Reader Judy sends in this story about the revolutionary method employed by Mswati III, King of Swaziland to prevent the spread of HIV in his realm: a sex ban.
This, coming from a dude with twelve wives and a fiancÃ©e.
Here’s how the sex ban works: virgin girls are issued a "woolen tassel," which is worn on the person at all times as a "symbol of chastity." Thus, if a laddie meet a lassie comin’ through the rye, and he propositions her, she is supposed to "throw the tassel outside his house and his family would have to pay a fine of a cow."
At least one observant teenager noticed that there were problems with the efficacy of tassels as a prophylactic: "They had no use because some girls fell pregnant while wearing the same tassels."
The story appears this week because His Imperial Royal Prurience, on the eve of selecting yet another wife from the Pool of Virgins–’cause you never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough!– recently lifted the ban without explanation. To express their joy over this turn of events, the chaste virgins of Swaziland threw a secret yet festive chicks-only wingding, the highlight of which was reportedly a big-ass tassel bonfire, which I suspect was nothing compared to the afterparty. Nudge nudge.
Hey, Mswati: I’m no sexpert, but maybe next time some sex ed and a packet of rubbers is the way to go.