Saturday, 28 June 2008

Virgins and Stereotypes

The blogosphere is full of blogs written by single people. Among these sites, there is a small percentage that was set up by male and female virgins.

A few months ago, I stumbled across one of these blogs. It was entitled Almost 40-Year-Old Virgin. The author describes his site as "The blog of a man from New York City who's closing in on 40 yet still remains a virgin. And not by choice." The last post goes back to 16/03/2008. Visibly tormented by his "virgin status", several readers left their comments. I was intrigued by some of the contributions. One person wrote the following:

"I think that I understand where you're coming from. I'm a 30-year old male virgin. I tried and I tried to get a girlfriend (or just a willing sexual partner) all throughout my 20's and it never worked; I'm not outgoing or confident, I'm not physically attractive, and I make below-average income despite my education. Somehow, when I turned 30, it was like a huge weight was taken off my shoulders...a voice told me: "OK, you've missed your sexual peak, you've missed having sex in your 20's (and not out of choice) something's probably wrong with you, you're too old to start now (who wants to fuck a 30 year old virgin?), you've failed, you can just give up". It feels better, you know...kind of peaceful. Maybe we're better off without women in our lives; I don't have to worry about infidelity, betrayal, or getting STI's. Anyways, if it all gets too much to bear someday I can just "bow out gracefully" (this will probably involve a shotgun). Oh well, on that note, I'll end it (no pun intended)."

A female reader wrote:

"Well, I'm a 35 y/o female virgin (African-American) at that (you hear that we are oversexualized -- not all of us). I was thinking about trying to have sex with someone just to gain more experience (I've done up to the deed), but never followed through. When it is right, it will happen. I just don't want to randomly have sex with someone. I won't romanticize virginity. It is what it is. NO SEX."

Another male reader said the following:

"I just stumbled across this blog from the other end of the world. (Bangalore, India). Oh well..glad to know that I am not the only one out there and there are other men who have the same problem all over the world. I am am a 28 year old male and I unfortunately don't have any excuse - apart from being a nerd - on why I never got around to it. I only came close once. I like and admire most women - just that I am unable to get past talking :) Though, I am mildly surprised that one can be a virgin in NYC of all places. One tends to feel a freak sometimes. Lol, I *so* wish there was something special in being a virgin - one wouldn't mind the state then. :). Where I come from (India), one generally gets the opportunity to do the deed only *after* one gets married, not before. And most marriages are arranged - which is something I *dont* want. :( Thats also the one of the reasons why nearly everyone marries by their mid 20s here - they all get sex-starved. At 28, you have already missed the boat and if you hit 30, there aren't many women left. Unfortunately, with my kind of lifestyle (and attitude) there is little chance that I will be getting into any relationship with any sort of woman any time soon. :) I do hope things work out for you and you find a great woman in your life. Don't give up hope! Hope is what gets you on with life!"

Yet another reader wrote:

"I've had this blog in my bookmarks for probably a year now, checking back to see if you would ever post again. I'm happy to see you've returned, if only for one more post. I'm a 27-yo virgin who's never had any sort of female contact beyond casual conversation. While your stories didn't help me, they were certainly very interesting to read. Thanks for sharing."

The above comments and experiences say a lot about the expectations that are drilled into the minds of many people. Given the number of gender and age stereotypes that exist in several societies around the world, it is not so easy for an involuntary virgin to talk about their sexual status. I can still clearly remember my adolescent years and I surely cannot forget the importance attached to losing one's virginity before reaching the age of 20. I also remember how the notion of being sexually experienced was often said to enhance a man's ability to attract girls. Upon reaching a certain age, several people expect one to have reached specific goals in life. Nowadays, in most parts of the planet, if a 25-year-old male asserts that he is still a virgin and that his status is not voluntary, many people would probably suspect that there is something "wrong" with such a person.

