I’m going to tell you about this thing that happened to my vagina. And it’s a really gross one. I’ll wait here a second while you put down those yogurt raisins you were eating. Done? They’re back in the snack drawer? Good. Let’s begin.
Just a for-instance, let’s say you’ve been sleeping with the same man for years. Then you two break up. You end up on your own, in the world’s worst $400 a month studio apartment. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s a place so terrible, it has used diapers floating in what was probably a glamorous kidney-shaped pool circa 1962. Let’s add to that mental picture a big hole in your kitchen wall. Where does it lead to? Rat Narnia, that’s where. What you took for soot on the kitchen counter when you moved in is actually an elegant sprinkling of discarded roach legs–one which is renewed nightly. Are the roaches using your countertop for some sort of insect Thunder Dome? Settling their differences roacho e roacho? Who knows? You make weekly trips to the dollar store for bleach and Kleenex, because you are crying and cleaning, cleaning and crying, almost constantly. Actually, you’re too poor for Kleenex. It’s some off-brand facial tissue you’re buying, the kind so grainy you can feel the sawdust in it.
Basically, you’re in a sad place in your life, mentally and geographically.
Hypothetically, let’s say that after having slept with this guy for four years, then had this epic breakup of which the bards will be singing for decades (“Hmmm, what rhymes with ‘cocaine addiction’? I already used ‘science fiction…’”), you’re lonely. You just want to get it over with. Rip off that Band-Aid (you’re also too poor for real Band-Aids, so you cover your cuts with Hurt-Helps™) and just sleep with somebody. Which you do, late one night after bar-time, ending with a resounding not-orgasm and crying as soon as he leaves.
OK, this story is actually about me. It’s not hypothetical at all. Now, here’s a thing you might not know about vaginas in general. They’re not very good at adapting to change. A few days after this unsatisfying sexual encounter, I noticed a funny smell. Not funny ha-ha, either. Funny hoo-ha. Although, at first, I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. Every now and then, I’d get a vague whiff of something off. However, I did live in the world’s most run-down apartments. It was possible that one of my rat helpers had died between my home and Rat Narnia. But then I started noticing it at work. “Do I … stink?” I asked myself. Then I asked a coworker. “Hug me,” I said. “Sniff me real quick and tell me if you smell something funny.”
“Nah, you’re good!” she said. I later realized that she thought this because her nose had been about four inches from my perfume, and about three feet from my puss. However, the smell followed me. After two days, I could no longer deny that it was coming from the general vicinity of my Holiest of Holies. I’d cracked the case. Elementary, my dear Twatson.
I present Exhibit A, if it please the court. (It won’t.)
How can I describe this smell to you? Because yes, I have to describe it. Imagine an orgy, but only zombies are invited. Imagine opening your grandma’s underwear drawer and finding inside not just her frilly, lavender-scented lady things, but a rotting hunk of pot roast that’s been there since the second Reagan administration. Imagine your lovely little lady wallet, rubbed through a Victorian sewer. It was twice as bad as any of these, and I was packing it around in my panties. Yeah, it’s gross. I’ll wait here while you throw those yogurt raisins out the window.
Off to Planned Parenthood I went. Let me tell you, if you think you’ve had a humbling experience? Try filling out standard medical “what’s wrong with you?” forms with several versions of “pussy stank.” I will forever be grateful that none of the professional ladies at Planned Parenthood made a face at the unholy odor emanating from between my thighs. In fact, the nurse who saw me locked the exam room door, asked me what was going on, and hugged it out with me while I sobbed about Rat Narnia and cocaine and the diaper pool and being lonely, so very lonely, all alone with only my Crud Vagina for company.
Hello, I am the worst science stuff ever!
Well, a swab and a some microscope-y science later, and I had my diagnosis. Bacterial Vaginosis. (Hey, bards… that rhymes! Put it down in your Moleskines.) What the lit’rature says about BV is this: “We do not know about the cause of BV or how some women get it. BV is linked to an imbalance of “good” and “harmful” bacteria that are normally found in a woman’s vagina. We do know that having a new sex partner can upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina and put women at increased risk for getting BV.” Fun fact: it creates some of the same bacteria that show up as a body rots. Yes. Corpse Crotch.
So, this is a story about how good and evil battled it out in my cooter in a mysterious fight that not even science fully understands. I left Planned Parenthood with a prescription for antibiotics, instructions not to drink for ten days, and a final hug from the nurse, who also told me “He’s not worth it. Hardly any of them are. You’ll be ok.”
“Yes, you will!” added my vagina.
“Quiet, you,” I said. “You’re the cause of all my problems.”
At this point, I’ve been stink-free, at least in the panty area, for five years. I got a better job, and a better boyfriend, and a ton of breathable cotton underwear. I even moved out of that crappy apartment, although I was a little sad to leave Rat Narnia behind. I’m just sorry I never got the chance to try any of their fabled Turkish Delight.