Fingered and Smeared

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Why is a throat culture a culture and a Pap smear a smear?

IMG_7857Forgive me, Doctor, for I have sinned. It’s been six years since my last physical. It’s not that I didn’t want to go, it’s just that I am doctor’s daughter, and I learned at a young age that if my head was still attached to my neck by at least one singular strand of tissue, I was absolutely fine and in no need of medical care. Don’t judge. I’m trying.

I called my internist after my six-year hiatus to schedule an appointment. I like her because she does the whole shebang, physical, Pap, boob job, the whole enchilada. Except, come to find out, that six years later, she doesn’t.

Because I see a doctor who is part of an enormous medical group of internists and specialists who work on a huge campus, I was able to choose another doctor who did it all and who happened to be available when I was. Did I ask for recommendations or search for reviews? No. I just wanted someone, anyone, who could look under the hood and send me on my way.

Dr. K greeted me with pleasantly forced smile on her pinched face and a light handshake. She was probably five to ten years my junior and a few inches taller. Under her doctor’s coat, she wore a form-fitting red dress cut above her knees that accentuated her exceptionally ample and gravitationally defiant rack. Imagine Benny Hill’s head on Joan Harris’s body.

Benny Hill

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Now, while I live in a very diverse town, the medical group on this enormous campus is elsewhere and pulls from many other less diverse towns. So, I was sadly not at all surprised when I handed my new doctor my new patient form and we had the following exchange as she entered my details in the computer:

Doctor K: Married?

Me: Yes.

Doctor K: Two children?

Me: Yes, two.

Doctor K:  Did you intentionally check homosexual on the form?

Me: (Here we go.) Yes.

Doctor K:  And you’re married?

Me: Yes.

Doctor K: So, then you’re married…to a woman?

What I wanted to say: And you graduated from medical school?!?

Me: That would be correct.

Doctor K: Ok. I’m just making sure.

What she wanted to say: Don’t blame me for making a completely normal assumption that you were straight, and also…ew.

What I wanted to say: And you “make sure” with all your new patients that they intentionally selected “heterosexual” and “married?”

Me: It’s fine.

But it wasn’t fine, because I spent the rest of the exam wondering if she thought I made the appointment just to get some action.

Doctor K: Any problems with your breasts?

What I wanted to say: Only that I can never find a good bra. That is clearly not an issue for you, and I’d love for you tell me where you get yours.

Me: No problems.

Doctor K: Now, people like you have the option to do an STD screening. Do you want it?

What I wanted to say: What the fuck do you mean, “people like you?!?” Parents? Jews? Women with such pretty vaginas?

Me: Uh, I’ll pass.

Doctor K: Move down a little further on the table and place your feet in the stirrups. And two fingers…

What I wanted to say: Are you sure there are two up there? Not much girth to those girls, is there?

What I did say was nothing and walked out vowing to find myself a new doctor.

IMG_7858A lovely art installation caught my eye on the way out of the complex. Seemed an appropriate representation of my visit.

 

 

 

 

 

Muddied Dreams

Last night, I had a dream in two parts. In both parts, I was driving our mini-van. In Part I, the car is out of control, and I am heading over the side of the road and into a large body of water only to turn at the last minute and narrowly save myself and my family from a soggy demise.

In Part II, directly following Part I with little appreciation for scene transitions or bridges or flow, only Gabriella and I are in the mini-van. Always the mini-van. I’m driving along when I realize I’ve driven us into some sort of parade or march, the purpose unclear. The participants were happy enough, festive even. It was more of a circus vibe – people in fancy dress prancing – celebrating as opposed to protesting. The minivan did not belong there, but there was no way out.  We had no choice but to drive along the same route as the performers or clowns or Radical Faeries or whatever they were.

I drove us along hoping that we’d be able to find a side street only to come to another body of water, well mud really that was unavoidable. Don’t ask why I couldn’t have pulled over or anything practical like that. My subconscious clearly had a script that my conscious mind did not. I drove our mini-van right into the mud hole knowing that it would get stuck and that we’d have to leave the car in whatever kind of pit it was that was swallowing it whole.