The bulk majority of movies and TV programmes do not make life much easier for involuntary virgins. Nowadays, almost every movie includes some degree of sexual intimacy. Quite astonishingly, most of the couples portrayed on TV never seem to experience any sexual problems; their sexual activities are normally featured as relatively problem-free. Once again, this creates various expectations among the millions of viewers glued to their screens. It is quite amazing that the various health professionals who deal with myriad sexual problems on an almost-daily basis do not seem to be doing much to replace various myths with facts.

Some movies could also be blamed for apparently propagating the notion that if a person reaches a certain age and is still a virgin, he/she could be considered as a "loser". Such movies tend to portray virgins in a terribly negative light. This tendency is frequently exacerbated by linking a number of physical and psychological characteristics to the imagined typical virgin.

I think that some beliefs can be particularly harmful to involuntary virgins. When it comes to men, the notion that unless a guy has certain physical characteristics (such as a particular height) or has a specific job, he can forget about ever finding a partner with whom he could have sex is extremely likely to have very harmful effects on one's self-esteem. It is true that some things are more desirable than others in various societies, but the attempt to demotivate or to degrade those people who - for one reason or another - do not have a number of attributes is utterly unacceptable.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

More Worrying News for the Exploited Masses

As I read one article after another, it appears that the economic situation for the exploited masses of the world is getting worse. According to an article published on the Mail Online website (18/06/2008), "Chancellor Alistair Darling...told families to tighten their belts and accept lower pay or risk inflation 'spiralling' to the levels of the 1970s. As average pay rises fell behind the official rate of inflation for the first time, he said it would be 'disastrous' if Britain became locked in a Seventies-style vicious circle of spiralling wages and prices." The same article affirmed that "Traditionally, workers have always depended on becoming slightly better off every year thanks to pay rises above the inflation rate. But research yesterday revealed that they are now falling behind in a dramatic way. For a worker on the average salary of £23,750, a 3.2 per cent pay rise means take-home pay rising by £500 a year. This is only half the £1,000 extra which a typical family face on their annual bill for food and drink alone. And that is before they find the extra money for all the other soaring bills such as power, mortgage and motoring costs."

The turmoil caused by the international financial crisis is clearly also affecting thousands of Maltese individuals. Turning to an article published by the Maltese-language newspaper Illum (15/06/2008), "A survey that was carried out by the MaltaToday newspaper in September 2007 suggested that 37.4% of the Maltese population never go out to eat at a restaurant. According to another survey conducted by Illum nine months later, the percentage of those people who never go out to eat at a restaurant has increased by 7% and has now reached 44.4 %."

I think that these articles are sufficiently clear in their messages and any further comment from my end would be superfluous.


Wednesday, 18 June 2008

YMCA: Two Thumbs Up!

I have just finished reading an article that was published on the Times of Malta during the first week of June (01/06/2008). It seems that the Sunday edition of the paper is devoting some space to a number of individuals who have benefited very much from the care provided by the YMCA staff.

I decided to visit the website of the YMCA branch in Malta. While going through the site's contents, I totally agreed with the part which said "Malta is often referred to as a 'happy island', with a pleasant, mediterranean, sunny lifestyle. But for some people, this is only a distant dream. Their reality is dramatically different. " The site's "Untold Stories" section provides a sample of the chilling hardships that several individuals might face in this country when they find themselves in certain situations.

Living on a small island where the individualist cult appears to be increasingly popular, I could not help feeling the greatest level of admiration towards all the YMCA staff who do not hesitate to give their utmost to transform the frowns of the individuals they work with into smiles. It is so nice to notice that there are still some people in this country who cannot rest when they know that there are other human beings who might be homeless, involuntarily unemployed, sick, or facing tremendous hardships.

Although organisations such as the YMCA surely deserve the proverbial "two-thumbs up", their resources are fairly limited. I believe that the Maltese government should be doing much more to safeguard a number of rights in this country. The right to a job, the right to a decent home, the right to have easy and free access to health care services...these are all fundamental rights that every government should safeguard so that no person ever has to face the various horrors witnessed by the YMCA staff.

