I sat at the airport, waiting to board Virgin Airlines flight 451 traveling non-stop to my sunny destination … to a friend’s wedding. I exhaled. It had been too long since I had been on a real vacation. All my vacation days seem to be designated to other people’s weddings. In the terminal, I replayed the fantasy I’ve always had that one lucky time in my life I would end up seated next to a hot man on a plane, all the planets would align, and we would join the illustrious Mile-High Club. Maybe I could even take him as my wedding date.
I know. It’s totally implausible. But that’s what makes it so exciting, the fact that it will probably never happen. I scanned the airport to see the crop of potential men around me.
As I was assessing a scruffy, older-looking salt-and-pepper-haired man in a suit who was reading The Tipping Point, someone dropped a duffel bag on the seat next to me. I looked up at a very tall, very handsome guy with an awesome body, and even more awesome smile. I blushed, averted my eyes, and put my book up in front of my face so I could check him out discreetly.
He was exactly my type in every way. From his curly mop, to his hazel eyes, down to his Converse. I stared straight ahead at CNN News watching him in my peripheral vision, waiting for the right moment to make contact. I picked at my blueberry muffin, pretending to be interested in it. “The first commercial flight to the moon may be a reality sooner than we think,” the newscaster reported. We turned to each other and smiled.
“I’m sooo going to be on that flight,” he said, “I don’t care how much it costs.”
“In this lifetime? I don’t know.”
His eyes lit up with a wild enthusiasm when he spoke. “I’m Bryce.” He shook my hand. His hands were large and rough. Sexy. I introduced myself.
“I’m starving,” he said. “I should probably get something before we get on the plane.”
“Here, take my muffin,” I offered him the sad cardboard-ish pastry. I wasn’t ready for him to leave so soon.
Bryce wasn’t seated next to me on the plane as he would have been in my cosmic fantasy, but we had made enough conversation in the terminal that he had slipped me his business card. He was heading home from a business trip and I had told him I was on my way to yet another wedding. I looked back and saw his face. Bryce was fast asleep three rows behind me. I was wide awake playing out various post-flight scenarios. If I’m being honest, most of them involved Bryce unclothed in some fashion.
As we landed, I played it cool, getting off the plane counting on the fact that we would reunite at baggage claim. He walked up behind me on the escalator.
“I was hoping I’d run into you again.”
“Me too,” I said, my pulse quickening a bit.
“How are you getting to your hotel?”
“Taxi,” I said. “You?”
“My car’s here. Wanna ride?” Jackpot.
We got into his car. “So you’re on your way to a wedding?” he asked. “How come you’re not married? In some places that would be considered scandalous.”
“I haven’t found the right person. Plus, I don’t know if I really believe in marriage anymore,” I replied. “I’m so sick of weddings.”
“Really? I do. Marriage is really important to me.”
“Not the typical response from a guy,” I said. “Mind if I ask why?”
“Well, because I’m a Christian … and I’m saving myself for marriage. To a Christian woman,” he looked at me waiting for my response.
“What? Are you serious?”
He was serious. Dead serious. Given his honesty, it was only fair for me to admit that I was a very sexually experienced Buddhist. My airport fling fantasy crashed and burned. Only I would find a virgin on Virgin Airlines. A rare species.
We pulled up to my hotel, singing along to “Rock the Casbah” on the radio when he turned toward me.
“Can I kiss you?” he asked.
I was taken aback. “I thought I was off your menu of women, but sure! Why not?”
Bryce leaned in. He kissed like a virgin, but not in a bad way, just in an “animal that needs to get out of his cage” way. He stopped me before I could go below the belt. He’d never ventured there before. Bummer. As I kissed him, straight-jacketed from the waist up, I realized that, actually, he was the one who was off the menu for me. I respect his beliefs, but sex is a bell that you can’t un-ring. Especially after 12 years of having it. Not that I would turn down the opportunity to deflower some very special guy. I would go for it. But Bryce didn’t want to be deflowered by me unless I accepted Jesus as my lord and savior and walked down the aisle. Something I would never be able to give him.
As Bryce ran his hand down my back (above my belt), and over my chest (above the bra), I tried to imagine what life would be like if I had never had sex with anyone. I couldn’t. It’s just too important to me. Lack of sexual chemistry was what ended my most serious long-term-relationship to the only person whom I ever had considered marrying. I won’t get involved with anyone seriously again unless I know we are moderately sexually compatible. While there are some sexual experiences I’d like to delete from my hard drive, most are very sacred to me. Just as sacred as Bryce was claiming his chastity to be.
Sex has allowed me to get intimate with other people in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. It’s allowed me to be vulnerable and, in turn, learn things about myself I wouldn’t have otherwise — about the difference between love, lust, passion, and just plain fun. It’s allowed me to understand more clearly what I am looking for in a potential mate. Even though Bryce’s lips were on my lips, his hand in my hand, we existed in completely different universes. And it was implausible that we’d ever be able to meet somewhere in between. At least, not in this lifetime.