Issue 3: Maintenance

1234V cover Issue 3 WEB

Excerpts from 1234V

Volume 1, Issue 3: Fall 2009

* * *

V-Care DOs and DON’Ts

By Anna Weier

Photos: Kelsey Clifford

One would think that after twenty-eight years in possession of a vagina, I would have the whole thing figured out. A few months ago, I was sitting around the kitchen table with some friends of mine, each of us telling detailed stories of personal vaginal mishaps that had occurred in the recent past. Afterward, I realized that there are many lessons to be learned about vaginas and that over the years, my friends and I had been involved in our fair share.

The story I told on that particular evening was a tale of some stupidity and much pain. I had been chopping hot peppers. And as I chopped those peppers, the oil fro m them covered my hands. Now, when a person puts a finger saturated in pepper oil inside their mouth, or up their nose, or close to their eyes, they often notice an unpleasant burning sensation; this is because the skin inside the mouth and nose are delicate and sensitive. The skin inside a vagina is also delicate and sensitive. So when I inserted multiple fingers saturated in pepper oil into my vagina to remove my keeper, I felt an unpleasant burning sensation. That unpleasant sensation built up into a burning pain. I ran around the house looking for my computer so I could do an internet search to solve this horrible problem. It turns out that I’m not the first person to run into this particular problem, but hopefully I’m the last. There was advice about using yoghurt, or a mix of vinegar and water, and going to the ER. At that point I felt like I might pass out from the pain, but I didn’t know what I would tell paramedics if they came to my house. And the idea of riding my bike to the ER didn’t sound very appealing either. There was no yoghurt in the fridge, so water with a little bit of vinegar was going to have to suffice. I sat on the toilet and poured the vinegar and water solution over my vulva and the burning pain thankfully started to fade. That night I went to bed with an unpleasant burning still in my vagina.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only painful experience that I’ve had with my vagina. Following are some V-Care DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind.

Do and Dont WEB copy

Do: Wash your V regularly.

Don’t: Wash your V using antibacterial soap, especially not Dr. Bronners extremely strong and concentrated peppermint soap. It will make your V tingle in ways you wish it hadn’t. Imagine sitting in a pool of Vick’s VapoRub.

Do: Get to know your V. Spend time looking at it and touching it.

Don’t: Get to know your V or go anywhere near your V with hot-peppery hands (yours or those of a loved one).

Do: Feel comfortable with your V and how you choose to maintain it. There is no right way for your V to look. Embrace the way your V appears and feel free to keep it the way you feel most comfortable.

Don’t: Feel that just because you are comfortable with your V the way it is you shouldn’t trim your pubic hair. Even if you don’t want to wax or shave your pubic hair, feel free to trim it, especially if people going down on you regularly come up pulling pubic hair out of their mouths or spend copious amounts of time spreading your hair before they can get down to business.

Do: Try natural methods of getting rid of yeast infections like yoghurt (so cold and soothing), acidopholous or garlic inserted in your V.

Don’t: Expect anyone to enjoy the smell of your garlicky V, i.e., don’t share a tent in the hot sticky summer with someone while using this natural remedy (sorry, Sarah).

Do: Go cycle touring and protect your vaginal area in any way possible (like padded bike shorts, for example).

Don’t: Be fooled and think that your labia won’t chafe because they will. Bicycle touring anti-chaffing cream is a must. Also, long pubic hair can get matted with sweat and can pull in uncomfortable ways.

Do: Use an alternative to disposable menstrual pads. Reusable pads are great and cut down on waste.

Don’t: Make reusable pads using large bulky snaps or square pieces of Velcro to fasten the pads (Velcro has sharp corners, so if you don’t cut it into circular pieces, it will feel like you have a feral cat in your pants scratching up your legs).

Do: Explore your sexuality and feel free to try new things while having sex.

Don’t: Have sex in water and pump yourself full of water.

Especially Don’t: Have sex in very salty water and pump yourself full of very salty water. It burns. A friend of mine heard a story about a visit to the very salty Dead Sea, where tourists needed to find a popsicle to sooth a V that had been pumped full of salty water.

* * *

Two Fingers In

Jo Snyder

Ever had an asshole full of tea tree oil? No? Oh, then you haven’t had the best/weirdest/worst/most intimately confusing wax of your life.

