We’ve had a fall out, my vagina and I. Edging closer to 40, she has turned temperamental, refusing to cooperate, leaving me high and dry. Attempts to cajole her to do her job have been in vain. Watching Michael Fassbender nude hasn’t helped. Neither has the erotic story of a one-night stand in a bakery kitchen. The three-pronged shoulder massager that usually creates fireworks hasn’t helped. I play Cardi B’s “WAP” and ask her, “Why can’t that be you so I can sing ‘Bring a bucket and a mop…’.”
I drink kombucha and kefir to rejuvenate her. She revolts when I put her through a round of kegels every day. “You’ll thank me – trust me! We need this,” I tell her. She grumbles back with a queef. We listen to the erotica audiobooks at bedtime. The descriptive tales of steamy fantasies of affairs and unabashed demands in bed turn my imagination on but nothing happens downstairs. I take her to the doctor and describe our ‘problem’. She does an examination using our arch nemesis, the duck-shaped speculum.
I wait with bated breath for her to go “Aha!” and pull out some bizarre obstruction. But after removing the duck, she takes her gloves off and tells me that everything looks fine, but she is going to order some tests. Seeing my crestfallen face, she scribbles a prescription for a special cream. “It will help the vagina relax.” Later when I use it, my vagina scoffs at me, “Ha! You think it’s going to be that easy? ”
We are short-changed even in the realm of bodily pleasures.
At the pharmacy, I see all kinds of “mood helpers” and stimulants. For men. There are capsules to help them “get it up”, syrups that promise stamina, delay creams that will keep them going on and on. A few tubes of lubricant are stacked to help women. This makes me angry. Correction – makes us angry. We are short-changed even in the realm of bodily pleasures. “So unfair, no,” I tell her. She agrees with me and adds with her typical flair for drama, “We are more complex, after all.”
I take her out on dates, just us, to show her that I care and all this isn’t just a ruse to make her all mushy. I reminisce about the good ole days when all it took was a kiss on the neck in a dark nightclub or watching mediocre soft porn to get her going. She is amused but does not change her stance. The rest of my organs enviously wonder why she gets all the attention.
The test results come out clear and the doctor tells me in a somewhat confused tone, “It looks more like a mental issue than physical. Give it time, else try counselling?” I thank her and hang up. My vagina is clearly going through something. On the verge of internal combustion, I curse the gods for giving her a mind of her own. I yell at her like Noah from The Notebook, “What do YOU want? WHAT DO YOU WANT?” She remains quiet like a sage in a trance, and this infuriates me further. “Why can’t you be more amiable like your sister, clitoris? She’s dependable and easy,” I remark. But only cold silence greets me.
My vagina is clearly going through something.
We don’t talk for days. I let her be and focus on work, yoga, eating better. In the evenings, I drink wine and watch classic movies like Gone With the Wind and Sabrina. When I can’t sleep, I stay up and re-write scenes, adding my own pizzazz to them. I write a lot; the words flow into pages in notebooks and phone notes. There is little thinking as my hands behave like a conduit to a realm made unknowingly by me. I am amazed. “Damn girl!”, I say to myself when I read a short that I wrote, filled with many perfect sentences.
I strip in front of the mirror and the stretch marks and blobs of fat around my belly and arms don’t put me off. In the shower, I take time to scrub myself, really touching my skin, feeling each dead cell come off with the loofah in motion. When I look through my planner, I don’t worry about the unfinished tasks but instead, write little notes as a reminder of my awesomeness and growth. I splurge on makeup, buying lipstick, foundation, eyeshadow, fancy face mists. Then I dig out the outfits bought on whims but shelved in dark nooks of my wardrobe for “some other time”. Overdressed, I step out for drinks with friends and elicit a “Wow!”. I am delighted by my confidence and even get a flirty look or two from strangers.
Then out of the blue, she starts talking to me again. “You’re doing well…” It’s like a whisper I would have missed if I hadn’t been paying attention. “Yeah, things have been good. How about you missy?” She doesn’t reply because there’s no need to.
At night, we listen to the story of the one-night stand in the bakery, two people going at it on a table in the kitchen with the scent of flour, cinnamon, and vanilla weighing heavy on them. It has all the ingredients we like – desire, consent, slowness, a sweet and silky crescendo. I feel her moving, stretching for preparation.
We are ready.