A blogging group I’m in is suggesting weekly writing prompts, and this week is “a letter to your vagina.” I tried to talk to my vagina, I really did. But we just sat there in awkward silence. Either we’re so in tune with each other that discussion is unnecessary, or our relationship is so damaged that we don’t know where to begin. I suspect it’s the latter.
Women have it worse than men, I’ve always thought. The pains of menses and childbirth. Those three holes down there all next to each other (Really, evolution? That’s the best you could do?). Constant anxiety about what might come out of one’s vagina and what it might suggest about one’s general health.
Before today, it never occurred to me that owning male genitalia might be just as much of a burden. That men might experience a similar anxiety about their own “unknown variable.” No man has ever confessed such to me, although I did date one guy who regarded his own remarkably large penis warily, as if it were a recalcitrant python that might strike either of us at any moment.
This morning I sat my three-year-old on the toilet to pee. He said what he always says:
“I don’t have to pee.”
I replied with what I always say: “Just try.” I glanced over to see that he had what my husband calls a “baby boner,” and if I didn’t intervene, he was gonna wacky water weasel that shit all over the bathroom. “Point it down, honey,” I said, and as he put his hand on there, I went to gather his clothes and shoes. As usual, we were running late. When I returned to the bathroom, he was still sitting there with his hand on his penis, only now he was squeezing it and watching the head pop out grotesquely.
“Euhhh! Jack! Stop touching your pee-pee.”
“I don’t have to pee,” he said again.
“You do, but you can’t pee because you’re pulling on it. Please stop. I need you to pee because we’re late and we have to go!”
I gave him ten more seconds and figured he could pee once we got to day care. I didn’t have time to wait for his baby boner to go down. So he hopped down and I helped him step into his Pull-Up, but I couldn’t pull it up all the way without his penis bulging out, because obviously, HE STILL HAD TO PEE.
“Mama, get it down!”
I hesitated, and then poked at it with one finger. This was the most traumatizing erection I’d ever had the misfortune of witnessing. Previously that distinction went to the one (and thankfully only one) time our dog’s little red penis poked out of its sheath like lipstick out of a tube. I still get the shivers thinking about it. I can’t even use lipstick anymore. Anyway, then I poked Jack’s penis once more to try to tuck it down in the Pull-Up, but it just sprang right back up. I was perplexed. Honestly, I’d never thought about how difficult it might be to get a penis to go down. Up until that point in my life I’d always been charged with the task of making it go the other way.
Jack was starting to freak out. He was doing that hand-flapping thing toddlers and preschoolers do when they get upset. “GET IT DOWN!” he cried. “GET IT DOWN!” Now we were super late and had to go if I had any hopes of getting to work on time.
I managed to tuck the baby boner off to one side and pull Jack’s jeans up. Whew. My vagina and I might not always see eye to—uhh, we might not always get along—but most of the time she keeps to herself, at least.
Let’s give the guys some credit for schlepping around a wholly separate appendage with a will of its own, shall we?