This is a true-life story and it’s not fiction but I’m a bit skeptical sharing it withal and sundry because it may sound as a self-righteous trop to tease my ego. It’s not an attempt to blow my trumpet abroad and receive self-adulation like the lizard that fell from a height without anyone cheering his dangerous stints. I am not prudish, laid-back or still living in a Victorian world. I am truly Nigerian and proud of my cultural heritage. I am no superman and not even a friend of the Scribes and Pharisees, and I don’t really have an air of piety around me. I am deeply romantic and my love poems are in the same league as King Solomon’s Songs of Songs and have the trappings and mastered the skills of an atypical playboy. I have written poems that turned the hearts of maidens and I know how far words can go to break the walls and pierce the heart of a woman to make her yearn for a romantic relationship with a guy.
I have been loved by a thousand women but have also broken the hearts of another thousand, figuratively speaking. I’ve had a heck of time keeping myself away from women and yet am not married but single and one of Nigeria’s most eligible bachelors. I don’t have so much money to throw around but not a known beggar as I am an employed professional. It still baffles me and many others that at 36; I am still not married, and have dashed the hopes of some ladies (in the past) who wished we’d hooked up. You might think am one that runs away from women, but that is far from the truth. Even if I try to keep away from women, some still find their way into my personal space and get we get stuck in the process. I have loved a few women that rejected my proposal but have also ‘rejected’ the ‘proposal’ from a couple more women. So it’s a matter of a win-lose situation and I know what we sow is what we reap. So that I’m still single is a matter of choice as well as a result of ‘sowing and reaping’ in a sense. So I blame no one for my singleness and would not seek anyone’s piteous look or support.
But my single hood is not the bone of contention at the moment. The fact is that, I am still ‘technically’ a VIRGIN. Now this little revelation might shock so many guys and ladies and that’s why I am a bit cautious sharing this part of my private life. I am not saying this because I want to win an award or feel righteous and spiritually cocky; nor dare I say, spookily pious. Some may denounce me for this and some might compose an ode for me. Some will call me a stupid man and a loser for foregoing the pleasure of sex, and not a few women would want to marry me for this reason as I am too inexperienced to have the skills that send women to sexual high heavens. But I would warn you first: None of this would move me and I would suggest you keep what you feel in your heart. I have had ambivalent reactions when people hear this part of me as though I’ve become a canonized saint for just being a virgin. A close female friend once told a pastor about me, and he was so ‘shock-prized’ that he wondered if I was aiming to win a coveted prize. But he missed the point somehow because I never will want to win one or be conferred with any.!
The truth is, I didn’t set out to become a virgin in the first place and it still baffles me that I am technically one at this age. Like every teenager in secondary school, I was excited about the adventure of sex and looked forward to that ‘very first experience’. Though I was a church boy who served the Reverend Fathers in my village then, it didn’t stop me from thinking differently as some seminarians and priests were known to be breaking their vows of chastity with some female parishioners. Some pastors, though married have been known to go the way of infidelity while having multitudes attend their churches weekly. More so, confession provided us the privilege of getting absolved of any wrong doing through the prescribed penance. So the coast was clear for me to venture into the world of sex at that teenage period in my life. A couple of close friends had already taken the leap and shared their own stories at school. Some showed bits of regrets and shame especially those whose pious consciences had pricked them after the first experience. But the reality was that the guilt didn’t stop some from putting girls in the family way, or pleasurably skidding along the promiscuity lane. And for me, I was as eager to taste my own ‘forbidden fruit’ and noting could stop me I so had assumed. But to your chagrin it still hasn’t happened!
To tell you what, I was/am not as innocent as anyone would think: I read lots of James Hardly Chase novels, Ikebe Superstory, Lolly Magazine and many others with sexual themes and innuendos. While in secondary school, I had friends who had loads of them, and a cousin and I used to stow away to read those raunchy magazines at a friend’s. And they were lurid and too descriptive to say the least for they had some lewd pictures that will stoke the base passions of even a monk. Though I didn’t watch any ‘blue film’ then, I did see a porn magazine or two when I went on holidays in Umuahia then. It belonged to a friend’s elder brother and we, the teenage boys, giggled as we flipped through the glossy pages. Though hidden in a stack of records, we somehow still were able to fish out the magazine from its supposed ‘hiding place’. And at school, the already ‘sexually active boys’ regaled us with stories of their ‘conquest of women’ and not too many innocent girls and boys surrounded me those days. So you can be sure that I was not as naïve a boy as many are wont to assume then.
While contemplating on my own first experience, I for no reason began to read the Book of Revelation someday. I still can’t figure out why since as a Catholic Boy, I didn’t have a Bible and we never read it regularly those days. Moreover, I was not in any fellowship and kind of loathed SU (Scripture Union) folks then. My mum and sister were members of the Catholic Charismatic Movement but I felt they were breaking the ‘traditions of the church’ by depending so much on the Bible then. Anyway, here I was reading through Revelation and stumbled on the 4th verse of the 14th Chapter which said “These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” This occurred while I was preparing to enter the university having made up my mind to have my first girlfriend in the university. Now you can see my dilemma!
After reading this chapter/verse over and again; without anyone counseling or prodding me, I knelt down and made a vow to God. That if He can give me the grace, I’ll try my best to not defile or sleep with any woman until I became a graduate. Mind you, I did not say until I get married since that was going to be an impossible task I had reasoned then. In making a vow, I didn’t realize it was going to be a not so easy thing to keep. I joined the Press Club in the university because there were lots of pretty babes, but did not the vow restrain me each time? At some point, I felt like giving up and wanted to throw in the towel. So one day, I made a major entry in my journal, and told God that I was sorry to tell HIM that I no longer wanted to keep the vow. That I have resolved to be like other dudes on campus who had their way with girls and especially for the fact that I had good looks and girls wouldn’t say they didn’t cherish or notice me. So I apologized to God ahead of time and resolved to break the vow pronto!
