Every time I read about one of these über-creepy father/daughter Purity Balls, I thank the itty bitty baby Jesus that my repressed, Irish Catholic dad would rather sear his ears shut with a blowtorch than have a discussion that in any way involves my vagina. For those of you unfamiliar with such things, these balls (cue Beavis laugh) feature teen and tween girls* getting dolled up in long white gowns, then promising father in heaven and father on earth that they'll keep their tender little hymens intact until marriage.
"I want to be clean," explained one 14-year-old virgin, when asked why on Earth she'd pledge such a thing. Never mind that life is more fun when it's dirty, but we already know that abstinence education doesn't work, so why would these freaky deaky balls?
Oh, wait--they don't. And then when the pledgers do have sex, they're so crippled by the thought of sinnin' that they're less likely to use birth control.
Predictably, where Christ goes, cash follows and the popularity of these incest-undertoned events has spawned an entire chastity market. You can buy hymen--I'm sorry, "unblossomed rose"--rings that are more vulva-liscious than anything Georgia O'Keefe ever painted. If you want to get your toddler on the road to vaginal lockdown early, toss a stuffed cat wearing an "I [heart] Chastity" t-shirt into her playpen. Your rocker daughter have you worried about her virtue? Replace all her Gibson picks with "Stand True" gee-tar picks and her thongs with snazzy granny panties emblazoned with the slogan, "Virginity Lane: Exit When Married" from a company called Wait Wear. (No, I'm not kidding.)
While I'm all for waiting until you're mature enough to handle sex (and birth control, please), I'd guess that few hours spent watching "16 and Pregnant" would be a far more convincing way to put kids off the sex, with none of the icky marrying-Dad creep factor. Hell, if that show had been on when I was a kid, I'd probably still be a virgin.
*That teenage boys are nowhere to be found in these virginity campaigns is fodder for another blog post, another day.