By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
My first day in high school, I showed up in a brand-new IZOD with a nice haircut and got laughed right out of the building. That was it. Never had a girlfriend. Never had a date. Missed the prom. Never held hands with a girl. Four years of futility. I had two dates in college, kissed a few girls, but that was it. Four more years of futility. Like the guy in the Steve Carell movie, it just never happened.
—From The Real 40 Year Old Virgin of Orange County by Anthony J. Tarquinto
* * *
Tony Tarquinto does not resemble an ogre. He’s trim, athletic. Some might even dare call the Aliso Viejo resident a catch.
If the Easy Life Furniture salesman laid on the charm while showing you a sectional, you’d likely be shocked to discover he’s a 40-year-old virgin who, come November, figures to be a 41-year-old virgin.
Tarquinto has not only embraced this rare distinction of the modern world, but he’s also shouting it from the mountaintops—in the form of his self-published book, The Real 40 Year Old Virgin of Orange County.
Prompted to write the book by his co-workers, Rose in customer service and Robin in sales, Tarquinto says, “Most people have just been asking me ‘Is it true? Are you for real?’ Yes it’s all true. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t gamble. I don’t swear. I love God. I love my family. I love my country. I won’t let you down.”
He says the closest he came to a, ahem, deflowering was in 1994.
“I was with a girl named Julie, and we were in my apartment, and we were making out, and it got hot and heavy,” he recalls. “But I just chickened out. I was a coward. I think we had three dates.”
“And that’s the closest I’ve ever been to having a girlfriend.”
It’s enough to make one feel sorry for Tarquinto, but he does not want your sympathy.
He feels duty-bound to risk becoming a “national embarrassment” to hook readers in to the real point of his autobiographical manifesto:
Saving the country from itself.
* * *
When I got out of college in 1992, I went to work. Before long, I had a good job. Then a really good job. Then my dream job. I did better than I could ever have imagined. I made money. I ate well. I lived comfortably. I had friends. I traveled. Between 1993 and 2008, my life was so fulfilling and happy that I told myself that I didn’t need companionship. The past 16 years were a blur. I was so busy and having so much fun that I talked myself into believing that a girlfriend wasn’t important. I boycotted women. Call it a girlcott.
—From The Real 40 Year Old Virgin of Orange County
* * *
Tarquinto was a certified medical representative with Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical for 10 years before his division closed in October 2008.
He lost the company car and, with jobs in his profession suddenly scarce, his house and 401(k). He’s now selling furniture to get by. He hopes to work his way into hospital administration when the economy gets better.
Reflecting on how his life had been the previous 16 years, it hit him he’d never had a girlfriend. He’d always dreamed of a framed photo of him with a special girl at a nice oceanfront restaurant. But he’d been so consumed with his career that he’d never taken the required steps to get a woman to join him at that table.
The title of the first chapter of his book explains what he now thinks of his old approach to women: “The Sixteen Year Mistake.”
Tarquinto does not regret having remained celibate, but he does now condemn himself for having “isolated” himself from the ladies.
He explains that while his self-imposed “girlcott” was going strong, he rationalized that many of today’s women had become shaped by feminism, that they believed they could get by just fine without men. He reckoned if they didn’t need men, he didn’t need women.
Not that Tarquinto explained any of these feelings to a living, breathing woman. He was charging too hard with his career. He figures now he’d unwittingly decided to “take a break from women”—although that implies there would have been women from which to break.
Wouldn’t you know that just when Tarquinto has accepted that he really should not venture into the rest of his life alone, a new cause has come along to keep him from diving in between the sheets.
* * *
While America still leads the world in morality, we’re slipping. If I have to spend the rest of my life fighting for my country, so be it. I’m not doing anything until America is on the right track. I’m not talking to women. I’m not even going to look at women until I get my country back. I don’t care if I have to spend the rest of my life alone. It might take that long, but I’m not quitting. I want my state back. I want my country back.