By the time we got out of the mini-van, the mini-van had morphed into an enormous hippopotamus, and it was happy as could be in its mud bath. Even though the Ring Master or Grand Marshall or whoever was irritated that we had abandoned our hippo-car teat-deep in mud, we were happy to have left that mess behind.

hippo

I’ve always subscribed to the thinking that the subject matter of a dream is not as important as how you feel when you wake up after that dream.  So, if you dream you kill your father with a pickaxe, but some how you wake up with a smile on your face, your dream most likely had nothing to do with killing your father – unless you have murderous feelings towards your father in which case you may have some stuff to work out.

When I woke up, I felt fine, neither disturbed nor relieved. I searched for dream sites that could translate the seemingly symbolic scenes. Mud represents mixed feelings about unclear situations that require patience and practical thinking. Dreaming that I am driving means that I am literally in the driver’s seat of my life. Water symbolizes a variety of things, but in this case, I’m most likely avoiding emotional upheaval. Apparently, a hippopotamus represents aggressive nature and hidden strength.

So, it made sense that I was not afraid or freaked out when woke up because apparently, I’m in control of my own destiny. While there may be uncertainties along the way, I seem to be moving in the right direction.

But now after having really considered all the various elements of the dream and my feelings about driving and mud and hippopotamuses (or hippopotami) I am sure of one very significant truism.

I spend way too much time in my mini-van.

First lesbian penguins in Ireland

Missy and Penelope courting

Gay boy penguins are more common than lesbian girl penguins. That is not to say that gay penguins are banal and mundane as the word common would imply, though if the shoe fits, etc.

Amongst male and female penguins, we don’t see the clear gender distinctions in

PHOTO CREDIT: GROSSMONT

PHOTO CREDIT: GROSSMONT

fabulousness that we do between other animals like the peacock and a peahen, for example. Males and female penguins look alike, which is likely a penguist thing of me to say. They probably look very different to each other. Point being, we cannot assume that it is gorgeous plumage or colorful disco bum that attracts males penguins to male penguins. But it does beg the question, why are there more gay penguins than lesbian penguins? Come on, girls! Invisibility is so Y1K.

 

Missy and Penelope courting

PHOTO CREDIT: IRISH EXAMINER

In an effort to take the bird by the bill, Missy and Penelope are waving the lesbian penguin flag. Lesguin? Pengubian? We need a catchier word because lesbian penguin is such a mouthful. Say it with me now…that’s what she said.

Kate Hall, head penguin keeper at Dingle Oceanworld in Ireland has reported the first known lesbian penguins at the aquarium. Six-year-old Missy and her sugar mama, seven-year-old Penelope, have been caught “exhibiting courting behaviour (as opposed to behavior without the u because when in Rome – or Ireland – etc.).

Surprisingly enough, courting behaviour between lesbian penguins has nothing to do with presenting your fish. Huh.

“The thing penguins do to show they like each other is they bow to each other and they are doing that,” says Hall. “When they come into breeding season, they do it to the penguin of their choice and it reinforces the bond between them.”

Surprisingly enough, when the lesbian suitor penguin bows down to the her suitee, the object of her affection does not respond with a series of vocalizations that mean, “While you’re down there…” Huh.

When you visit the Dingle Oceanworld website, you can read about all the penguins residing there. Missy is a “a fun loving girl, confident and brave” while Penelope “is a bit shy but absolutely loves swimming, preening, and keeping herself looking clean and beautiful.” No anthropomorphism going on there. Whatever their personality traits, the match seems to be a good one, probably because neither one of them hooked up with that tart, Pip who is “always in the thick of action and full of mischief.”

We certainly hope that their union is strong enough to withstand the challenges of long-term relationships. Central Park Zoo’s male penguins Roy and Silo parted after six years together when Silo took up with some crack whore named Scrappy, an interloper from SeaWorld. Roy and Silo’s daughter Tango has been with Tazuni, another lady penguin, for two breeding seasons, however. You go, Girls!

As for Missy and Penelope O’Penguin, I wish you all the best. Keep bowing down low and watch out for that Pip. Don’t let her give you her fish. She’ll probably give you crabs.

The Feng Shui of a cluttered box

My box is so cluttered. If a Feng Shui master were to assess my box, that master would most likely tell me that all the clutter is draining my energy, the energy in my box, my digital box. My digital energy is leaking, leaking from my box. I have a leaky digital box, and it is taking a toll of my actual life. My email inbox overfloweth.

