"It's okay, Matt. I'll help you find the perfect person."

Matt sighed and gave Mello an exasperated look. He really, really, really, did not want to do this. He was perfectly fine with being a virgin. He had his hentai porn and his fanfiction and his morning showers, and he was perfectly content.

"Mel, I appreciate the effort, but seriously, dude... This just isn't me."

They were sitting at the bar of a posh, downtown club, with the usual neon lights, swarms of intoxicated people and a floor-shattering techno beat. The place was called Inferno and Matt whole-heartedly agreed with who ever had come up with the name. This just wasn't him, as he kept saying to Mello. Sure, the music was right up his ally, but people, large masses of sweaty, dancing people in particular, were not. The very thought of infiltrating said mass and trying to pick someone up for the night made him nauseous. He couldn't do it. He was too scared. Too shy. Too introverted. Too inexperienced.

But Mello was having none of it.

"Come on, Matty! Look at these people. There's bound to be someone there you might imagine yourself having sex with... Lots of girls, and guys, of all types and sizes. Where do you sit on that one, anyway? I've never heard you talk about anyone like that, now that I think about it..." He leaned forward to stare into Matt's eyes in a way that Matt had initially hated all those years ago, but had had to accept as one his friend's peculiar traits that refused to go away.

"Well..." He wasn't sure what to answer. He didn't think Mello would be happy if he said he didn't find real people attractive compared to his game or anime characters, male or female. "I'm not sure," he finally muttered.

Mello frowned and pursed his lips. "Then you're bi. If you preferred just one sex, you would know by now." He leaned back away from Matt and absent-mindedly fixed his hair. Mello really was kind of feminine, Matt thought. His hair was long and he was rather slender in built. Although no one really mistook him for a girl. There was just something in his gait and the way he moved in general that screamed alpha-male. He had the air of a guy you did not want to run into in dark alleys and such.

Really, it was rather weird that he had chosen to befriend Matt, of all people. Sure, they worked in the same building, but other than that they didn't have much in common. Matt was quiet and asocial, Mello loud and loved to interact with people. Matt liked computers, Mello liked sex. Matt was a software engineer, Mello a PR consultant. They had only met in the proper sense of the word because the lift of the office building had broken down one evening while they were the only two people on it. They had had to wait for the maintenance to come and rescue them for three hours and during that time Mello had somehow managed to invite himself to Matt's for tea. And after that there had been no going back. Once Mello was in your life, there was no way of getting rid of him.

Not that Matt particularly wanted to. Except at moments like this, of course.

"Mello, I won't do this." He tried to sound sure. Like he meant business. He didn't say that he couldn't, but that he wouldn't do it. That it was a choice, his choice, to stay a virgin at the mature age of 25. That picking up a stranger in a club just to get rid of something he really didn't feel like losing was just not on the agenda. The only reason he'd agreed to join Mello here in the first place had been because Mello had guilt-tripped him into it by saying Matt had been avoiding him lately, which was true enough. The whole let's-get-of-your-virginity thing had not been brought up until they had already firmly been seated at the bar with more than one round of vodka shots in their systems.

Mello leaned forward, again. "Matt. Trust me, you'll thank me later. I really think you are not meant to stay a virgin."

Matt raised his eyebrows at that. Not meant..? If Mello brought God to this, he was so leaving. "Do explain."

Mello cleared his throat and adjusted his position on the chair. Despite the tight pants and the even tighter t-shirt, he somehow managed to look like a serious-minded student in a lecture hall, answering a professor's question. Matt knew Mello'd studied Market Economy only because he'd wanted to please his father. Anthropology was Mello's real passion. "Okay. Matt, how do you see your virginity?"

Matt blinked. "What?"

"I mean, do you see it as something you can either lose or preserve?" Mello was looking at him so intently that Matt couldn't focus on the question. Mello cocked his head. "Of course, those two are in the same category, in a manner of speaking. Virginity can be seen as a state, as something that is owned, rather than as the lack of something. Most Western people today see it as the latter, though. It's actually quite funny that it's almost become a phenomenon not unlike that in the so called shame societies, but in the exact opposite way. But of course it's never that simple. It'd be inane to say that all Western teenagers are just dying to get rid of their virginities at the earliest opportunity. Anyway, what is it to you?"

Matt sighed and shrugged uncertainly. "Neither, I guess. I don't think I'm owning... or lacking anything."

Mello nodded. "I see." He paused for a moment to bite his lip thoughtfully. "But you're not asexual, right? I mean, you have a sex drive, don't you?"

Matt fought the urge to blush. They didn't usually talk about things like this. "Uh, yeah. But there are asexuals, who, uh, have that drive, but just don't want to do anything with…" With real people? Would that sound creepy? "Who just, don't want to do anything", he finished. Thank the gods that there was too much noise for anyone to listen in on their conversation.

Mello hummed in agreement. "True. But I don't think you're really asexual. By nature, I mean. It's an environment thing. Your biological and social needs have been subdued by various distractions-"

"Oh, stop right there. If you're going to tell me computers have made me a nerdy loser, don't bother", Matt interrupted with a sigh.

Mello frowned. "No, I... Well, that's putting it very, very, simply. But the fact remains that you're part of a very modern phenomenon, being male. Most cultures before our time had a system where men were encouraged to gain experience with older women before marriage. In other words, they were systematically initiated into manhood. It's still that way in many cultures today, in Latin America, for example." He looked at Matt expectantly.

"Um, okay. I'm a wretched 21st century guy, who's been left to my own devices to gain sexual experience, and I've failed at it, got it."

Mello frowned. "Right. Well, not right. That's again... Not what I wanted to say. My point is that you-"

"That I really want to have sex and I just don't know it?" Matt filled in.

Mello opened his mouth to argue back, but seemed to think better of it. "Yeah, sure. And, Matty, I am one hundred percent sure that you will like it, if you just experience it the right way." He said it so enthusiastically that he accidentally hit over his glass and the contents splashed on Matt. "Oh, sorry!" He leaned over to pat Matt's shirt with a napkin, but Matt shooed him away.

"It's okay. I'll just have to go home and change," he said, not bothering to fake disappointment.

Mello's apologetic face quickly morphed into narrowed eyes. "Oh, no you won't. You're not leaving this place until we're done here." He placed his hand on Matt's shoulder. The grip was light enough, but Matt could feel see his muscled arm tensing, as if ready to restrain him by force. Mello had a tendency to rely on physical strength if talking didn't work, although it usually did.

Matt sighed. "Mel, I'm tired. Let's just go to my place for tea, yeah? You can talk all you want about the sociological significance of virginity, I promise. I might even try and argue back. Who knows, maybe you'll even convince me of something. But me losing my virginity to someone here tonight is just not happening." He could feel the effect of his words on Mello, whose grip on his shoulder loosened considerably.

"Fine. You win. I guess this was too sudden. My approach was wrong. Sorry," the man mumbled in one breath and stepped down onto the floor from his high stool. "Let's go then."