It all started when I was living in Vancouver. I’d been going to the same hole-in-the-wall hair salon/spa for about six months. Maybe my first red flag should’ve been that it was in a strip mall, but it wasn’t. So, I’m about a month long and I head to ye ‘ol shoppe down the street for my down-there maintenance. Now, I hadn’t exactly been true to one waxer. I’d seen a few different ladies. But that time, I was a repeat customer. And frankly I was happy to see her because I remembered her being swift, clean, neat and tidy, and nearly painless.

I stripped my pants and underwear off and propped myself up on the table, while she looked away, which I always find odd because she’s about ten seconds away from sticking her face in my crotch, getting in there with tweezers and powder, oil, scissors… but she gave me the dignity of looking away while I undressed. I mean I get it, but it’s still funny.

So we’re waxing. I’m talking, cracking some jokes, and apologizing for it being so long since my last visit. My leg is leaning against the plaster wall on my left and I’m trying to pull the skin taught by placing one hand on the top of my inner-left thigh, and one on my stomach just above my V. She’s oiling me up, a lot — a lot more than normal. Also, there is a heat lamp on me, and I’m sweating a bit. Like, below my back and stuff.

As she’s waxing and ripping, she’s intermittently holding onto my outer labia. “Strange,” I think, but I let it go. Then there is an issue with some wax in the very little remaining hair that I have covering the lips. So she vigorously rubs the hair with her gloved finger. And it goes in a little. I’m thinking this is an accident, not a big deal, or maybe it was out of some necessity, but still slightly uncomfortable.

Now, at this point I’m newish to the French wax. I’ve normally just had really neat bikini waxes, but have found that a good French wax keeps all possibility of any stray hairs poking out of your bathing suit moot. I really like this wax. And so does my waxer, because as she’s rubbing my little strip she’s telling me how sexy I am now. This isn’t an erotic experience for either of us I’m pretty sure, and I like being rubbed down there whilst told I’m sexy by lots of different people, however, this was neither the time, nor the place.

I’m sweating a bit more. I’m nervous. She adds more tea tree oil. I’m very slick. Again, there is a bit of misplaced finger, and our conversation has all but ceased. Though she continues to flatter me, for which I’m pleased about her pride in her work, but frankly a little sick of hearing it.

I cast my gaze around the room only to notice that the walls could be a hell of a lot cleaner. Drops of waxes past are echoed on the wall. The bright light pointed at my vagina casts a shadow on the dingy yellow paint job. “Was that always yellow?” I wonder quietly to myself.

One final rip and thank god we’re done. She finishes butchering me and I’m glad it’s over, but then she giggles and asks me to turn over. Now ladies, I know this is common practice to get your ass waxed, but turning over was new to me, and I was already feeling weird. The sweat and the stickiness of the oil had created an unpleasant effect on the thin paper I was lying on, and as I shifted my ass over it ripped in that soft way only really damp paper can. I couldn’t really feel anymore awkward then I already was, but I decided to point it out anyway and have a little conversation about it.

As she prepped the wax she asked me to hold my cheeks. I complied. I thought about what I might look like from her point of view and I felt very unattractive.

Then she oiled my ass, rubbed my V some more (why?!), and ripped the minuscule amount of hair remaining. Now, if you’re going for super sweetly clean, I can see the value in lying on your stomach with your legs spread wide apart while holding your own ass open — let’s call it “Position C” — but all I got out of it was an oily anus and a third of a pinky in my V.

She laughed, said I was sexy (again!!), and let me stumble off the table and grab my underwear and jeans. One of the most awkward parts about finishing a wax like that is that you’re standing in front of someone, dripping, and only wearing a T-shirt. Oh, and socks. This is a scene I’m most familiar with when you are in such a goddamn hurry to get down that boys sometimes leave on their T-shirt and socks.

As if I wasn’t already feeling so super weird that I had to get dressed in front of this woman. We left the room together, her nodding and smiling, me blushing. I paid and shuffled home, then I called Sarah to declare that I had just been raped — by my waxer.

* * *

Sharona

Sarah Michaelson

Suffering from a severe one-month chest cough doesn’t always result in twat malfunctions, but it did for me last winter. A few weeks into developing a painfully raw set of lungs, I checked in with the first walk-in clinic doctor I could find. After an “comprehensive” minute-long inspection of my throat, he hastily scrawled out a prescription for antibiotics and sent me on my way.

Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this. The average woman knows that if you go on antibiotics, you’ve got to compensate for the bacterial disruption in your nether regions by eating yoghurt. Otherwise, you could come down with a case of Candidal vulvovaginitis, or, the common yeast infection. I am, unfortunately, not your average woman. Having never been on antibiotics before, compounded with the fact that I had been completely yeastless in all my years, I had somehow managed to essentially stay in the dark about the correlation between these two topics. So when my poor Sally became inflamed, itchy and yes, yeasty, it took me a while to realize who the culprit was.

After calling up a few friends and spending an hour with a trusty little resource I like to call “The Goog,” it dawned on me that I’d need to take some action. Because I grew up in an all-natural-vegan-homeschooled household, I tend to lean on the side of DIY. So being in this situation – feeling like a first-rate chump and smelling like a second-rate bakery – I was going to opt for a home remedy, instead of one of those new-fangled contraptions like Monistat or Canesten. I’d heard that a clove of garlic up there was one way to go, but after a camping trip involving a dear friend and waking up in a tent, thinking it was an Italian restaurant, I wasn’t about to try that solution. It was then, after a brief craving for pizza, that I remembered Sharona.

Years and years ago, I rode the bus every day and witnessed plenty of interesting characters on the number 16 route. One day on that bus, this story happened. It was rush hour, humid and the traffic, slow. I was at the back of the bus with a bunch of straight-laced men I would refer to as “suits” if I was a character in a Raymond Chandler story. We were all sitting silently in that stenchy, sluggy day, when on walked this heel-clicking, purse-swinging, red satin-jacketed booty-licious lady. She plopped herself down with the nine-to-fivers, flipped open her phone, dialed a number with one of her long, sparkly fingernails, and said in a gravelly voice that couldn’t help but be heard clear across the bus:

“Hi, it’s Sha-RO-na. I’m just calling to see how my test went.”

Alllllright, I thought, maybe she’s in school like me?

“I’m what? Pregnant?! I can’t be PREG-nant! I just had my period a little WHILE ago!”

I couldn’t believe it. This woman had just found out she was with child while using public transportation. And she was unabashedly hollering about it. Amazing.

AND I have a yeast infection? Aw, man. Thanks, buh-bye.”

I looked around. The suits were squirming. Little did they know, things would get even more, um, “colourful.” Sharona didn’t put her phone away. She just went and dialed again. Her deep, rough voice, rang out down the aisle:

“Hi, it’s Sha-RO-na. I just found out I’m PREG-nant! Yeah, I KNOW! AND I have a yeast infection. Well, that’s no problem at least. You just use yoghurt.”

By the time she mentioned dairy products, I’m pretty sure every single person could hear the only conversation on the bus. Some people were desperately trying to block it out, while some were desperately attempting to eavesdrop as covertly as possible. Oblivious to her audience, Sharona brought one hand up in the air, poised; for what, I didn’t know.

“Nah, you don’t eat it. You just shove it on up there.”

On the cue of “shove,” Sharona gently swooped her hand, wrist twisting, palm turning up, her middle finger gracefully leading the rest of the fingers, until her hand was in a position of which Vanna White would be proud.

“Nah, not strawberry yogurt. Not peach yoghurt. Just plain yoghurt.”

Thanks to that brief moment, I knew what to do when my own yeast infection came along: find some cool, soothing yoghurt… plain. As my luck would have it, it was near 1:00 a.m. when I recalled this anecdote and I wasn’t sure if we had any yoghurt around. I crept into the hallway, slipped past my roommate’s door, and creaked open the fridge. Thanks be to Dolly Parton, there was natural yoghurt sitting there on the shelf, but it was lemon-flavoured. It was that kind of stuff where the fruit is on the bottom, so I scraped a teaspoon’s worth off the top and then slowly tiptoed down the hall, this spoon with yoghurt leading the way. It was like a poorly lit version of an egg-on-spoon relay race. When I got to the bathroom, I scooped up the yoghurt, swooped my hand, wrist twisting, palm turning up, my middle finger gracefully leading the way.


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2 responses

12 12 2009
Here They Are… Our Winnipeg Launch Party Photos « 1234V, a vajournal.

[…] If you haven’t bought your own copy of Issue 3 yet, read a sampling of our maintenance stories online here! […]

31 07 2011
vickey

Some of the best laughing i’ve done in years you should take this on the road.

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