OK. Here it is. I sat down to write this column and as these things tend to do, it took on a life of its own. Hence this warning: You may want to sit down for this one. Especially if you're my editor. Dave, please sit. Maybe even lie down for your first pass. I don't want to be responsible if you faint and whack your head.
I'd intended to offer 950 insightful words on the NFL's seething inhospitability to all things gay (except for the copious ass-slapping and sweaty midfield pile-ons, of course) and whether we should watch the Olympics (Billie Jean King is a delegate, after all) or boycott the Olympics (congrats on getting sprung, Pussy Riot).
In the midst of this, though, I ended up on a Facebook detour, pounding out a few thoughts on a friend's feed, weighing in on the human incubator in Texas known as Marlise Munoz. She's the young woman who died of a pulmonary embolism in November and is now connected to machines because she was 14 weeks' pregnant at the time and the Lone Star State has rules about the handling of such things. I think Texas needs to get a life, rather than mechanically ensure the gestation of one in the body of a brain-dead woman. But what do Wendy Davis and I know?
Anyway, from there I somehow found myself tumbling into the Lost Internet Forest, where I managed to come face-to-face with the future of cosmetic enhancement known as vaginoplasty. And when I say face-to-face, I mean Hello, labia! Turns out, if you plunk v-a-g-i-n-o into your search bar, "vaginoplasty" pops up just after "vaginosis." And if you accidentally happen to be in Google Images rather than Google Web when you do the plunking? Well then. Your eyeballs will be situated squarely on all sorts of what a good friend of mine referred to as "flank steak."
Now, I've heard inklings in recent years about women going in for a nip and a tuck on their nether regions, and certainly there are legitimate reasons for down-there surgeries. Prolapsed uteruses are no joke, and if you're a trans woman, you're gonna need some excavation and reconstruction. Work it, girl.
But I'm talking about vanity surgery here. And I've started to get the impression that this particular type of enhancement—also called "vaginal rejuvenation"—is the Massengil of the 2000s. It's Vajazzle plus more cowbell. It's Botox for your other lips.
As I perused the many incarnations of vagina spread before me—and oh, it was spread before me—I was overwhelmed with a strange combination of wonder and disgust.
Wonder, because—Glory be!—if the female anatomy isn't the absolute shit. Don't even try to send letters to argue the point. I don't care if you're (a) gay (closeted quarterback, ahem): The penis is a sock puppet; the vagina is a symphony. End of debate.
The vagina is awesome, literally; it's gorgeous, mysterious, multipurpose-functional and unique as all get out. I examined more Internet V the other day than Michelle Duggar's gynecologist, and I'll say right now that no two are alike. And that could all change with this new look-what's-wrong-with-women-now sales pitch. Before we know it, every strung-out starlet will have the exact same perky little ski-slope minora, and we'll hardly be able to tell them apart as they exit their limos without underwear. What with their faces all looking the same, how will we know who's who?
So, yeah, about the disgust: Exactly what, I ask, remains to be done to alter our bodies in our quest for eternal youth and beauty and gobs of never-ending friction-improved sex? And please don't bother to say G-Spot Amplification® because that, apparently, is already a thing, too.
Chopping and slicing up a vagina to give it a "more youthful appearance" is problematic in a mentally delusional way. A vagina is supposed to have a little tread on it. And unless we're nuns who are immune to gravity, we're not supposed to be 40 or 50 or 70 or 95 and have sleek, taut paper cuts for pussies. (Sorry, Dave.)
Like the Brazilian-wax fad that—according to The Telegraph, Gwyneth Paltrow and me—has come to an end, vaginoplasty and the inherent barbarism of it cannot be a thing for the ages. Just peep the "before and after" pictures if you want to know the whole story.
One before / after pair I viewed was separated by a surgeon holding the snipped away parts on a paper towel. There they were, bits and pieces, carefully displayed like expensive gemstones at the Tiffany counter. I didn't feel much like Holly Golightly looking in that window.
Another post-operative photo depicted stitches up and down and all over the damn place on a vagina that, in the pre-op picture, looked perfectly normal to me, the professional auditor of Internet vagina. In fact, most of the befores looked perfectly normal. These were worst of all—they looked almost exactly the same before as they did after. Before surgery: Oyster. After surgery: Erster. Before surgery: Chanterelle mushroom. After surgery: Slightly smaller chanterelle mushroom. Honestly, if I were one of those ladies, I'd want my money back.
Look. Women are going back to the bush. Most of us have decided that we do not wish to look like pre-pubescent girls. I'm pretty sure even more of us have no interest in re-losing our virginity. And a whole big huge bunch of us would like to never think about this again, and instead witness the sporting world accept openly gay athletes with compassion and understanding.