Few days after, a close female friend came to ‘spend a night’ with me while my room mate was away on a long break. She, my room mate and a couple other friends had literally mocked me for not ‘being man enough’. They had so poked and laughed me to scorn that I was determined to show her and others that I truly had all the trappings of a man. So here I was, pre-playing what to do with her under the secured secrecy of my room beyond any peering eyes but before my hands could roam beyond the comfort zones, a strong wave of conviction hit my conscience and I reflex-jumped out of my bed and hit the floor. I left her on my bed and knelt down beside my room mate’s bed, asking God for forgiveness especially for “lusting after a woman in my heart”, like Jesus Christ had well-spoken. I didn’t look at her a second time and slept soundly till the next morning. Was it by my own power that we didn’t have sex that night? How could it be?
At some point, I thought I was the only one that ‘was not doing it’ until I met a couple other guys who weren’t sleeping with girls either. Many were already graduates and practicing professionals. The greatest mentor I had then was an American NBA basketball star (www.acgreen.com) that was publicly-known as a virgin. His team mates also taunted him and even betted on, and paid girls to help seduce him so he can break his virginity vow. Interestingly, A.C. Green made it big in the sports arena as a star yet didn’t sow his wide oats. At some point he had to tell lies to conceal his virginity like I had done at some point just to stave off the mockery by his peers until such a time that he was bold enough to not be swayed by what people thought of him. He finally got married in 2002 as a virgin at the age of 38 years to the shock of many. But one secret that kept him was that he believed and submitted wholeheartedly to the teachings of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and when I got born again eventually just before I left the University, I subscribed to a similar set of beliefs for which A.C Green and many others had chosen to keep away from engaging in premarital sex.
Realizing that I was not alone made it a lot easier to handle the reality of sexual pressures when I moved into the real world of where ‘anything goes’. And by no plans of mine, I got hooked up to cool-headed friends who shared similar Judeo-Christian values. It amazed me to find that contrary to the populist belief that ‘everyone was doing it’, I met so many girls and guys who were cute and ‘normal’, but were not ‘doing it’. I became close to guys in their late 20s and early 30s who didn’t sow wild oats. I also met to my surprise cute babes and sophisticated girls in their 20s and early 30s who were not recipients of wild oats too. No one heard them raise their voices like suppressed minorities whose voices are muffled by the larger public who wouldn’t want them to be seen or heard for being ‘prudish and laid back’.
To bring this seemingly boring story to an end, I still wonder how I have managed to scale through the booby-trapped landscape of a sexually-liberal world. It’s not as though I’ve never harbored immoral and lewd thoughts. There were times they came upon me like a fierce and raging tornado but somehow, I managed to scale through unscathed. Like Joseph I may not have been lured into the bed of adultery by the likes of Portiphar’s wife but I have had my own share of experiences where I nearly broke the vow volitionally. There were times I willfully tried to err but for no effort of mine, I got delivered from roller-coasting into the bed of hedonism. The ‘near-miss experiences’ have made me know it’s not by power of by might, but the Spirit and Grace of God, hence there’s no way I can boast or feel like a superman or moral saint for being a virgin at 36. My lips and fingers have been guilty of some ‘misdemeanor’ such that I can’t speak of a guiltless past! Come to think of it, being a virgin doesn’t confer any special privilege/s before God for our acts of righteousness pale in significance to His moral purity and perfection. A virgin and another who is ‘dis-virgined’, I suppose stand on the same pedestal and equally experience forgiveness and mercy before God.
Though I am certain of receiving instant forgiveness and mercy from God if for any reason I engage in premarital sex or extra-marital sex any day, I am however not at liberty to do as my heart so wishes. And if for any reason, I die before I get married (God forbid bad thing oh!), I won’t be the first nor the last to not experience the thrill that comes with sex. After all, eunuchs, monks and priests have lived without engaging in sex and may others have not lived in regret all their lives for same reasons. If anything, I have experienced some depth of ecstasy which God seemed to have poured into my heart through the Presence of the Holy Spirit, and this I wouldn’t want to trade with. I have this gnawing feeling that I can’t eat my bread and have it back the same time. In a sense, I have to forgo the promise of premarital sexual pleasure, if I must enjoy the pleasure of knowing God deeply without anything drawing me back. And to keep doing this, I have to rely daily on His Grace!
I still wonder why the pursuit of God and the thrills of sexual liberty are diametrically opposed to each other. I won’t begrudge God for He is wiser and I don’t feel deprived or cheated by trudging on in this race. I have tried to rationalize why I should go contrary to His revealed Moral Laws, but have still not been able to understand why we can’t live the way we like, and still enjoy the spiritual blessings that only God can give. I just couldn’t have been Nigeria’s last virgin for sure! Even if I or any other person wins that award, it would make no meaning to God and man as it would not worth anything to boast of. I can only feel a sense of fulfillment if at the end of my life; I impacted the next generation by upholding Godly and social values and worked assiduously to better the lives of the weak and disparaged around me. I would be glad if I protected the freedom and rights of poor people and spoke against the oppression of the weak and downtrodden. I would die peacefully, if I carried the torch of TRUTH and handed it down to the next generation without the flame ebbing in intensity because of my leading a life marked by falsehood. I would be happy if when I die, my contemporaries and peers unequivocally speak of me as a man who lived a non-hypocritical life of integrity and spoke words that were not coated with lies. That to me is worthier than being Nigeria’s last virgin!