in the Sexual Revolution. She develops a crush on an upperclassman. They go to a party. Have a great time. Go back to his place. And Do It.

Thus Janey has become a Slut. And that is the story of Janey and thousands of other women everywhere. That, my internet friends, is the Prude-Whore Catch 22.

I remember being just like Janey, except I talked about sex in high school. I was usually the boisterous one among the blushing teen girls, who (more often than not) sighed, and said, “Oh, Chloe.”

But I was determined to know everything about doing the deed. What was pleasurable for a man? What was pleasurable for a woman? How does one orgasm? Who initiates sex? How does semen taste? Clitoris, foreskin, circumcision, vulva, erogenous–what does all this mean? I’d never been a great student, but if love-making was a final exam, I was hell-bent on acing that baby (but not creating an actual baby in the process). Like a butterfly, I was hoping to emerge from the bedroom  empowered.

This didn’t happen. After I endured the most awkward walk home ever, I started wondering: is this my walk of shame? Am I a tramp?

No, I’m not a tramp, I realized. It took me a sobbing session in the shower, a pat on the back from a friend, and a remembrance of Helen of Troy to come to that conclusion.

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And so I am telling you now: you are not a whore. You had S-E-X, so what? So did the Virgin Mary, and look at her, she’s Jesus’s mom. So have billions of women before you, and it only makes you more amazing, because you experienced an integral part of humanity. Whatever you call it, it’s something to be celebrated. In fact, when someone loses their virginity, we should give them a cake.

Do not apologize to anyone, ladies, ’cause this is just the beginning.