by Con Chapman
BETHANY, Mo. Tiffany Alexander will be a senior this fall at Missouri River Valley College, a four-year liberal arts school whose students are not unlike those on many campuses across the country.
“There’s a lot of drinking on weekends, if by ‘weekend’ you mean ‘days other than Monday,’” says Dean of Students Harold Doering. “We’re here to educate the kids, but there’s only so much we can do about self-induced stupidity.”
Along with youthful mistakes comes the inevitable regret, says dorm resident Linda Sue Spinarkle. “You can see it on the girls’ expressions when they come back to their dorms on Sunday morning,” she says. “The look on their faces just screams ‘Why did I sleep with a TKE when I coulda hadda Sigma Nu?’”
At this crossroads of academia and fundamentalist religion, counselors have conceived a way out of the dilemma caused by a romantic encounter that one or both students wishes to forget afterwards; “born-again virginity,” a mulligan in which a student – male or female – who is sexually experienced returns to the tee and gets another shot at idealized romance.
“It’s generating a lot of interest both here and elsewhere,” says psychology professor Dorothy Casey. “What you’re saying is, ‘Okay–I unwrapped this very special gift I was saving for my wedding night. I’m going to ‘re-gift’ it or return it and see if I can at least get store credit.’”
The possibility of “re-virginization” was first suggested by Oscar Levant, a pianist and actor who appeared with Doris Day in “Romance on the High Seas” before Day developed the innocent, girl-next-door persona that brought her stardom. “I knew her before she was a virgin,” Levant said, leading obstetricians and gynecologists to speculate that a reversal of the biological process was possible.
Physicists at the Oak Ridge Electron Linear Accelerator in Tennessee conducted a series of experiments in which hung-over students were spun in a giant centrifuge, causing them to upchuck all fluids that had entered their systems during the previous semester. The result–a newfound sense of innocence, and a fresh start in the all-important race to find a suitable mate before graduating from college and accepting a low-paying entry-level job.
For Tiffany, re-virginization has meant a self-confidence that she says is helpful when she meets someone new. “Before, I’d hang my head and sort of mumble ‘Hi,’” she says. “Now I look them straight in the eye and say ‘I used to be a former virgin–but I’m back!’”