If you ask my friend N – a lovely woman with an unstoppable drive and unconditional heart – what her first memory of me was, it isn’t exactly what you’d expect. As her editor at the college newspaper, I once stated in an overly-girly fashion that my favorite color was cervix pink. Yeah, you read that correctly – cervix, as in the lower part of my uterus. Rightfully shocked and bewildered by my preference, she questioned how I knew what it looked like and the story goes a little something like this:
During a pap smear in college, as I laid spread uncomfortably in front of the campus gyno and her nurse, my eyes shut in an effort to relax in such a compromising position, I was told to take a deep breath in. As I always do in the presence of a doctor or someone who has my vulnerability in the palm of their hand or strangely close to their face, I listened and breathed slowly and surely, as an icy-silver tool made its way inside. A few moments later, the chipper gyno with far too much blush asked “Would you like to see your cervix?”
I instantly opened my eyes and was blinded by the unflattering flourescent lighting and as I blinked to adjust my vision, the nurse smiled at me and encouraged, “You should look. It is fascinating.” Rather confused by what they were offering me – I had no idea I could see that far into my vagina – I whispered in agreement. Probably having shown hundreds of university women their most private of areas, the gyno pulled out a mirror and instructed me to lean slightly to the right to see. It wasn’t a Charlotte-falling-off-of-her-bed situation, but what I saw such a lovely shade of pink that I can’t describe other than, well what it is: cervix pink.
And it was in that five-minute span, at 19-years-old that my love affair with myself…down there…began.
Sure, I’ve always know my female anatomy since inquiring about the difference between boys and girls as a child, where my mother sweetly showed me a visual diagram that haunted me for years. I remember the first discovery of pubic hair in the bathtub and I’m not sure if I was more surprised or my father was more upset when he was informed I was starting the hell of adolescence at the tender age of 10. I was unsure of what to do with my newfound figure, how to dress it, and how to own it – and as my body has adapted to each fluctuation of size and shape, I’ve had to redesign my wardrobe and my mentality. When I became sexually active, my lady parts (or whatever you’d like to call them) took on a new meaning – a place not to be hidden underneath those fancy thongs my mother despised – but a garden of pleasure. Even if it would be several years before I experienced what true ecstasy feels like with a real man and not a high school quarterback – or should I say jack hammer?
The older I got and the more my look shifted from child to adult – the more in love I fell with being a woman. This love translated into a genuine investment in women’s interests and studies. And while this blog may not illustrate my convictions and clips about women’s rights internationally and stateside, college was spent working toward a minor in sociology of women and writing columns about suffrage and dissing Sarah Palin – among many other things. I had the opportunity to meet Gloria Steinem and help with The Vagina Monologues, as well as the Women’s Leadership Conference, and all of these experiences have shaped my feminist views (more on feminism on Sunday).
While I already had what I thought was a pretty solid, yet liberal, perspective on sex and a woman’s right to be and to sleep with whoever she’d like (and not be labeled things like ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ when her male counterpart is simply applauded for his conquests) – I didn’t start to liberate myself until I moved here.
You see, New York women are a phenomenally fabulous different breed. They don’t make excuses for their numbers (if they know them). They don’t think twice about having a lover for explosive sex, not for making commitments and babies. They celebrate their vaginas in ways a Southerner would see as a luxury – laser treatments, waxing, and specialty products for that region. They buy expensive silk lingerie to wear under a suit, with or without intending on someone ripping their hosiery. They don’t ask permission from their friends or from the heavens to have a damn good orgasm and if they’re with someone who isn’t performing or stimulating, they aren’t afraid to walk away.
They don’t talk about their sexuality because it isn’t something that’s up for negotiation. It is just part of who they are, plain and simple. Their choices in the bedroom (or the elevator or the bathroom of a fancy restaurant) belong to them and they aren’t afraid to talk about it. They treat their bodies and especially their own personal lady, with respect and care, and when a visitor visits them – they ensure they’re the ones in control, exuding independence and power to make a sexually-charged decision.
Sure, I’m stereotyping women based on their address, but generally speaking, mating in New York is just as much a woman’s game as it is a man’s – and to be frank, it’s less of a strategy for women, we tend to hold the cards anyways. And when we decide to play our hand, we play it very well, even if we refuse to put on a poker face because faking just isn’t acceptable anymore. If you continuously have to fake, he has to break – life is too short to have mediocre sex. And truth be told – the man isn’t even the important part – it is your parts – it is impossible to love yourself or to find love if you don’t accept your body, and yes, your vagina, as the beautiful, radiating thing it is.
While I’ll never reveal my own modest number, I will also never be afraid of my confidence and my thankfulness in being a woman. My favorite color may not be cervix pink anymore, but I’ve grown accustomed to treating myself and my possibilities to the pampering we deserve. No budget too small or excuse acceptable.
And so, as I walked toward the flat iron building yesterday, following my second incredible Brazilian wax at Completely Bare, and a bystander called out “Girl, you’re so fine” to me – I couldn’t help but think if he only knew what was underneath this Steve Madden trenchcoat, he’d be speechless.
PS: Check out Completely Bare’s product line. I especially like the Bikini Bump Blaster, the Completely Smooth for Body, and the Model Tan.