My first personal email address was a Hotmail account in the 90s. I get very little mail there bar the occasional message from a select group of people for whom old habits die hard. I forgive them because I love them, but it is a constant reminder that I was on email when Hotmail was the only game in town – around the same time that I the Nokia 9000 was just as hot as Hotmail. Not. Notmail.

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Since setting up that address, I’ve opened up two Gmail accounts (because the first email handle just didn’t seem to present well on a resume), a North Jersey Pride account, my VillageQ email account, my Listen To Your Mother account, my Peaches & Coconuts account, a me.com account assigned to me in order to access iCloud, and a Yahoo account I used for a Yahoo group I joined once upon a Yahoo group era.

Apparently, email accounts are like handbags. I have an email account for every occasion and an account to match every hat that I wear. But, do I have more bags than I need? Do I know what’s in all my bags or will I find that organic beeswax, jojoba oil, lavender infused lip balm that I bought last year in the bag I haven’t used since May along with that Metro card with $30 on it that I know is somewhere? Maybe it’s not that I have too many email accounts but too many emails. I tend to hold on to more than I should. I do not have the reflexes I once had in Y1K to respond, file and delete at fast pace. Then again, I didn’t wear as many hats.

Caps for Sale

Caps for Sale

It’s been a year of YES. I took on more preschool hours and more extra curriculars. I am spread thin as my thighs spreads wide (and sadly not in a sexual way). I’m spending more time in front of the computer and eating mindlessly while I write, email, spreadsheet, schedule. Tonight’s menu includes a pairing of blog writing and chile & lime chips.

I’ve hit capacity. My leaky inbox can take no more, and I surrender to the limits of my abilities and my waistband. It’s time to filter, to focus, to cull, to let go.

Bridge and tunnel day

If the measure of a good day in the city were the number of bridges and tunnels one uses to take full advantage of each borough’s offerings, we would have scored quite highly this weekend. We missed out on perfect marks for skipping the Bronx.

In one outing, we found ourselves navigating the Holland Tunnel, the Williamsburg Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge (gazuntite), and the Manhattan Bridge on our tour of the boroughs.

We would eventually end up in Brooklyn hanging out with a college friend and her family, but we decided to build in some stops along the way. After all, it was sunny and warm, and we had hit our fire-in-the-fireplace quota for the season.

Stop 1. The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. It’s an odd thing to sexualize a shop that is not a sex shop. What makes a shop gay? Are all the employees gay? When a patron orders 2 scoops, can they only serve same-flavored scoops? Sure, there is a unicorn painted on the wall, and there are campy ice cream flavors like the Bea Arthur ice cream and the Salty Pimp, but maybe they could do with piping in some Big Gay show tunes or build on a Big Gay Backroom for some Big Gay Fun. I’m all for supporting the gays, and I’m pleased they’re representing our people in a positive way, but I was hoping for a bit more gay. The boys were happy enough with their ice cream, but much as we tried to use this stop as an opportunity to celebrate our Big Gay Family, they couldn’t care less what the name of the shop was.

0528_01 Big Gay Ice Cream menu

Stop 2. Russo Bakery in Maspeth, Queens to pick up some bread for dinner. This was Gabriella’s family’s bakery growing up, and she shared with me some memories of those days. “Apparently,” Gabriella informed me after we bought our semolina bread, “Russo bakery was involved in laundering money for the international Pizza Connection gang in the mid 80s. The Joseph Bonanno organized-crime syndicate had been smuggling about 330 pounds of heroin a year inside tomato cans.” Gabriella went on to tell me that this had nothing to do with her schoolmate Lenny’s uncle who was shot in a coffee shop around the same time. Lenny dated her cousin Rosalie (Little Ro, not Big Ro), but that didn’t end so well. She was also unclear if one of that other restaurant owner that was found in dead in a trunk was a part of the Pizza Connection, as well.

Suffice it to say that growing up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, there were few stories about money laundering or men in trunks. That’s not to say that there weren’t shady people and untoward behavior, but gossip usually revolved around plastic surgery and whether or not there was a tennis skirt worn so short at the local grocery store that there was a pube spotting.