The government affirms that it does have a number of schemes to help those citizens whose plight requires emergency assistance. One of these schemes consists of the social assistance (relief) that unemployed people could apply for. Whoever bothers to investigate the weekly amount of money that these individuals receive would be shocked when comparing that amount to the sum of money that is necessary to cover several survival costs. In 2005, I remember that a single person would receive around Lm34 (EUR 79.19) per week whereas a married individual would receive around Lm39 (EUR 90.84) per week. I strongly doubt that the government has increased these weekly benefits to a level that reflects the current average weekly survival expenses. Of course, it is better to have something rather than nothing, but those amounts are clearly an insult to those who are dealing with a huge amount of psychological pain as they struggle to live a decent life.

Let us hope that the present government will do more to help those in need. In the meantime, I hope that organisations such as the YMCA will continue to represent a strong guiding light to all those people who feel trapped in the dark.


Sunday, 15 June 2008


A few weeks ago, La Delirante and I were invited to have dinner with some friends. As always, we laughed a great deal and enjoyed ourselves very much.

Something must, however, be said about the food. It was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! I am not sure whether I had ever eaten Timpana (baked macaroni) in the past given that I was quite fussy about certain foods up to a couple of years ago. As far as La Delirante is concerned, she got her first taste of this extremely popular Maltese dish...and she loved it! :)

Whoever is interested in learning more about Timpana, please take a look at the following site:

Saturday, 14 June 2008


There comes a time in almost every person's life when they have to start working. I believe that as far as most human beings are concerned, the moment one decides to look for a job is also the time when a person decides to join the millions of wage-slaves spread all over the planet.

What are the implications of becoming a wage-slave? Most wage-slaves spend most of their waking hours from, at least, Monday to Friday carrying out a specific number of activities in return for a particular amount of money. Given the greed for profit normally exhibited by private employers, salaries are often fairly low when analysing a country's cost of living. Indeed, according to a recent article published in one of the Maltese newspapers, Illum, "39% of the Maltese population fail to get to the end of the month with the salaries they are earning". According to the same article, "a further 18.3% stated that they are not always able to get to the end of the month". Although some people might say that many individuals spend their income impulsively and without proper financial planning, there are clearly several cases of workers who barely ever go out to relax and who still face huge difficulties in trying to make ends meet.

Apart from earning ridiculously low salaries, numerous wage-slaves frequently complain of having little job security. Such feelings are often heightened by the news reports from various parts of the world which talk about thousands of jobs being slashed. When talking about those workers who want to have a child or who end up being burdened with bank loans in view of the fact that their salaries do not allow them to save any money, the lack of job security seems to cause a great deal of anxiety in their lives. Many couples often have to face a huge amount of pressure as they try to map a stable future for themselves.

There are cases whereby the struggle to survive experienced by the typical wage-slave often creates a cycle of poverty. This is how it works for many people. A person finds a job and starts working. After a while, that individual might think that if they switch to another job, they might be able to get a better income. Sadly, in order to obtain a much better job, a certain level of expertise is usually required. This expertise, which is often of an academic nature, can usually only be obtained via further studies. As specialised educational courses are rarely ever free in capitalist countries, one would need a great deal of money to enrol. The fees that are charged by numerous academic institutions for several courses are clearly beyond the reach of thousands of wage-slaves. Furthermore, several courses require the students to enrol on a full-time basis given the demanding nature of the academic work that has to be done. When a person is trying to make ends meet with a relatively low salary per month, how is it possible to expect that worker to stop working in order to attend a full-time course? Some might suggest that such people could apply for a loan. This is not really a good option for two reasons. First, it increases an individual's debt, making life much harder for the worker should they lose their job (it also increases the person's amount of fixed expenses per month). Second, if one had to apply for a loan to cover the course fees as well as the survival expenses for a number of months, the amount that would have to be borrowed from the bank would be enormous! Consequently, many wage-slaves end up going round in circles; they might benefit from small increases as a result of extra work experience, but several of them tend to end up feeling that significant improvements are beyond their reach.

In view of the above, it is not surprising to come across a shocking amount of resignation when talking to many wage-slaves. Several workers seem to believe that they will never be "as good" as some other people. This belief often leads to a great deal of pessimism when talking about self-improvement.

