The lovely and talented Donna offers a description of a motion-picture genre she prefers to denote by its initials:

I love DF movies. Of course I also recognize that they have screwed up my life with their bent logic. Act like a bitch and men will beat down the door. Stay virginal, men prefer chaste women. Have a successful career, men aren't intimidated. Yes, I aspired to be Doris Day in all her hard to get, virginal, successful advertising exec/interior designer glory and all it got me was a big fat nothing. So what does DF stand for? Delayed F***. Little did I know, I was the one who would find herself f***ed.

(Asterisks in the original.)

Oscar Levant, you'll remember, famously quipped that he knew Doris Day before she was a virgin. I don't think anyone's mocking Donna, and I'm certainly not about to start. Still, Day's zealous protection of home plate in all those DF films probably won her more fans than detractors, and it didn't hurt that Doris was a genuine hottie. (As is Donna, for that matter.)

Abstinence may indeed make the tart go yonder, but their absence is no great loss; women with higher aspirations generally don't find any particular need to throw themselves at some guy. Dawn Eden got over that sort of thing:

I know I never set out consciously to use anyone. But we are judged by our fruits. The fruit of casual sex is the persistent habit of objectifying sexual partners, to the point of being unable to perceive people except in terms of how they relate to one's own wants and desires.

And that's not even the half of it. I haven't had an inordinate amount of casual sex none recently but to me, it always seems to be accompanied by a vague, sometimes not so vague, sense of emptiness: "Okay, now what?" It's possible, of course, to look upon sex as an end in itself, but then you find yourself defined in terms of what you'll go through to get laid, which I suspect is not at all what you wanted in the first place.

Both Donna and Dawn have pretty good ideas of what they want, and even better ideas of what they don't want. And if you saw enough of those DF films, you remember: so did Doris. There are happy endings, and they don't require twisting yourself to fit some contemporary sexual pattern that you never aspired to in the first place. I think. At my age, it's getting harder to be sure.

The Vent

  1 September 2004

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 Copyright © 2004 by Charles G. Hill