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Stop 3. Brooklyn for dinner. Gabriella is blessed with amazing parking karma. I wish I could calculate all the money we’ve saved (and then immediately spent) on parking garages after my Gabriella has found street parking. In New York City. In the mini-van. My wife knows how to cram herself into tight places, that’s for sure! If you think that I’m alluding to anything sexual, you’d be misguided as there is nothing tight left after 2 births. I did, however, become markedly aroused after she maneuvered the mini-van into this spot without so much as brushing the other cars. I had to snap a shot. I’m a proud wife.

Magic parking

I’m also a proud wife watching Gabriella cook with my friend while her husband and I took our place on the other side of the kitchen island. It’s only right that the Korean and the Italian should take responsibility for dinner. When Ashkenazi Jews claim p’tcha as a delicacy, it becomes clear that we are not to be trusted preparing food. Ew.

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Uranus

We said good-bye to our friends, our primo parking spot and the boroughs as we drove through the Holland Tunnel once more. The boys were wired from a great night and entertained us with their knowledge of the solar system. Asher is obsessed with Uranus. Did you know that there is a ball of gas inside Uranus? Me, neither. Good times.

Back burner anniversary

SmoochesWe celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary this past Monday on the 3rd, celebrate meaning did nothing except yell, “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!” on my way out the door to work. Gabriella would be staying home from work having contracted a cold… or syphilis. It’s hard to say without the benefit of an official diagnosis. Alls I know is that she hadn’t been feeling well and decided to recuperate at home.

During the few hours spent with the small children in my preschool class, her cold … or syphilis…hatched from incubation, and in a short period of time, I felt like ass. Somewhere between the gluing and the painting and the singing, I got sick. My eye seared beneath my bloated lids. My nasal passages pulled a Chris Christie BridgeGate and blocked the air from finding open passage to punish me for not taking better care of myself. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

“Gabriella?!?” I yelled upstairs when I got home from work. A pot of chicken soup simmered on the stovetop. Even when she’s sick, she cooks. I would enjoy the fruits of her labor – or the stock of her broth. Does that sound dirty? Stock of her broth? Just me?

She made her way downstairs, her hair wet from a recent shower dressed in comfy sweats. “I just want to thank you for giving me your cold for our anniversary,” I said. “Here,” she replied. “I got you some sheets of 2-ply tissue, too,” handing me the tissue from her hand. “Aw, that’s so thoughtful of you.” “I made you soup,” she added. “No,” I said, “you made YOU soup. But, I’m really happy that you did.”

We held each other only briefly having soup to eat and noses to blow.

We’ve been wed for 13 years. Lucky #13. Not feeling particularly lucky this year. Lucky for the life we’ve designed together, sure. Lucky to have each other, absolutely. But as we held each other, we both remembered more celebratory years. We remembered extravagant dinners and fantastic trips. We remembered sending lavish flower arrangements to each other’s offices, carefully designed with favorite flowers.

It’s not about the things or the money spent but the time we took to plan and the time we took to honor each other and this relationship of ours.  Our anniversary was sacred.

The excuses are endless. Funds are low. Kids are our priority. The snow. There has been no respite from the bitter cold and snow this winter. We also suffer from a bit of wedding fatigue. It was only a few months ago that we wed in New Jersey, the 4th ceremony celebrating our union. Genug already, as my people say. That’s enough already to those Yiddishly challenged.

We held each other and pinky promised a do-over. We understand how important it is to make time for ourselves and to nurture this relationship of ours. But man, we’re tired. And, if anyone’s going to Costco, we could use 683 boxes of tissue.

Happy Anniversary to my lady-friend, partner, baby-mommy and wife. I love you in sickness and in health, but I sure do prefer the healthy parts.

First time up the bum for art’s sake

PHOTO CREDIT: ANORAK
PHOTO CREDIT: MELTY CAMPUS

PHOTO CREDIT: MELTY CAMPUS

Just how artful will it be when 19-year-old Clayton Pettet loses his virginity with another man, live, in front of an audience at The Orange Dot in London on April 2nd at his one-off performance of Art School Stole My Virginity.

Clayton studies fine art at Central Saint Martin where he has remained a virgin amidst sexually active peers. As far as I can tell from all the press, this event is not connected to any class that he is taking. No professors will be judging his performance. Can you imagine receiving a grade? How artful was your first time?

