Write your state legislator today to ask for a stylish medieval accessory -- a chastity belt.
This is the only logical response to Pennsylvania's Chastity Awareness Week, about to be approved for the seventh year in a row, says NARAL Pro-Choice America.
The state General Assembly's annual chastity resolutions have been largely symbolic: They don't earmark any public funds for sex-free events but encourage schools and youth groups to set aside some time to extol the virtues of staying sexually abstinent outside marriage. This year, the pro-choice crowd is objecting to the lack of a similar resolution urging schools to disseminate information about safer sex or disease and pregnancy prevention. Past resolutions have focused on abstinence as the only foolproof method for preventing disease and pregnancy.
NARAL is encouraging Pennsylvanians to take legislators up on their chastity challenge by writing or e-mailing requests for chastity belts so that they might uphold their part of the resolution. The group's "Give Us Real Choices" initiative is being touted on the Web at www.giveusrealchoices.org and will be promoted at meet-ups and concerts over the next month or so.
Nancy Keenan, president of the Washington, D.C., organization, says it's silly to use the word "chastity" in the 21st-century. "It's like we've turned the clock back to the middle ages," she says. "We have to educate young people about reproductive health. It's not being taken seriously in Pennsylvania. All of us believe that young people should be abstinent, but we know that they all aren't. Young people need to be given proper choices."
Assuming that any state legislator wants to shore up a constituent's commitment to chastity, he or she can find chastity belts in Munhall, blocks from the Waterfront, at The Outer Skin, which bills itself as "The Largest Adult Store in the East."
Store manager Lois Murrman says that belts can run anywhere from $50 for decorative models to $100 and up for real-deal ones made out of metal and leather. Legislators won't have to ask letter-writers for intimate measurements, since the belts sold at The Outer Skin are one-size-fits-most and adjustable, she says.
Would they work for teaching teens to behave themselves?
"Abstinence is good, but chastity belts in the adult world are more about dominance and showing power to the submissive," Murrman says.
Probably not what the folks behind Chastity Awareness Week had in mind.