Give me a C…! Give me a U…!

Last Friday night was all about vaginas.

 

No, it wasn’t adult pay-per-view time chez Bevard.  Catherine and I saw “The Vagina Monologues” at College of Dupage. 

 

Now, obviously, I haven’t been living in a hole for the last decade, so I was familiar with the production in a vague sort of way – like, I knew that it was a troupe of women discussing vaginas from various perspectives.  But beyond that, I knew nothing about it except for the fact that Catherine was in it before we met. 

 

Before the whole thing got underway, I hadn’t expected to feel uncomfortable.  I usually just don’t have that sense of gender-based nervousness that surrounds these things.  (See my discussion of Ulta elsewhere in this blog.)  But even I’ll admit to a few moments of initial pause as the whole thing hit the ground.  Every woman mentioned what her vagina would wear or say in the event that it, you know, woke up ready to take the world on its own one morning, which I found more than strange and responsible for some images I’d rather forget.  One of the things I knew about TVM was that a lot of men consider it either a purely feminist undertaking or something that appeals mainly to man-haters.  And don’t get me wrong – I do get why men who are intimidated by the psychology of sex and gender and whatnot get freaked out by this thing.  I mean, it’s pretty intense.  But it’s also funny, and mostly well-written, and it’s for a great cause, so I’m all for it.  Having seen it, I have to say that the only guy who would find it only a feminist undertaking is threatened by the whole thing in some way.  Maybe he doesn’t know his way around the southland, if you get what I’m saying. 

 

Another thing I discovered was that it really did get me thinking.  Against expectations, I noticed a fair number of guys there – all with their wives or girlfriends – and only a few of them looked uncomfortable.  (One middle-aged gent sitting directly in front of me looked as though he hoped to fold up and die when the first reader discussed shaving her pubic hair.)  My dimestore analysis of the situation came in two parts. 

 

First, I have to admit that there were moments that, in the beginning, had me rolling my eyes.  Some of the language was a little – ahem – flowery, and struck me as a bit corny.  Every metaphor under the sun was used to describe vaginas in various states of pleasure, pain, and evolution, and it became a bit much for me to take, the whole idea of vagina-as-radiant sun/flower bed/conch shell/meteor shower/steamroller/toaster-oven/other.  But then I considered the point of the whole thing and realized why I found certain moments a little beyond me.  It was this whole idea of a relationship with one’s genitals.

 

See, in spite of the whole “naming-your-penis” joke, I don’t have a relationship with my penis beyond physiology.  I’m glad it’s there, and we’ve always gotten along great.  But that’s pretty much it.  I can’t think of any of my guy friends who have ever deigned to adorn their oldest and dearest friend with some weird moniker like The Big Man or Mr. Heatseeker.

 

And I think that’s what must create a certain amount of disconnect for any guy watching TVM: I can’t possibly understand the need or desire to associate the ability to have an orgasm as something tear-jerking or defining to my identity.  I say this without a trace of sarcasm – guys simply don’t experience this issue.  For guys, orgasms are orgasms.  Sure, we want more of them, as often as possible, but getting there doesn’t constitute a journey of any kind.  And however we want to break down gender barriers, that wall isn’t coming down.  Women are, sexually speaking, far more complicated than men, and maybe some guys find this threatening or obnoxious.  There were heavy issues on the table – genital mutilation, rape, abuse.  I realized that orgasms really did become symbolic under these conditions, so with that in mind, I figured, hell, use all the metaphors you want. When I mentioned this to Catherine, she brought up the fact that the acknowledgment of the female orgasm is also a truly foreign concept to some men.

 

I find this appalling.

 

Look, I’m not going to triple-X-and-tell with regard to my sex life.  But, guys – what the fuck?  Seriously.  Discovering how to work the female equipment shouldn’t occupy a mysterious corner of the Twilight Zone’s bedroom to a man who considers himself even remotely attentive as a partner or lover.  You shouldn’t be romping away and expect to see Rod Serling appear at the foot of the bed, cigarette in hand, jaw set, intoning, “Witness a man, faced with a task so daunting, it can only be found…”  You get me. 

    

I imagined a mental checklist that every man ticks off in his head as he watches these monologues, thinking, was that funny?  Was that supposed to be funny?  Do I look nervous?  Am I grossed out right now?  Did she just scream the word “cunt”?  Then I realized that I was going through that very checklist and that maybe the upshot of “The Vagina Monologues” for guys is when they realize this thing has very little to do with them, and they find that scary.  Especially when we’re talking about the territory that most guys essentially spend their whole lives obsessing over, the fear turns to aggression, and hence, “The Penis Monologues.”  Come on.  Let’s be honest: penises don’t have much to say.   They’re either sleeping or rabid.

 

Having settled on that, I determined that, if every moment didn’t ring true or sound hysterically funny to my ears, it was really okay, because maybe this was something to which I didn’t need to be entirely privy.  I was able to enjoy it for its own sake without being threatened by its politics.  And I hope I speak for the rest of the guys out there when I say that, in spite of whatever trepidation there is toward interactive theater based on the clit, we want to keep women safe, and “The Vagina Monologues” reminds us that we can’t always do that.  Maybe that’s what makes it a scary prospect for the man’s men out there.  And who knows?  Maybe there were men who walked out of there with a renewed understanding of – and interest in – their partner’s lady parts.  By intermission, I was perfectly okay with the fact that this show probably wasn’t going to “reach out” to me.

 

And then, I found the chocolate vaginas. 

 

The Chocolate Vagina.

The Chocolate Vagina.

 

 

 

 

I haven’t yet posted any of my many thoughts on food.  They’re coming soon.  But I’ll preface those future discussions with a sugary factoid: I love candy.  Candy and cereal are two of the fastest, surest ways to my heart, two stalwart holdovers from my childhood.  I love a healthy, vegetable soup or even those fake meat burgers from Morningstar Farms.  But candy?  No resistance.   I fold like a poker player riding on twos and threes. 

 

So there we are at intermission, and I visit the “Take Back The Night” table to discover chocolate vaginas.  On sticks, no less.  Tied with ribbon.   Far, far cooler than even the most obscure candies (see caramel M&Ms, crunchy Reese’s circa 1980, Mallo Cups, Squirrel Nut Zippers).  Needless to say, this (*ahem*) tongue-in-cheek bit of fun took the night to an entirely new place for me.  I love showmanship, and cool souvenirs fall squarely into that category.  I also love when something that takes itself seriously – and should – can also step back and give you a wink at just the right moment. 

 

And since we got home, I’m still turning it over in my head: who in the hell is responsible for creating THAT candy mold? 

Witness a piece of hot plastic.  But this is no ordinary plastic.  Soon, it will take on a life of its own as it is shaped into something so wondrous, so delectable, that it could only be found…

 

 

 

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~ by thismarriedguy on March 10, 2009.

One Response to “Give me a C…! Give me a U…!”

  1. Absolutely, 100% brilliant. I loved reading this! You honestly know how to take the words right out of my head sometimes.

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