At the age of 19, Clayton is of age to do just about anything he likes that is legal and consensual. He could choose to live amongst gorillas in Rwanda, or he could become a Moonie in the Unification Church, or he could star in an adult film. This kid wants to get it on for the first time in front of a lot of people in the name of art and exploration of virginity. I actually don’t think it’s that newsworthy.

As a mother, however, I couldn’t help consider how I would feel if one of our kids decided to do the same thing.

These days, everything is fodder for YouTube. We have become the directors and producers and stars of our own Truman Shows. Mostly, we find all the videos entertaining and harmless. We can’t get enough of the flash mobs and surprise proposals and recordings of our teenaged kids right after they’ve had their wisdom teeth removed and they’re still a little stoned. But what of something so intimate and personal and potentially emotional as having sex for the first time?

Clayton admits that the subject of virginity has been a very sensitive topic for him. So, why would he risk playing something out for the first time in front of hundreds of spectators that could potentially be emotionally painful? Imagine opening yourself up like that… It may be physically painful, too. And what of the man friend? Will he be losing his virginity, too? Was there a casting couch for his role as sex partner? We don’t know. We also don’t know whether there will be dimmed lights or Beyoncé or tubes of pjur BACK DOOR. Will they get in the mood first over a couple of cocktails or is this more like lose-your-virginity-in-a-dark-back-room-with-an-anonymous-sex-partner kind of virginity losing? We are woefully uninformed.

Why not nanny-cam his first time at bat? He’d have the benefit of the first look not to mention the option to keep it private should he decide that he wants his experience to remain private in the end – especially if it’s in the end.

According to an interview with Dazed Digital, his parents are aware of his up-coming show and “are fine with it.” I wonder what “fine with it” means. Does it mean “We love you no matter what foolish things you do” kind of fine with it or does it mean, “Here are some poppers, Son. Knock yourself out!” kind of fine with it?

Maybe someone should tell his parents that the prefrontal cortex in our brains is not completely developed until the age of 25. Teenagers and young adults cannot help but make stupid, impetuous decisions because they’re not working with a fully formed brain! You didn’t have to select the link, did you? You were there once. You know.

In addition to being impulsive and unable to organize behavior, young adults behave more dangerously when they have an audience. Dr. Sandra Aamodt, co-author of the book Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College, told Tony Cox of NPR that “a 20-year-old is 50% more likely to do something risky if two friends are watching than if he’s alone.” Think of the acrobatics Clayton may perform in front of hundreds! No, don’t. I think I just pulled something imagining it. Point is, there’s no unvirginizing himself. On the other hand, at least no one will ask him with whom he had to sleep to get his first art show.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be locking the boys in the attic until they’re 25.

Still spinning from The LEGO® Movie

Flashback. Disney. 2011.

It was a rainy day in Orlando, we took the boys to DisneyQuest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park where we figured we’d all lose ourselves in the futuristic, Jetsonian fantasy playground. We would spend the day gaming in a virtual world for the fee of 180 non-virtual dollars. Two minutes flying around Agrabah on Aladdin’s magic carpet ride, I had to rip off the 3D glasses, and find a bench to sit on in the real world where I could take deep breaths, close my eyes and will the room to stop spinning. I was not quite right for about 2 hours.

Flash forward to last week. Movie theater. Gravity.

Spoiler alert, Sandra Bullock spends a considerable amount of time in space. Her legs are also…out of this world.

PHOTO CREDIT: GOT CELEB

PHOTO CREDIT: GOT CELEB

Early on in the film, Sandra is attached to an arm-like beam of a spacecraft as it is sent spinning around in super fast circles. When she finally detaches herself from the arm beam, she somersaults for what feels like 10 minutes but was probably about 20 seconds, and we’re spinning with her in an all-too-real 3D experience, and I want to shout, “UNCLE!!  STOP IT! LEMME DOWN!!”

Remember that game, airplane? That’s the game where someone held on to your hand and your ankle and spun you around while you laughed and screamed and almost cried? I could vomit just thinking about it. Sandra is spinning, and I want it to stop. The rest of the film was less dizzying, but I never quite recuperated.

