Remember those MasterCard commercials that went something like this?
Soup: $4. Box of tissues: $1. Medicine: $15. Making it all better: Priceless.
Turns out MasterCard had it wrong. Everything has a price, including things I didn't even know we could sell, such as one's virginity.
In late October, news broke that Catarina Migliorini, 20, was auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder, but for a good cause. She planned to spend the proceeds on building homes for the poverty-stricken in her hometown. A physical education student and self-described romantic at heart, Catarina commanded $780,000 from the highest bidder, a Japanese man called Natsu.
This story, while ludicrous, just might be crazy enough to be true. I mean, I have heard of crazier purchases. For example, someone in China reportedly paid upward of $5 million for a toilet. Yes, a toilet. No way, right? Still, let's give Catarina and her highest bidder the benefit of the doubt.
The events before and after the carnal interlude were and are to be filmed for a documentary about—you guessed it—selling one's virginity. Before your mind goes all "Fifty Shades of Grey," keep in mind that condom use is mandatory and sex toys are not allowed during their tryst.
Though she is quite clearly trading sex for cash, Catarina does not consider herself a prostitute. According to a New York Daily News report, she rationalized to a Brazilian newspaper, "If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer."
Naturally, skeptics disagree. It seems as though unless you are a geisha during the Edo period of Japan, society just doesn't seem to accept the idea that your virginity should be sold to the highest bidder.
When I was 20 years old, I could barely muster the idea of selling my "Dawson's Creek" DVDs, let alone my virginity, which is why I'm pretty much amazed by Catarina's decision to sell her chastity to a stranger from across the world.
Still, I can't help but put myself in her shoes and wonder what I would have done if I had been given the opportunity to sell my own virginity to the highest bidder. Would I have done it? Would you?
It's easy to discredit hypothetical scenarios, but imagine what you could do with all of that money. Not only could I buy the entire "Dawson's Creek" series, but I also could pay for years of therapy to help me get over the trauma of getting deflowered by a weird dude I've never met.
Not to say that your first time needs to be all chocolate and roses, but it does set the standard for the rest of your sexual career. And call me old-fashioned, cheesy and lame, but don't you want that first time to be kind of special? Or at the very least, know the other person's real name?
I don't judge Catarina—neither do I envy her newfound wealth. Simply put, I feel bad for her. She's going to waste her first sexual experience on someone she will meet only once and—let's face it—is downright creepy. What kind of pervert is trying to buy someone's virginity online anyway?
Just do the math. Personalized mix tape: $4. Movies: $20. Dinner: $80. Doing it for the first time with someone you actually like: Priceless.
Jen Kim is a RedEye special contributor.
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