When I was younger, I remember sitting in the back seat of my my dad’s car, with my mom driving (she loves driving), and asking “Daddy, what’s a virgin?”
He said “someone who hasn’t had sex.” I thought of the Virgin Mary, and then how people have this weird stressed intonation of unpleasantness when I hear people say the word “virgin” as it was a scandalous word.
“I’m a virgin, then!” I said. It felt like it was weird to say that I was a virgin when I wasn’t pubescent or post pubescent or an adult, as if that context wasn’t even there for a kid to say they are a virgin. But there it was.
The only time I didn’t get a straight answer to a definition was when I was watching Grease and there was a lyric “Hooker” was sung. I imagined a fisherman or sailor with a large fishing hook, and a pretty, gussied up lady with the fishhook in her cheek looking surprised and blankly at the camera. I knew the word was integral to the song, so I asked what it meant.
I asked to my brother (who is two years older than I) “what’s a hooker?” He said, “someone who does stuff for money.” Being a child, I took it as it was said: Someone who does stuff for money. “Stuff” wouldn’t have the coy sexual connotation until years later.
Over the summer in our day camp’s swimming pool, my brother said “I’ll give you a quarter to give me a piggy-back ride!” I love giving him piggy back rides, because it makes me feel strong and I don’t spend enough fun, siblingy time with him. So I picked him up and walked around in the water, and said to his friend nearby, “*I’m* a *hooker*!” That friend gave me a horrible look, and I knew I said something wrong, so I splashed water in his face and swam off underwater.