One of the most interesting trends in modern sexuality is the "new celibacy" movement. Followers of this utterly platonic philosophy live lives ruled by chastity. Far removed from the pleasures of the flesh, they engage in more wholesome activities, like macramé and Civil War re-enactments. Their personal relationships subsist on a friendly, handshake level: While they may date on occasion, their timid romantic forays never -- ever -- result in physical intimacy.
In a previous era, this lifestyle was known by a different name: It was called "having braces." But who are we to doubt the modern celibate's empowering cry of "I meant not to do that?" Still, we have to wonder what a typical day is like for one of these courageous, self-denying souls. Here's a hypothetical answer, a personal record of one Sunday in the life of a born-again virgin:
7:30 a.m. Awaken from deep slumber. In my dreams, Alicia Keys was riding the Segway human transporter while fitting a ferret for contact lenses. Third time this week.
7:45 a.m. Furtive search for "ferret symbolism" in Freudian-psychology reference manual turns up nada. Switch on TV. Cokie Roberts is looking nice this morning. A few minutes later, find myself thinking much the same thing about Sam Donaldson.
8 a.m. Shower.
9 a.m. Attend Sunday worship service. Subject of this week's sermon: "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." Splash face with cooling water from baptismal font, then leave early.
10:30 a.m. Visit office to do some "catch-up" work while no one else is around. Notice with chagrin that unidentified co-worker has festooned my cubicle with crude banner proclaiming, "A little coitus never hoit us."
10:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Delete 115 Viagra-related solicitations from e-mail "in" box.
11:30 a.m. Refreshing sponge bath in company washroom.
Noon. Lunch at Wendy's. Tranquillity of meal is interrupted by strange customer at neighboring table who strikes up conversation and just won't let it go. I think she's hitting on me. Note to self: "Bury Bin Laden" T-shirt obviously too much of a babe magnet. Resolve to stop shopping at Sanford flea market.
1 p.m.-3 p.m. Mall browsing. Bypass borderline-pornographic Victoria's Secret window display without a sideways glance and proceed directly to Hallmark shop. Spend half an hour prying apart store's entire inventory of "Kiss Kiss" Bears.
3:30 p.m. Venture into wooded area near my home for invigorating game of paintball with fellow members of area Jaycees. Win handily. Impressed opponents remark that I seem to become more aggressive every time we play. I honestly hadn't noticed.
4 p.m.- 7 p.m. Remainder of afternoon and early evening spent quietly at home, defacing photographs of Tommy Lee.
8 p.m. Blind date at Red Lobster. Second note to self: Chew out friend who talked me into it. This brazen hussy persists in discussing the most personal details of her workout regimen, using provocative terms like "squat thrusts" and "Lycra." Wipe off forehead with Merlot-soaked napkin.
9 p.m. Put date in taxi and high-tail it out of there, determined to find a route home that will not involve my driving past a single Orlando-area Hooters restaurant or billboard.
11 p.m. Arrive home.
11:15 p.m. Turn on TV, just in time for commercial break. Those belly buttons are singing to me again! Why the hell don't they STOP???!!!
11:30 p.m. Bedtime. Toss and turn for unknown period, then finally fall asleep. Alicia Keys has been joined on Segway by Parker Posey.
12 a.m. Shower.