Here’s another piece of short writing I did recently. This one is for everybody out there who thought the last one lacked a certain cruelty or crudeness. I wrote this a few months ago (during the Olympics). It’s a response to a general “Olympics” prompt, but also to the Lolo Jones quote featured below. I remember reading this quote and being blown away, basically, by her assertion that avoiding premarital sex was the greatest challenge she’d ever faced. I don’t exactly doubt her, but it’s interesting. I mean, some people are more athletically inclined than others, but nobody just falls into the Olympics. It’s a lot of work. On the other hand, there are millions of people who effortlessly, if incidentally, fall into a life of celibacy. In fact, there are people so good at not having sex that they just can’t stop not having it, no matter how hard they try. In this scenario, I imagine novice-virgin Lolo Jones leaning on the advice of one such “natural.”
PS – If anybody’s curious, the Patterson-Gimlin Film is the famous footage of Bigfoot (or whatever).
“I just don’t believe in it.” Jones said. “It’s just a gift I want to give my husband. But please understand this journey has been hard. There’s virgins out there and I want to let them know that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Harder than training for the Olympics. Harder than graduating from college has been to stay a virgin before marriage.” – Lolo Jones, Olympian
“the Olympic Village is one big sex fest.” – The Huffington Post
“ESPN Magazine’s” own Tiana Robinson sat down last week with Randall Bowson, mentor and coach to Olympic runner Lolo Jones. While Bowson is a coach, he’s certainly not what you picture when you hear the word, and he’d be the first to tell you that he doesn’t know a thing about running. Randall Bowson is Jones’ abstinence coach, and he’s the best there is.
So, Mr. Bowson, what qualifies you to be an abstinence coach? Are you some kind of clergy?
Oh, God no, Tiana! I’m just a portly Libertarian who loves Civil War reenactments and hates his mother. I learned very young that I have great natural instincts when it comes to not having sex. I’ve always known how to deploy patchy facial hair, pewter dragon pendants, and baseless arrogance with incredible effectiveness.
Wow, that’s a pretty unique skill set. Our readers are probably curious, are there any comparable challenges in the sporting world to guarding one’s virginity?
If I had to compare virginity preservation to any other sport, I’d say it’s a little like running a marathon. My feeling is you’re not taking either one seriously if you don’t just go to the bathroom all over yourself from time to time.
Well said. Now, I hear that the Olympic Village is just one big bacchanal. What was the last thing you said to Jones before she went jetting off to London?
What did I tell her? I told her that she was walking into the lion’s den. I said: “This is going to be your biggest challenge yet, OK? This is gonna be fuckin’ Arizona State on the Thames.”
Was this a particularly tough gig for you? How was Jones performing when you two started working together?
From the minute we met it was just obvious that she lacked the basic fundamentals vital to sustained success.
Can you be more specific?
Well, for starters, girl couldn’t leer to save her life. She was just living in her peripheral vision, which is a crutch you have to put aside if you’re serious about a sexless youth. I told her “Lolo, nobody ever failed to get laid without a great 1,000-yard stare.”
How’d she take that? Did she rally, or did she sulk?
Oh, she was game, yeah. We experimented with all the different styles and techniques, trying to figure out which one was best for her.
For the benefit of our readers, what are the major schools of leering?
Well, on the one hand you’ve got what we call the Continental. The Continental is all about extended, unwavering eye contact. You’ve got to really learn to weather the dry eyeballs with this one, because a blink will just completely restore your credibility. On the other hand, we’ve got the Western Style, which is basically just a shameless stare straight to the genitals.
And which has Jones ultimately gravitated towards?
The kid’s a champion; she mastered them both.
So, is a good leer insurance against pre-marital sex?
It’s part of a solid foundation, yeah, but it’s not the be all and end all of a vintage virginity. It’s crucial that serious competitors develop a new walk. Something that says either “mentally deficient” or “emotionally disturbed” should do the trick. Walking with your head hung low and your hands thrust deep in your pants pockets is for rookies. Serious contenders shoot for the shirt pockets, armpits, or underpants. Or, you could go a different route and just get a unicycle or rolling backpack. Those have been some very successful strategies on the college circuit.
That sounds exciting. I’m guessing you guys have put a pretty ungainly walk together, huh?
Oh, yeah, we’ve worked up something pretty special. I just sat ‘Lo down with the Patterson-Gimlin film and pretty soon she was swingin’ those arms like a champ.
Look, coach, you’re the expert, but a lot of this stuff just sounds a little conservative to me, a little self-contained. I mean, what about a more aggressive strategy? Do players ever really just throw their social ineptitude and poor hygiene in would-be lovers’ faces?
Look, everybody, in every sport, says that the best defense is a good offense, but there’s just nowhere that’s truer than in the world of sex-avoidance. You never get a second chance at a first impression, so it’s key that you generate some jarring and abrasive catch phrases like: “Oh, yeah, ladies love the Ferret!” and “Girl, I’ma get all up in you like a tapeworm!” Or better yet, put them on a T-shirt so they blare non-stop, 24-hours a day. If you can’t find anything sexually aggressive and viscerally disgusting, I’ve learned that shirts with unlicensed versions of cartoon characters spouting religious or political propaganda do the job just fine.
I think that last thing went right over my head. Can you give me a hypothetical example of what one of these T-shirts might depict?
Hypothetically? Something like a picture of the Wizard of Id asking “Where’s the birth certificate?” Something like that.
And you’ve got Lolo Jones wearing a shirt like that?
Oh, God no, but I’m not giving up! When Lolo and I started working together she was wearing all these sporty shorts and tank tops. In the past year, I’ve gotten her to trade in her sports bra for a homemade cape and a vacation Bible school T-shirt.
Wow, that’s really impressive.
So, we’ve talked a lot about how to train your body for a prolonged virginity, but, coach, there’s a entire psychological/intellectual dimension to this process too, correct?
Yeah, that’s exactly right. This isn’t just a physical challenge, it’s a mental one too, and you want to be engaging with media that will get you and keep you in the zone. Christian romance is good, high fantasy is better. Just get out there and devour big, thick fantasy books in public. If you can find a book whose cover features the word “Magick,” a pun, and a drawing of lusty centaur, then you’re hitting what we call “The Trifecta.” It’s also important to be incredibly condescending when talking about these books, as if they weren’t written for children.
So, it’s safe to say that attitude is important here?
For sure. Attitude is important, yeah. When Lolo first came to me I had to lay some tough love on her – had to just level with her and tell her that her attitude was crap. She was bubbly, you know? She was flirty, and open, and vulnerable, and just radiated charm. Nothing about her demeanor said “Don’t chance sex with me, I’d be inept, clingy, and maybe a little dangerous.” I taught her that she could really find her sweet spot where most adult virgins live, at the nexus of visible arousal and blistering scorn. She didn’t like that at first, but I just got real with her, you know? I told her “Look, this isn’t a Olympic medal, this isn’t a Harvard diploma. This isn’t something life just hands you. It’s something that you have to earn.
If you could give your protégé just one more piece of advice, what would it be?
Knock it off with the whole sports thing. It’s just the worst thing a would-be virgin can do to her body.
And how about the kids back home who might want to abstain? Any advice for them?
Name your genitals.
OK. Name your genitals. You heard it here first.