What’s Wrong with Vagina?
It’s clinical. A dead jellyfish you poke a stick at.
Vagina’s not offensive; it’s boring. What we don’t say
becomes a secret, says Vagina Monologues’ Eve Ensler,
and everyone knows what secrets equal. If we keep
pum-pum, playing field, beef curtain, black cat with its throat cut
mum, what are we teaching? Not pride in our stars
over the garter, our beetle-bonnets, our Jemimas. Even misogynist-
envelope-pushing hairy ax wound trumps the clinical; I’d rather
embrace the derogatory than let it thrive in the enemy’s
lexicon. Besides, pet names for penis are often as ugly:
wanker, pud, pork sword, dong. Bland sterility in the bedroom:
promiscuity precursor? Fidelity killer? Why not try on
a little panty pudding? Au contraire, Dr. Carol Livoti (Vaginas:
An Owner’s Manual), demanding we call anatomical organs
by their anatomical names: Anatomical? Does Latin for break,
split, bite trump the street-smart guy or gal who dreamed up
Pink Palace in a Black Forest? I mean, who owns the language
owns the Holiday Inn. Gloria Steinem hopes the onslaught
of pet-names points to vagina’s inadequacy (leaving out,
as it does, the labia and clit), not to women’s squeamishness,
but who’s more prone to primness: the woman
who wields the feminist rant or the whisker biscuit?
In the same way straight-up sex side-steps full-on
cozying up with a cozy-cozy, is often less risky
than felching or fisting, championing vagina stifles
the croon of a species’ way wild way with words,
for all those who concocted jam donut, love’s pavilion,
butter box, pink velvet sausage wallet. Obfuscating?
Ducking the actual? Skirting around what’s down there?
True, our slit-bits aren’t splitting, but vagina’s a defunct
turnpike, a strawberry patch disguised as a viper, antonym
for what it’s describing—a strapping contraption (hardy
and hearty), a fat rabbit, a crescent moon. My snack bar isn’t
a sheath for a knife. That’s my tuzzy-muzzy, my thunder mouth,
my universe’s center, if there was.