Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How Does It Work?

"Do you take your tampon out before you pee?" I asked my friend Annie during Sunday brunch with friends.

"Whaaa? Where did that come from," she asked, looking around at Brian and Joe. They both shrugged.

"I dunno," I said, "I was just thinking about cotton candy and the thought just popped into my head."

Actually, this is not a rare occurrence on my part. I have a very short attention span. One minute I am thinking one thing and the next minute, I am blowing my wad. My friends find this aspect of me annoying sometimes, especially when we are having a conversation and they suddenly feel an unexpected wetness coming from my direction.

I continued, "I mean, doesn't it get wet when you pee?" Apparently, neither Brian nor Joe knew the answer to this as well. We all looked at Annie, waiting.

Annie squinted at me, probably thinking I was crazy be asking this, but she relented. "It doesn't get wet. Most of the time you don't even know it's there," she said.

I nodded, comprehension slowly seeping in. Maybe it's like having sex with my ex-boyfriend. Half of the time, I didn't know it was in there either.

"How can that be?" I asked. "Is there a separate hole for peeing and another one for your period?"

She shrugged. "I don't know."

"Well, why don't you go into the bathroom and then come back and tell us," I said.

"No way." She said firmly, but I wouldn't be surprised if she took a magnifier and investigated later. Annie is the type to try to get to the bottom of things.

I had other questions: "What does a tampon smell like? Does it come in other designs other than white? Pink? Does it come in other shapes? Like a cute little bunny, a kitty-cat or maybe, you know, like a finger."

Personally, I thought that a tampon shaped like a severed finger would be pretty cool, especially smeared with the blood and all, but Annie and the others shuddered (I was actually going to say "penis" but I thought a finger might be more marketable, you know, and it would be like a little secret, that women have).

One of the weird things about my being gay is that I have so little experience (or interest) in the inner workings of the opposite sex; I wouldn't know the difference between a clitoris and a carburetor, except that I can pronounce "carburetor" correctly. I never know whether to pronounce "clitoris" with a short "i" or a long one, or whether the accent is in the first syllable or second. I know I can look it up in the dictionary, but I figured I would never need to pronounce this word in the presence of another person. Would a straight man know? Is the clitoris on a woman like a button on a gameboy? I'm not sure...

"What's the plural for clitoris?" I asked Annie.

My change of topic didn't faze her, she was ready for me now. "Cliteri?" She attempted, "Cliterati? I've never had to think of the community of women in those terms, normally, I just call them 'my bitches.'"

"Since we're talking about women parts, my gynecologist told me something strange," said Annie. "He told me matter-of-factly, 'I don't know if anybody's told you this, but you have a, very, small, cervix.' Like, I don't know where that came from."

I'm not sure about male gynecologists, about their ability to treat their patients. If they can't personally know even the most basic of female experiences, you know, like spontaneous bitchiness, or that dark hole called PMS, well then, the guy might as well be a vet.

Guys make comparisons, who's bigger, better, faster--it's the high school gym locker room all over again, with guys all flicking each other's butts with towels, comparing dick sizes and making out in the steamroom--ok that last one's just wishful thinking. My own gym locker room experiences were basically non-existent, since I was afraid I would want to go in there and give everyone a makeover. High school boys are so clueless in personal grooming, with all those unruly pubes.

So, I don't think I'll ever understand what makes a woman work. But do you think they will buy a tampon shaped like a finger?

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Guest blog posts by my friends Annie and Joe

The answer to all your questions.

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