This is not some moralistic condemnation of premarital 'coupling': in fact it is not supposed to be any sort of condemnation whatsoever. Rather, it's something I've been wanting to write for a little while now: an expression of one of my idealistic daydreams. Please don't read it if you know it's going to annoy you, because I really didn't write it to get on anyone's back...
There is so much I've forgotten from before I reached the age at which something caught alight in me...
But I do remember those innocent days where a 'suggestive look' before a kiss was merely intense, not hinting at all at activities of the night; I recall daydreams of passionate kisses, but magic-tinged, lacking the symptoms of Desire: 'surrender' meant the heart, not the body.
My memory blurs, though, as I think of the sharp, tear-jerking longing I felt: was it the beginnings of a burning flame, even when I was yearning for depth and soulfulness?
I remember learning what 'chastity' meant and deciding, so naively, that I'd wait until marriage. And no, it wasn't awfully feminist to imagine it meant belonging to my husband, but that's not all it meant to me. It was romantic; I'm a desperate romantic. I wanted a white wedding, I wanted to know that I'd be giving myself to the Perfect Guy. Who else would wait for me? And who else would provide a blissful courtship all the same?
And how could anyone give themselves to multiple people? Coupling seemed so intimate, so ... big - in those days I was shocked by casual intercourse. I didn't want that, and so I wanted chastity.
Yes, I don't deny that fires came. But I was distressed by them initially. I felt like I'd betrayed myself: when I dreamed of coupling, I was horrified.
But even today, when I don't resent the flames so much, part of me still clings to the ideal. I'd always dissociated romance from the physical, always seen an innocence - yes, a chastity - in 'hearts and flowers'. And so I could easily want one without the other.
>>> There's such a beauty in sunsets and landscapes... I want to share the inexpressibility of those scenes. <<<
There's also appeal in a chaste character: a hint of angelic essence, an idealistic indulgence on my part, and a poetry. When I hear lyrics of certain songs that talk of innocent personalities*, or that seem to portray carnality negatively**, I long to be a kind of 'hearts and flowers' girl: fragile, rare, in need of protection for the conservation of her species.
For someone who for years has thought of herself as an alien, and who has gotten so used to it that she prides herself on it, what better mark of difference than the chaste ideal? And what more beautiful way to rebel against a world in which she's been allowed to suffer pain, than to resiliently hold onto romantic daydreams?
You might say that the idea of chastity has some real power over me: I read some adult romance and came away from the experience still very much capable of the usual chaste fantasy. Before this, in the three dozen or so months during which I wouldn't have contemplated picking up that sort of book, I felt a kind of obligation towards my younger self, to continue to chase what was still a beautiful dream. I kept imagining how heartbroken she'd be if she could see me now...
And yet I sense how outspoken I am. I imagine that there will be people out there who read this and will be bewildered, confused, sceptical, even scornful... But as I've already mentioned, I'm used to feeling like an alien. So I admit to it: the appeal of chastity.
* I found myself struck by some of the lyrics in the song 'Precious' by Depeche Mode
** "I watch you like a hawk/ Like I'm going to tear you limb from limb/ Will this hunger ever stop?/ Can we simply starve this sin?" 'Deathbeds' by Bring Me the Horizon