Public thoughts on private parts.

April 26, 2011

I recently spent an evening in the company of female pink parts. Believe me, it wasn’t nearly as much fun as it sounds.

The occasion was a performance of The Vagina Monologues at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House. I’d heard of Eve Ensler’s play, of course, and – based on its rather blunt title –had a fairly good idea that the performance would feature women talking about their, um, netherlands.

The lobby was full when Viking Woman and I arrived. A quick head count revealed that I was one of about 15 men in attendance. I imagine my body English mirrored theirs: sticking close to our personal beloveds lest someone have the notion we’d shown up of our own accord, thinking here was an opportunity to cruise the cultural equivalent of Ladies Night at the local.

I’ve learned to keep my expression neutral at such events, both before and during the performance. A sour puss masks the inner uncouth bore. A visage that appears too nervous or apprehensive is an obvious target for ridicule, oftentimes from the stage itself.

Despite my best efforts to appear calm and relaxed and eager to be entertained – and looking not the least bit worried at the prospect of being exposed to the private thoughts of women that no man should ever be privy to – the drag queen who provided the pre-show entertainment still decided to lean on my shoulder while he/she/it performed a high kick.

More than a dozen other males in the room and I’m the one singled out? All that time spent practising my neutral expression was obviously a wasted effort.

The play itself was, uh, interesting. I smiled at the funny bits; I frowned at the sad bits. I openly winced at the frank, naughty bits. I felt myself squirming in my seat during nearly every bit.

I felt like an interloper. That I’d somehow taken a wrong turn on the street and wandered, unaware, into the ladies’ room.

Men, procreators that we are, seem to be always rabbiting on about their equipment in some context or another. I’m not fond of that sort of idiot-speak, and only contribute if I can fire a zinger into the mix and belittle, as it were, some blowhard.

But to hear women talk so casually about a part of their body they practically have to be a contortionist to see was . . . I want to say embarrassing. It was certainly disconcerting to hear women chat so frankly about their secret place. If the idea was to demystify the Holy Grail of womanhood, then Ensler has hit the motherlode.

I felt uncomfortable and maybe that was the whole point of the exercise. Or maybe it says something about my personal attitude about women and their reproduction organs in general.

For one night, at least, I understood that women really can roar. I’m not sure I enjoyed the message, but I definitely heard it. Loud and clear.

As far as Viking Woman is concerned, having now crossed both Puppetry of the Penis and The Vagina Monologues off her genital agenda, all she needs is to see a performance of Busting Out and her anatomy lesson will be complete.


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