I n France men are addressed as Monsieur and women as Madame or Mademoiselle. While a Monsieur is a monsieur no matter what, a Madame is a married woman and a Mademoiselle an unmarried woman. This week a circular from the prime minister instructed government offices "to avoid using any distinction of this nature … 'Madame' is to replace 'Mademoiselle' as the equivalent of 'Monsieur' for men, which gives no indication of their marital status". But I fear that yet another circular is not going to change this tenacious practice. Back in and again in a circular from the ministry of the interior stated that "Madame" should be the equivalent of "Monsieur". But things have only got worse with the internet. If you don't fill in the marital status box, you cannot submit forms, because these are "required fields". It happens with my taxes, social security and all kinds of bookings, especially for the Eurostar On the English form I can tick "Ms" and no one pesters me about my private life.
Virginity is the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. Like chastity , the concept of virginity has traditionally involved sexual abstinence. The concept of virginity usually involves moral or religious issues and can have consequences in terms of social status and in interpersonal relationships. The term virgin originally only referred to sexually inexperienced women, but has evolved to encompass a range of definitions, as found in traditional, modern and ethical concepts. The word virgin comes via Old French virgine from the root form of Latin virgo , genitive virginis , meaning literally "maiden" or " virgin "  —a sexually intact young woman or "sexually inexperienced woman". As in Latin, the English word is also often used with wider reference, by relaxing the age, gender or sexual criteria. In the latter usage, virgin means uninitiated.
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But for the patient, a year-old French student of Moroccan descent from Montpellier, the minute procedure represented the key to a new life: the illusion of virginity. Like an increasing number of Muslim women in Europe, she had a hymenoplasty, a restoration of her hymen, the vaginal membrane that normally breaks in the first act of intercourse. Gynecologists say that in the past few years, more Muslim women are seeking certificates of virginity to provide proof to others. That in turn has created a demand among cosmetic surgeons for hymen replacements, which, if done properly, they say, will not be detected and will produce tell-tale vaginal bleeding on the wedding night. The service is widely advertised on the Internet; medical tourism packages are available to countries like Tunisia where it is less expensive. Hicham Mouallem, who is based in London and performs the operation. No reliable statistics are available, because the procedure is mostly done in private clinics and in most cases not covered by tax-financed insurance plans. But hymen repair is talked about so much that it is the subject of a film comedy that opens in Italy this week. The furor followed the revelation two weeks ago that a court in Lille, in northern France, had annulled the marriage of two French Muslims because the groom found his bride was not the virgin she had claimed to be.