The V Word

I’ve tried to write about my vagina for a few days now, but can’t seem to do it.

Why am I trying to write about my vagina? Well, because…? Actually, a thing that’s on the internet that I wish wasn’t a thing on the internet but it’s the internet, so you’re going to have to deal with this thing is videos and songs and memes about having your period. I hate these things. Some are marginally humorous and elicit a very small smirk, but in general, I find them wholly unfunny and kind of gross, which is super weird because I love me some blood–just not pouring out of a vagina.

Stop it.
Stop it.

I don’t want to see a cutesy uterus shitting blood. I just don’t. It ooks me out to the Nth degree and again, weird because I can watch the most gory, violent movies ever with body parts flailing and being blown off and blood squirting out of neck stumps and I’m all, “ha ha! Cool!” but this? No. Pass.

I’ve tried to pinpoint why this is and I’ve come up with this logical conclusion: I’m squeamish around vaginas.

I would make a terrible lesbian. Straight women, we’ve all been there: after a particularly bad break up, we say, “I should become a lesbian” just so we don’t have to deal with men’s stupidity and lack of empathy for our emotions and I swear to god, if another man asks me, “what’s wrong? Are you on your period?” one more time, I’m going to fling a used tampon at his dumb head.

But the thought of having to interact with another woman’s…”down there,” I can’t. I can’t do it. I can barely handle my own vagina, let alone be responsible for another one. When I was taking birth control pills and having a rough time doing so due to forgetfulness, my doctor asked if I’d be interested in the Nuva Ring. “What’s that?” I asked naïvely. “Oh, it’s a plastic ring you insert into your vagina every month.” Nope. Stop. You lost me at insert. Next option, please. I refused to use tampons for many, many, many, many, many years, too.

I remember first being introduced to…TAMPONS. I was 13. I was staying with a relative and she had passed child-bearing age, so sanitary napkins or other implements were unavailable to me. I unrolled half the thing of toilet paper and made a makeshift pad. Every woman has done this and every woman knows this is a good MacGuyver fix for like, three minutes until things go horribly awry.

I called my mom in a panic. She called a female cousin and she brought over…TAMPONS. I didn’t realize they were…TAMPONS until I opened the box and stared dumbly down into the cardboard box. I picked one up and unwrapped it, vexed by the cylindrical object in my shaking hand. Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. I took the handy-dandy pamphlet out of the box and read it. There were pictures depicting the proper insertion of said…TAMPON into the vaginal canal. I might of well have looked at an ancient dialect. I was dumbfounded and embarrassed and I am not sticking anything inside myself. This thing is going to end up in my stomach or I’m going to perforate my lungs or something and I cannot have that. I tried, though, because I wanted to go swimming and didn’t want to reenact a scene from Jaws or attract any bears with my menstruation.

"I heard somewhere that their periods attract bears. The bears can smell the menstruation."
“I heard somewhere that their periods attract bears. The bears can smell the menstruation.”

Needless to say, that was my last attempt at tampons for a good almost 20 years. Yeah, that’s right. It took me that long to get over that traumatic event. All because I’m afraid my labia have wolf fangs and will tear my hand off if I go near it.

If I delve even deeper into this fascinating self discovery, I’d say it goes back to when I was in 5th grade and the day we had to walk from our sheltered parochial school down to The Public School where all the heathen children ran rampant through the halls, sacrificing goats and smearing the blood across their faces and naked upper torsos.

It was just as bad as you imagine it to be. Our small town shared one ancient school nurse between the two schools and she had one of those plastic models showing the cross section of a male and female reproductive system. I don’t remember what was said exactly, but it wasn’t at all what a normal sex ed class should have discussed since half of the class was populated by us christian kids, so it had to be extremely Disney in the discussion.

“This is the penis (giggle) and this is the vagina (more giggles). When a man and a woman love each other, they have sex (giggles galore). Don’t have sex until you’re married or God will send you to hell. Here’s a box that has a travel sized thing of deodorant, a razor, and a feminine napkin. Now get out of here,” she said in her gravely two packs-a-day voice.

And away we went! That was my sex talk. My parents never had the sex talk with me because obviously they figured I’d never be able to land a dick, so why bother? Meanwhile, they bought my brother condoms. I found them in his room one weekend when he was gone. And yes, I thought they were water balloons. Imagine my surprise when I opened one up and it was all gross smelling and slippery and tasted gross and didn’t blow up very well. How natural selection hasn’t bumped me off yet is a mystery.

To me, if you want to joke about having a period, joke about the experience, not the physical element. All women can relate to what I shared. It’s funny. Keep your blood squirting uterus pictures away from me.

To close, I’ll leave you with the epitome of period humor, coincidentally, done by a man. Take it away, Dave…

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