Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Irish Vagina

When I was growing up, Irish girls didn't have vaginas, no, they had 'front bottoms'. Well at least that's what it was called in my house. Actually that's not completely true: the whole nether region was referred to as your bum. 'Mammy, my bum is sore' could have meant anything from a bruised buttocks to a urinary tract infection.
It was only in the case of very necessary specific details that you might have to give a more accurate description, whence, you would say something like 'Is it true that when you grow up, babies come out of your front bottom?' The answer was, of course, no, because babies came out from under cabbages, or got delivered by storks when Holy God sent them down. This in turn, supported my belief in miracles given that there were plenty of babies on our road but nobody who grew cabbages and no storks in Ireland.
But enough about where babies come from, let's talk about my front bottom. As we grew up, front bottoms became more popular and I realised that depending upon who you were talking to, the front bottom took on a  whole lexica of it's own. Girls called it fanny, boys called it pussy. Some girls called it their line, some boys would shout 'hey, show's your gee!'
But then there was the science book with the two diagrams on page 153, the number of the page was the same number as my locker down in the changing rooms. It meant I blushed every time I hung up my gaberdine and changed into the pokey black slippers they used to make us wear. That book gave us the facts - your front bottom was called your vagina and that wasn't all, there was actually more to it than just a line, there were bits, things like your clitoris and vulva and other words that would cause a lot of blushing and giggling. I also remember not learning those words or taking any of it in using the logic that it was a) so rude that the examiners would never ask about it in the important exams, and b) it was only about your privates which didn't matter anyway.

Thirty odd years later I'm still not really sure what to call it. I definitely know what it is, what it likes and all the other various vaginal wonders of the world. I've heard it referred to as many things - pookies and pink velvet, twat, twitchet and vadge, cherry, choo-choo, clunge and clit. But much to the disgust and dismay of my feminist friends I have to say that one of my fondest words for the lady temple is Cunt with a capital C. Because Cunt, if you'll pardon the pun, has balls. It's strong, it's alive, it will challenge you. And as Germaine Greer argues 'it's one of the few remaining words in the English Language with the genuine power to shock.'  A shocking cunt. I like that.  I can't imagine that a front bottom would have much luck trying to shock. Cunts come in bold dark purple silk and lace, whereas the front bottom is inextricably linked to white cotton.
It's true that the word cunt can be used to mean other things, for example when the description 'fat bitch' is too mild for a person you despise, you may wish to use the C word. But for now let's just think of it in it's working role as a description for front bottoms.
Of course, one is not limited to a single definition for one's front bottom. There are so many different aspects, uses and perceptions of said organ that I agree one word will never be fitting enough to describe this place of endless beauty and bounty.
I guess it depends on your mood really. Right now, sitting here pretty sexless in the kitchen, looking out at the overcast Saturday sky, its definitely a front bottom kind of day.

No comments: