International all round good guy and role model, Chris Brown, has been yapping to the press again to get himself some more bad press. Well, I'm assuming that he's doing it to get bad press on purpose, because the idea of him actually being as much of a moron as he comes across on paper is really quite unfathomable.
You'd think ever since the assault that I don't even need to go into, the nightclub brawls, dressing up as Al Q'aeda for Halloween 2012, the seemingly never ending misogynistic sound bites and the promoters pulling out of his concerts left, right and center, that his agent -- someone, ANYONE -- would intervene and just tell him to STOP TALKING. OR GOING OUT IN PUBLIC. EVER.
He says a lot of things that make me think he's a massive idiot. But then, last week, I kind of felt bad for him. The childhood version of him, at least.
The Guardian newspaper printed an interview with Brown, who among other things, spoke about his sexual history, and how old he was when he lost his virginity. He was 8 years old.
When I read this, my jaw hit the floor.
"He lost his virginity when he was eight years old, to a local girl who was 14 or 15. Seriously? "Yeah, really. Uh-huh." He grins and chuckles. "It's different in the country." Brown grew up with a great gang of boy cousins, and they watched so much porn that he was raring to go. "By that point, we were already kind of like hot to trot, you know what I'm saying? Like, girls, we weren't afraid to talk to them; I wasn't afraid. So, at eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it. You can be the best at it." "
There are many troubling aspects of this quote. The watching porn at age 8 -- or younger. The girl, aged 14 or 15, who had sex with an 8-year-old boy. The fact that Brown doesn't seem to find anything troubling with it. This highly sexualized child, who went on to be a kind of poster boy for violence against women.
After mulling it over for a while, I realized that although the story left a bitter taste in my mouth, I can't pretend to myself, in my lovely little bubble of Sussex and low crime rates and smug weekend cake baking, that this doesn't happen regularly. But is it really that 'different in the country'?
I was 17 when I lost my virginity. More precisely, I was one weekend away from being 18. I was one of the last of my peers to hold on to my virginity, with many school friends losing theirs at 15, 14, 13, even 12. I'd somehow left school without having a sticky encounter at the Skate Park, or bleeding on a towel placed on a boyfriend's bed (who would then tell everyone in your year).
By 17 and 51 weeks, I was ready to get rid of my "virgin" label. I didn't have a boyfriend at the time, I didn't get a proper one until a couple of months later, and my social life was my everything. At the shitty little club in my hometown, a guy who quite often told me he was going to deflower me, to use more delicate language, finally chipped away enough that I thought "'FUCK IT" and I left with him. We walked back to his parent's house, not far from my own, did the deed to the sound of The Killer's album, while I thought, "Oh, is this it then?"
After, lying in the wet patch, I helped him word lengthy text messages to his ex-girlfriend, trying to win her back. I didn't realize quite how depressing this was until I collected my shoes from the porch and walked home, in the rain, at 5am, alone. I woke up the next day changed, but the same.
I was definitely ready at the age I lost my virginity. I didn't have a fantastic experience, but I doubt many do. I canvassed the xoEditors, some of whom kindly offered their stories of how old they were when they lost their V Plates.
Laura, Marci and Jane were the same age as I was when I lost mine, 17. Marci found the experience painful, so stopped the guy and "denied that it was the real deal for a long time. I didn't do it again until I was almost 19 and referred to that as losing my virginity for a long time."
Jane had a happier experience. "I was 17 and a freshman in college. I had wanted to lose it at 13 like most of my friends but it didn't work out that way. I was thinking as it was happening, "I can't wait to call Cindy and tell her!""
"When it was over I laughed uproariously and said, "WAIT, THAT WAS IT?!?!?!" out loud. Really, really loud. I've learned to be a little more reserved with my postcoital pronouncements since."
Emily was only "barely" 13. She told how she was "really still a small child looking back. There's probably an OK way to lose your virginity at 13, but for me, I didn't have the self-esteem and the emotional intelligence to demand respect or any kind of pleasure. It was all about making this guy like me."
I'm interested. How old were you when you lost yours? Was it everything you ever dreamed of? Was it something you never really considered again?
Your virginity is always sold to you as this precious thing, this thing that when you give it away -- to someone special, always someone special -- things change. The only thing that changed for me is that I felt a little bit let down by myself, and that I wasn't sure if I was ever going to find someone who actually wanted to be with me, not the ex-girlfriend we composed those messages for. I'm glad I waited until nearly 18 for that realization. I'm not sure I could have taken it at 15, 14, 13. Definitely not 8.
Natalie tweets and posts Instagrams of her dinner: @Natalie_KateM.