At the end of the movie, I took off my 3D glasses and swayed towards the aisle. I had space-legs, which I just made up, but I’m going to assume is a thing. My head was heavy and swirly as if I had something akin to a wine headache.

I would not learn.

Flash forward to present day.

The boys wanted to see The LEGO® Movie and they wanted to see it in 3D. And so we did because we are good parents, good parents who may have neglected to plan anything else for this Saturday.

PHOTO CREDIT: DEBORAH GOLDSTEIN

PHOTO CREDIT: DEBORAH GOLDSTEIN

When the movie started, I was fully prepared to spend 100 minutes NOT watching. I would consider my To Do list or even close my eyes for a wee nap if only to avoid the 3D experience.

But I was drawn in.

A LEGO® man named Emmet (Hebrew for truth, by the way) becomes an unintentional hero once he is identified as the “Special,” the one who will save the LEGO® world from destruction. Emmet learns to value independence and thinking outside of the box. He saves the day when he is able to mobilize other independent, out-of-box thinkers to work as a team. And then there’s some sweet father/son stuff thrown in for good measure, some cute gags and a Tegan & Sara song that is permanently embedded in my brain.

After the movie, I asked Asher, “What was the message of the movie?”

“To believe in yourself,” he answered, “because everyone is special.”

He was correct – about the message – not necessarily about its truth. It could be that everyone has an inflated sense and will never come to terms with how unspecial they are because of movies like this.

Sometimes, you believe you’re special when you perform well on your standardized tests and when you get a good job through connections you made at your name-brand school. But in actuality, you’re simply good enough to work for someone else who is far more special than you. Not everyone is special. Some people are douchebags. Also, some of my happiest memories occurred inside the box… But for the purposes of lifting our children up and convincing them they can walk on water if they just believe, the message was sweet.

PHOTO CREDIT: RETRONAUT

PHOTO CREDIT: RETRONAUT

Flashback. I’m on the Rotor Ride at the amusement park for the 3rd time in a row. It will be my last time not because I am feeling the nauseating effects of centrifugal force but because the initial pleasurable sensation of the jeans riding up my crotch when the floor drops out from beneath me is now starting to become an irritation.  This is my favorite ride at the amusement park  (because of the sensation of floating as opposed to the camel toe). Now, I whimper at the thought of it (because of the spinning as opposed to the camel toe).

Flash forward to the present.

7 hours later, the world is still swaying. That song is still repeating. And I want to see that movie all over again – in 2D.

If only American Apparel were MORE cutting edge

Just when you thought I had fulfilled my vag quota of the month with The Great Wall of Vagina, American Apparel went and pulled this stunt.

PHOTO CREDIT: SWAGGER NEW YORK

PHOTO CREDIT: SWAGGER NEW YORK

Mannequins with pubes – thick, uncontained, woolly pubes. Well I can’t stay silent, can I? You’d want to know what my thoughts are on the subject, wouldn’t you?

Everyone has a special interest, after all. There are those who could spend all day talking about sports, for example. Why, we’re coming up on that big American football game that has everyone all a flutter. There has been quite a din surrounding it. There hasn’t been quite as much conversation about CTE, chronic traumatic encephalophathy, suffered by professional football players as well as hockey players and wrestlers as discussed in Frontline’s documentary A League of Denial, but there is plenty of conversation about who is going to win this big game. And when we add the rumors about who may be appearing in the big halftime show, well I say,  “Brain injuries, shmain shminjuries!” But sports aren’t my bag.

Me? Well, I’d rather talk about something that I know more about, something that’s below the belt, and I don’t mean untoward. Salacious, occasionally but not uncomely. I’d hope often comely actually.

Back to American Apparel and bushy muffs.

A reporter from The Huffington Post spoke to an associate at the store, who said that the mannequins went up at 3am on Thursday morning and were meant to convey the “rawness and realness of sexuality.” They’re aimed at drumming up sales around Valentine’s Day.

Clearly, the campaign succeeded in meeting its goal – to attract attention in the streets and in the media. Well done, American Apparel. Will that attention lead to more sales? I suppose if the store is top of mind, more shoppers will consider a visit. And if an afro bursting out of the sides of granny pants is supposed to make us think about buying something special for our valentines, then revenue will surely increase.  Still, I wonder why they associated the rawness and realness of sexuality with 1970s grooming and underwear that reminds me of those disposable, mesh panties I wore after giving birth.

