Look, I like virgins too. They’re handy for sacrifices.

Dear Highest Bidder: You are a man who has amassed great wealth and head trauma

When I first heard about the U.S. college student who’s auctioning off her virginity, a number of thoughts went through my head, including, “What has our society come to?” and “Where did I leave my chequebook?”

Natalie Dylan, a 22-year-old women’s studies graduate from Sacramento, has put her virginity up for sale—and the bidding has soared to an astonishing US$3.8 million. Economists say this provides the most convincing evidence yet that the impact of the global financial crisis has yet to be felt among those in the “huge idiot” demographic.

Almost four million bucks? To make it with a virgin? For that kind of money, you could have sex with Eliot Spitzer’s hooker exactly one thousand times. (Dear Charlie Sheen: this is not an incitement to actually go out and have sex one thousand times with . . . oops, too late.)

Someone needs to have a heart-to-crotch with this fellow. Dear Highest Bidder: You are obviously a man who has amassed considerable wealth and head trauma. Sure, there are cheaper ways to win over a virgin—“Hi, I’m the fourth Jonas Brother” usually works for me—but clearly you are a man who appreciates the finer things in life, such as “overpaying.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big a fan of virgins. They’re pure. They’re innocent. They’re handy to have around when your civilization strays and the volcano demands a sacrifice. But this just isn’t how a woman is supposed to experience sexual intercourse for the first time. Call me a prude, but I believe a woman’s virginity is a special gift that ought to be given to a man the old-fashioned way: reluctantly, and after months of pleading.

Natalie is running her auction through a Nevada whorehouse called the Moonlight Bunny Ranch—which is a relief, because for a moment there I worried the transaction might feel cheap and unseemly.

The bordello’s website describes Natalie’s virginity as a “rare commodity,” which kind of makes it sound like an Argyle pink diamond or a Paris Hilton thought. The site continues: “Natalie wants her first time to be a combination of a great time . . . and a financial agreement that she is happy with.” Weird. Just yesterday I said basically the same thing to the Volkswagen salesman.

In a recent article on the website Daily Beast, Natalie claimed she’s been praised by the CEO of a Fortune 500 company for her “entrepreneurial gumption.” My own research on the Internet suggests she’s also been widely praised for her “rack.” Indeed, this whole initiative carries faint echoes of the Robert Redford-Demi Moore movie Indecent Proposal, except that this story is about a virgin—and also it hasn’t yet made my eyes bleed.

When Natalie first went public with her plan, it was all about selling her virginity to make money so she could study for a master’s or even a Ph.D. (“That’s Dr. Whoreface, thank you very much.”) Now, apparently, it’s about More Than That—it’s also a sociological experiment. Natalie says she’s peddling an all-access pass to her down-thereness not merely as a cash grab but as part of her effort to peer deep into the human condition. She claims she is studying us, man. Analyzing our reactions. Probing our psyches.

Riiiiiiiiight. You know what would make for an even more fascinating sociological experiment? Studying how former virgins react when they wake up to discover the cheque has bounced.

Of late, there is mounting evidence that suggests Natalie might be just a tease. Bidding has been open for months now, yet she’s declined to set a date for the deflowering. In a recent interview, she hinted that she might not give it up after all—that merely coming up with the idea has brought so much attention and has been so lucrative that she might not need the money after all. What? So Hugh Hefner rolled all his quarters for nothing?

One of the opportunities that has come Natalie’s way is a book deal—though one struggles to imagine how even the most gifted ghostwriter will stretch this story into tens of thousands of words:

Chapter One—I Decide to Slut It Up

Chapter Two—You’re Still Reading? Uh, I Guess I Had a Childhood of Some Sort, So . . .

Chapters Three to Eight—Photos of My Cat

But perhaps we’re missing the bigger picture here. Some people see a crisis of morality or the overt commercialization of human sexuality. Me, I see a path out of the recession. I see a great and glorious mobilization of Canadian virgins for the greater good of our children, our children’s children and, more immediately, our rich computer nerds with skin problems.

Lady virgins: in this time of economic crisis, it’s time to step up and lie down. It’s time to take one for the homeland, to make stimulus from stimulation, to turn heterosexual seduction into deficit reduction. The fate of Canada’s fragile fiscal health rests in your hands between your thighs. Be gentle.

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