It is not easy to be a wage-slave. Like millions of other wage-slaves, I am also facing several difficulties to achieve certain goals in my life. I would like to obtain a Master's degree, but I do not know how I am going to get the money to do so. I would like to clear my bank loans as quickly as possible, but when I look at my monthly salary, it looks as though this will take several years. I would like to travel more often and see other parts of the world, but my salary makes that extremely hard to accomplish.

As the prices of various items continue to increase and as numerous salaries remain stagnant, when are the wage-slaves of the world going to unite to say "Enough is enough!"?


Sunday, 8 June 2008

Hard Times Ahead for the Masses

I have just come across an article on the Internet which stated that "OPEC members saw no need on Sunday to pump more oil in response to last week's double-digit surge in oil prices to over $139 a barrel that top exporter Saudi Arabia described as unjustified." In the same article, the German Economy Minister, Michael Glos, affirmed that "The increase of the oil prices is becoming a real threat to the worldwide economy."
The shocking increase in the oil price per barrel is only one of the factors underlying the greater level of stress experienced by millions of individuals around the world. The increasing prices of various food items is also making life tougher for several people.
What about Malta? How are these issues affecting the Maltese workers? According to an article published in The Times on 03/05/2008, "While Malta has not yet reached a situation of hoarding or food riots, it is still feeling the pinch - a one-litre milk carton has just gone up by €0.07 (3c) and importers are about to raise the price of flour, which will affect the price of bread." The article also stated that "The pockets of lower-income families will be worst hit because this sector of society spends some five to 10 per cent more on food than their wealthier counterparts." Some newspapers have also already mentioned the fact that the surcharge tax related to the utility bills is going to increase from July onwards.
In view of the above, are salaries going to increase? How are the various governments of several nations going to help the masses overcome such crises?
It really seems as though there are going to be some pretty hard times ahead for the masses...

Sunday, 1 June 2008

From El Salvador to the US

As I was browsing today, I came across a very interesting article entitled The Reality of Migration: A View from El Salvador. Written by Joe DeRaymond in February 2008, the article stated that "The latest United Nations figures indicate that 1,070 people every day are leaving El Salvador for the trip north."

To many people who grew up in fairly comfortable surroundings, it might be very difficult to imagine the enormous suffering - physical and psychological - that thousands of Salvadorans endure on a regular basis as they try to improve their lives. Faced with a government that continues to pursue strongly capitalist economic policies, countless Salvadorans are left in a state of despair.

I had lived in El Salvador for a few months in 2005. I used to read the newspapers there and I was often shocked by the comments made by a number of columnists. I can still remember some articles which asserted that any government social assistance was a burden on a country's economic growth and should, therefore, be eliminated. Of course, such articles were never penned by those earning a minimum wage in El Salvador!

As is often said, "the grass is greener on the other side". To millions of poor Salvadorans, it seems that moving to the US is frequently perceived as a journey towards an earthly paradise. Indoctrinated with the concept of the American Dream, many risk their lives in search of a better life. Sadly, many of those who eventually manage to settle down in the US end up seeing their dream transform into a nightmare. Decent jobs are often hard to find and the low salaries earned by several Salvadorans in the US rarely allow the possibility of enjoying a stable roof over one's head.

As far as the US government is concerned, this seems to continue endorsing the witch-hunts for any illegal immigrants. Various anti-immigrant groups have apparently been set up close to the US borders in order to stem the flow of any new immigrants.

It is very sad to see how human beings can turn against one another simply because of the notion of "nationality". No person gets the opportunity to choose the country in which they are born and it is grossly unfair to invent borders in order to avoid sharing the world's resources with other people.

Only Socialism will lead to a world in which man-made borders can be torn down so that all human beings can live together as members of a single family. Only Socialism will ensure that the rights to education, decent housing, and health care are FREELY available to all people. At this stage, I encourage you to learn more about Socialism and to join a Marxist-Leninist party so that we can build a better world for everyone.