Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Today's Word: "Have You Hooked Up Lately?"
"Have You Hooked Up Lately?"
I had a split second to decide whether to tell the truth.
by Harrison Ruhl, as told to Christy Heitger-Casbon
"Hey, Jason*!" Luke shouted across the locker room as he changed for gym class. "Did you score with Chelsea last night?"
"You know it!" Jason boasted, reaching out for a high-five.
The room erupted with whistles and applause. All year long Luke, Jason and some of the other guys in my gym class had been bragging about who they had sex with. I wasn't sure if they were telling the truth or just full of hot air. Either way, it bothered me to hear them talk about girls with such disrespect.
"How 'bout you, Ruhl?" Luke asked as he laced up his gym shoes. "Have ya hooked up lately?"
"Nah," I said, shaking my head.
"Big shocker!" Jason announced. "You never talk about chicks. What's up with that?"
"I don't kiss and tell," I said.
Jason pretended to yawn. "Booooring," he said.
"Seriously, dude," Luke prodded. "Have you ever gotten laid?"
I had a split second to decide whether to tell the truth or simply say something to get them off my back. My gut told me to be honest. I cleared my throat and said, "No. I'm not having sex until I'm married."
As the words fell from my lips, my heart started thumping hard and fast. I couldn't believe I'd just announced to everybody that I was a virgin.
"'Wait until marriage,'" Luke scoffed. "Oh, that's code for 'can't get any.'"
My cheeks burned hot with anger as I blurted out something about how I didn't have to worry about picking up nasty STDs or getting some girl pregnant. The guys rolled their eyes at me, but I took a deep breath and continued in a calmer voice.
"I've chosen not to have sex yet because I'm a Christian and God wants me to wait. I only want to share something that personal with my wife."
"Oh, great," Jason groaned. "Preacher Boy is gearing up for a sermon."
"Listen," I said. "You may think you're a stud for getting so much action, but I'm proud of my virginity."
Suddenly the room got really silent. As I turned to close my locker I heard someone snicker, "He's gotta be gay."
"Or totally crazy!" another added.
The rest of the morning I replayed the locker room scene over and over in my mind. By lunchtime my head was throbbing. When I walked through the cafeteria line I was mentally kicking myself.
Why did I let them drag me into their stupid conversation? I thought. Why didn't I just walk away instead of blurting out my views?
Not only would I have to continue listening to Jason and the others brag about their conquests, but I would also become the target of all their jokes about virgins.
As I made my way to a table, a guy from my gym class named David tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could join me. He was a pretty quiet guy who I hardly knew, so I couldn't figure out what he wanted.
As David and I sat down, he shifted nervously in his chair, took a deep breath and said, "You know, Harrison, I, uh, think it's great you had the guts to stand up for your beliefs in front of all those guys. I'm a Christian, too, but I don't say much about it. I guess I'm afraid of being made fun of."
He told me he agreed with my views about sex, and apologized for not backing me up. He then added, "It's cool to see someone who's just as open about his faith at school as he must be at church."
"Thanks, man," was all I could manage to say.
Suddenly I felt really good inside. If nothing else, I thought, at least what I said meant a lot to David.
And maybe I had gotten through to some of the other guys, too. But even if I hadn't, I'd done something just as important. I'd expressed and defended my Christian values. And in doing so I had stayed true to myself, to my future wife and to Yahvah.