PHOTO CREDIT: AMERICAN APPAREL

PHOTO CREDIT: AMERICAN APPAREL

In 2011, American Apparel ran this Peek-a-Pube ad. Aside from the fact that the model is uncomfortably young, for a middle-aged mom like me to be ogling, at least she is an attractive girl wearing fashionable panties striking a pose that suggests she might be interested in some intimate  attention.

As a potential buyer, of the lingerie that is, I’d much rather associate my raw sexuality with this live model and her groomed bits and lacy panties than the synthetic version with unfashionable thigh high hosiery, granny pants and recycled spectacles meant to be shipped to poor, developing nations.

When I used to work at a hip, young, irreverent media company, we handled complaints from parents about crossed lines with, “Well, you are not our intended demographic. If you don’t understand or if you are offended by our message, we have clearly done our job.” It’s highly possible that I am too old to understand American Apparel’s take on raw sexuality, and therefore, they may be the winners. But did they really appeal to a younger demographic that may consider this approach to be cutting edge? I personally wish they had been more cutting edge – as in cut the edge around those muffs! But that’s just one older lady’s view of lady bits.

If you’re planning to gift lingerie on Valentine’s Day, where will you be shopping?

The Great Wall of Vagina Is In Fact Great

PHOTO CREDIT: JAMIE MCCARTNEY

PHOTO CREDIT: JAMIE MCCARTNEY

Have you seen the one about The Great Wall of Vagina? British sculptor Jamie McCartney poured plaster over 400 vaginas and displayed the plaster casts over ten panels to create The Great Wall of Vagina.

I am a fan!

I am a fan not because I love vaginas, even though I do, and not because the vaginas are scratch & sniff, because they are not. I am a fan because this piece is thought provoking and empowering and beautiful.

Jamie spent 5 years creating plaster casts of women’s lady bits. He included vaginas in their 20s and vaginas in their 70s, mother and daughter vaginas, pierced vaginas and post-op transgendered vaginas and even labiaplastied vaginas.

PHOTO CREDIT: JAMIE MCCARTNEY

PHOTO CREDIT: JAMIE MCCARTNEY

I tried to pick out the labiaplastified vaginas, but I soon realized that I have no idea what I was looking for.  The supposedly perfect vagina is not like the supposedly perfect set of boobs.

I get boob jobs. I mean, I don’t GET boob jobs. Mine are clearly natural – low set and low hanging like ripe mangoes in the Caribbean in July. I mean to say that I understand the desire to get a boob job. Boobs are external and visible. They stick out … or slope downwards. In ancient times, big boobs were a sign of health and fertility because they were associated with the ability to provide milk for babies. Today, large, gravitationally impossible boobs represent the ultimate in femininity and sexuality, and now YOU can look like a fertility goddess with a bit of surgery.

PHOTO CREDIT: WIKIMEDIA.ORG

PHOTO CREDIT: WIKIMEDIA.ORG

Boob jobs aren’t always about augmentation. Some want smaller boobs to ameliorate back pain or to eliminate the ability to store pencils and protein bars under pendulous bosoms. I get that, too.

But labiaplasty for aesthetic reasons? Why? What are perfect vaginas SUPPOSED to look like?  Come to think of it, what does my vagina look like??

I stared at the rows of vaginas for a good while trying to figure out which looked most like my own and came to the realization that I really don’t know what my splayed self looks like. Looking at all those vulvas, I don’t think I’d be able to finger my own vagina…

I do know, however, that I am not at all bothered by my own folds and flaps or hanging bits. Everything seems absolutely normal to me. Maybe I do have a weird vagina. Or maybe, as this piece suggests, our vaginas are all like snowflakes, individual and special and made to be caught on the tongue. Well, I don’t really think that Jamie meant to say that vaginas should be caught on the tongue, but he did mean to call attention to women’s sensitivities about their parts and the world’s obsession with a twisted view of perfection.

“The world’s gone mad,” he said in an interview. “We’re so focused on the physical instead of the person. You have a relationship with a person – it’s not just with their body, it’s with the whole of the person.” His pun was not intended. It was…hole-istic. Brilliant.