Haggling over the Price

Over the weekend an Australian film maker went stratospheric when the culmination of an online auction of two virgins raised almost a million euros. Actually, it was only the girl who attracted the large bidding, with more than $700,000 pledged by a Japanese business man. The male virgin had to settle for a mere $3000. The auction and the proposed documentary has excited a lot of people, not least of which are law makers and the director may yet end up with a visit to his local penitentiary.

Justin Sisely, director of Thomas Williams Productions, appears to have been limited to filming weddings prior to his big break. In what he claims is a search for the change that happens when virginity is sold, he advertised across campuses in his native Australia for virgins to enter the experiment and his documentary. The creative urge was to explore human sexuality and our views on virginity, but the posters looking for participants said they would be paid $20,000 and win fame and fortune; a somewhat incongruous and conflicting message. Initially he was seeking local virgins but the campaign went viral and global. The female virgin, Catarini Migliorini from Brazil was set to net 90% of her top bid, but in the ensuing publicity she has said she will now donate it to charity. Of course, charities in her native Brazil are saying they will not accept money, coming as it does from prostitution. Even the Brazilian Attorney General is now involved and is said to be seeking legal routes to stop Migliorini from travelling to fulfil her part of the bargain.

There are strict terms and conditions on the website as to what the successful bidder can expect in return for their money. The handover of the virginity will take place on an airplane so no laws are broken and the virgins get to join the mile high club on their first outing. The interaction is limited to an hour, no alcohol is permitted nor sex toys and even kissing is not part of this act. The loss of virginity is defined as the penis entering the vagina. It doesn’t sound much better than how Migliorini compares a drunken date to how most people apparently lose their virginity.

Migliorini says she does not feel she is acting as a prostitute as it is for only one occasion. She compares it to taking a single picture which does not make her a photographer.

I am a firm believer in choice. These virgins are over 18 and so are adults. They have the freedom to make good and bad choices. However, as a woman, I would not like my first experience of sex to be with an unknown Japanese business man on a plane in front of the world – well the sex act is not being filmed but it may as well be given the publicity. And the ultimate irony is that because of the publicity the poor girl feels she has to give the money away. I think she’ll need every penny of it. And then there is the poor boy, Alexandar Stephanov. He was only offered $3000 for his virginity which is belittling.

I am reminded of a dialogue reputedly between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor. They were talking about making love in return for a million pounds. Churchill asked if she would do it for £10,000 and Lady Astor retorted angrily “What do you think I am?”  To which Churchill replied. “We have already established what you are, Madam, now we are haggling over the price!”

I think I’d go with the drunken fumble every time.

I don’t need my toilet rolls any more…

No, I haven’t dispensed with my bottom, given up eating for good or undergone radical colonic surgery – it’s the empty ones I don’t need. I looked at the collection of empty toilet rolls loitering sadly beside the bin in my bathroom and waiting patiently to be moved into the recycling bin, when it suddenly hit me. I don’t need them any more.

Time was I collected them faithfully for activities which involved my children. I don’t believe there was ever a ‘make-and-do’ slot on Blue Peter that did not call for the obligatory brown cardboard roll, never a crafty evening in Girls Friendly Society that did not insist on empty toilet rolls, or a school’s art day that didn’t need the cylinders, especially for making doll people in the naivety scenes or fat sausage dogs on leads.

Over the years I got used to hoarding the empty rolls, sometimes adding an elongated tube or two from kitchen-film or tin-foil dispensers, and they travelled into school or were used in playtime at home. We never had stick-thin people; no our cardboard people were always lovely and fat, chubby as Santa Claus himself, even baby Jesus was a roly-poly in the crib.

So, when I looked at the tired old soldiers lined up in the bathroom, some at attention and others listing to starboard, I had a sudden ache of sadness that they were going straight into the recycling bin and their useful lives were over, in my home at any rate.

I’m sure there are many more striking milestones to signal your offsprings’ departure from childhood, but the obsolescence of those honest brown cardboard rolls was a poignant and powerful marker to me.