The author of Cat Person wants the reader to know the main character is a good girl, unlike the sluts who didn’t follow the college boyfriend script. When her hookup partner asks her if she has ever had sex before, she laughs:
Losing her virginity had been a long, drawn-out affair preceded by several months’ worth of intense discussion with her boyfriend of two years, plus a visit to the gynecologist and a horrifically embarrassing but ultimately incredibly meaningful conversation with her mom, who, in the end, had not only reserved her a room at a bed-and-breakfast but, after the event, written her a card. The idea that, instead of that whole involved, emotional process, she might have watched a pretentious Holocaust movie, drunk three beers, and then gone to some random house to lose her virginity to a guy she’d met at a movie theatre was so funny that suddenly she couldn’t stop laughing…
The extra touches are nice, especially the mother booking her a room at a bed-and-breakfast and writing her a card commemorating the moment.
It is interesting to see that this concept is still around this far into hookup culture. This is fiction, and obviously it doesn’t mean the average woman still follows the ritual. But the inclusion of the ritual in fiction shows the power of the idea either way. Absent real, meaningful moral boundaries, women will make up their own. They have to. Otherwise they won’t be able to draw the line between good girl and slut.
Edit: Note that this is a slight deviation from the AF/BB trajectory. Instead, she first has ceremonial sex with a Beta who completes a ritual to prove that the virginity losing sex is purified with romantic love. This then frees the woman move on to the AF stage prior to later settling for BB.