I’m sitting on one of the loveseats in the Starbucks on Nassau Street, weirdly conscious of my calves sticking to the cold leather seat covers, experiencing what I imagine only certain paparazzi have felt at the peaks of their careers. The strangeness of spending years seeing someone in two dimensions, only to have them sitting across from you, alive and fidgeting. Lorena Grundy gestures at my coffee cup.
If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you may have at some point stumbled across the page called Humans of New York. The page is insanely popular, with 1,424,016 likes and thousands of comments and shares on each post. The premise is relatively simple: every couple of days, photographer Brandon Stanton posts portraits of and quotes from interviews with random New Yorkers he approaches on the street.
“Granny Annie had devoted her life to others in a manner that was awe-inspiring. Even winds upward of 100 miles per hour and torrential rain could not stymie her optimistic spirit, the hope that coursed through her family’s veins.”
I have been many things throughout my tenure at Princeton—a human, a tiger, a journalist, drunk—but I have never been a lady. Through no fault of their own, approximately one half of mankind never experiences the triumphs and challenges of womanhood, and I am destined to remain among them.
Looking for a place to start this article and overwhelmed by the weight of the subject matter before me, I do a quick experiment and type “virginity” into Google; I’m curious to see the most popular searches. “Virginity statistics, virginity auction, virginity quotes, virginity pledge” reads the list. The list doesn’t help much except to reestablish what I don’t want this article to be about.