Yesterday I had a post on Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos’ God-loving and praying quarterback who practically everyone in America is talking about these days (but not in France or anywhere else, that I promise you). Almost as soon as my post went up a Tea Party Republican reader—and who seems to be a practicing Christian—commented on it, informing me that “to most Americans, who love both God & football, Tim Tebow has become an American hero and role model.”
“Most” Americans? Like 90%? 80? 51? Got any survey data on this? I am quite sure Tebow is a fine young man on a personal level and if people want to admire him for whatever reason, that’s their affair. But a hero? WTF has he ever done to merit hero status to anyone other than Broncos fans and for anything other than leading come-from-behind 4th quarter victories? As for being a “role model,” for what precisely? À propos, I learned just yesterday that Tebow, who is 24 years of age, is a virgin. This personable, handsome young man has never “done it,” though he has no doubt had countless opportunities to do so over the past, say, eight to ten years. He is apparently “saving himself for marriage.” Why anyone would preserve his or her virginity until marriage is beyond me. It makes no sense whatever. But if Tebow’s peculiar religious convictions—and yes, they are peculiar—mandate this, that’s his business.
So here’s my question: why isn’t Tebow married? WTF is he waiting for?? Particularly as he has no doubt met numerous attractive, personable Christian women who would give anything to lose their virginity with him—and him with them—according to their (peculiar) Christian precepts. The thing is, it is not normal to voluntarily be a virgin at age 24. I repeat: NOT NORMAL. Societies and cultures—from time immemorial to the present-day—that have mandated chastity until marriage have made sure that men and women marry young, in their teens or early 20s at the latest. Even the most conservative cultures have recognized that the raging hormones of young people—and of both sexes—need a licit outlet and should have it, and as early as is reasonably possible. (And, BTW, this includes Arab cultures—and which understand perfectly that women need and want it as much as men.) In America in the old days, couples got married out of high school, or by college graduation at the latest. Educated Americans I have known of the older generation, who were in their early 20s in the late 1940s or 1950s, have talked of the frenetic frenzy to find a husband or wife their senior year of college if they weren’t already engaged. One member of this generation has told me that she got married (at 22) because she was fed up with being a virgin. One of the tragedies in the Arab world of the past three decades—where virginity is still culturally mandated for women—is the inability of men and women into their 20s—and even 30s—to get married, mainly for economic reasons (e.g. the men unemployed, impossibility of finding housing, inability of families to pay the bride price or finance the costly wedding party). The mass sexual frustration I observed in Algeria twenty years ago was so palpable. Algerians talked about it openly. I found the place a dystopia for this reason alone. I was personally convinced—and Algerian friends, including academics, agreed with me—that sexual misery was at least one variable in explaining the rise of Islamist extremism.
But that’s Algeria and the Arab world, where abnormally prolonged virginity is mainly about archaic codes of honor regarding women’s sexuality and the lack of any place for young unmarried couples to intimately meet (privacy—the lack of it—is a serious problem in these societies). These are not issues in America. But one would hardly find Tebow’s attitude in any other society. It’s a weird American exception. Sexuality is not only normal but is a human necessity, regardless of marital status. If Tim Tebow wants to repress his sexual urges, that’s really his private business. But in no way should he be made into a role model for it. In fact, it should make him a negative role model. I’m sorry but the guy is weird.