August 11, 2006
Those 72 Virgins
The Religious Policeman provides absolutely the best ever discussion of those 72 virgins. Via Samizdata and Andrew Sullivan we get a nice YouTube video of a stand up comedian discussing the question but take it away Alhamedi:
"I have, however, wondered long and hard about those virgins. Let me share some of my theological speculation with you.
Firstly, are there 72 virgins for each male, or 72 virgins, period? You see, if it's the latter, it sounds like a lot, but then there an awful lot of men in Paradise, and the number is rising all the time. And if there are only 72 to go round everyone, then we're going to need some sort of queueing system, which we're not very good at. But let's say we're better at queueing in Paradise, and we all take a numbered ticket, and wait in line. Our ticket says 18 billion and something, and the display says 3 billion and change, but not to worry, we've got eternity to play with. Eventually, we're near the head of the line. The thing is, though, some of us are going to be more attractive to the virgins than others. For example, Salah Ad Din here on the left, perhaps known to you as Saladin, was a mighty Middle Eastern warrior at the time of the Crusades, and by all accounts was also sophisticated, civilized, learned and very charming. So when he appears at the head of the line, I'm sure our young virgin will experience a shiver of anticipation. But if it's our young Jihadi on the right, it could be a different story. You see, he's probably been blown up by a bomb, which tends to make a bit of a mess. Sure, they'll do some basic surgery to sew the various bits together, but materials are limited up there, and there are limits to what you can do with a silken thread and the beak of a Humming Bird. When his number finally gets called, he's going to be standing there, trying to look his best. For most men, they'll check their tie, and perhaps quietly make sure that their fly is zipped up. On the other hand, our unfortunate Jihadi is going to be trying to hold his intestines in with the burnt-off stump of what was his hand. So that's the night that our virgin suddenly remembers that she needs to wash her hair. Luck of the draw, my friend, take another ticket, go to the back of the queue.
Alternatively, there could be 72 virgins for every male. Sounds better? Think about it. There are 72 of them and just one of you. They all have their needs and desires, both emotional and physical. So how are you going to satisfy them? Well, "one at at a time" is part of the answer. And you'll need a rota system. Plus you'll need a bit of rest and recreation yourself. Let's say you spend a night with each? It's going to take about 80 days before the virgin at the back of the queue gets to the front. So let's guess what sort of mood she is going to be in, after nearly three months of waiting for some attention. Ever kept your "significant other" waiting just 20 minutes? At a rough guess, she'll be somewhere on the scale between homicidal and genocidal. Not a good start to a relationship. Next night, it's the same, she's been waiting 80 days as well. And so on. And don't even think about limiting your favors to a select few. Maybe "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned", but don't imagine it'll be any better in Heaven either if you miss some of them out. You could of course declare that all relationships will be purely platonic, all that you want is company and conversation. Now all you need to do is find the one who's equally interested in taking motor bikes to bits. Or the one who'll enjoy watching Sumo Wrestling with you. Or the one who's any good at Darts."
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How can they be virgins if they've already been shared around?
Posted by: Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny | Aug 11, 2006 1:06:33 PM
Yes. Damned good point!
Posted by: MrS | Aug 11, 2006 3:05:34 PM
"It's going to take about 80 days before the virgin at the back of the queue gets to the front. So let's guess what sort of mood she is going to be in..."
Recycled virgin? Revirginated?
Tim adds: Cue the old joke "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin".
Posted by: james higham | Aug 11, 2006 3:48:25 PM
You know, Tim, this one's been really troubling me.
I was thinking about this thing. If we have six virgins per week [assuming one doesn’t do nooky on the Holy Day], then this will take you 12 weeks, assuming you have no sickies. Multiplied by four, this then brings you to 48 weeks.
Now, assuming you have 24 or 25 days off through the year [maybe to canoodle some of your favourite once-virgins as a bit of light relief], then assuming a base age of 9 years, [Aisha is the precedent], you’re going to find yourself running through 2,592 virgins before the new crop arrive.
Assuming also that you’re only into the opposite gender, then this number – 2592 – shouldn’t be too hard to achieve if you’re roaming around the Arab peninsula pillaging and killing and attracting followers of both genders as you go.
So maybe the figure of 72 is ball park after all.
Posted by: james higham | Aug 12, 2006 8:20:42 AM