There’s a great review, in this week’s New Yorker, of the latest Naomi Wolf book: “Vagina: A New Biography.” Let me be more clear: I mean the review itself — by Ariel Levy — is great. The book sounds nonsensical. Wolf has apparently decided to spend 400 pages espousing a cult of vagino-mysticism, where the vulva leads directly — do not pass go, or, apparently, the urethra — to the Goddess. Wolf wants men to give women’s sex organs something called “the Goddess Array,” (a new way of saying “good head?” It’s not clear) and insists that people should stop using the “‘awful’ feline moniker” for the vagina and start using the Sanskrit “yoni” instead. A name which, to me, sounds dangerously like a ponytailed New Age musician — someone I want nowhere near my groin area. Yeti, on the other hand; that could be OK. Provided that my partner were willing to dub his penis “Nessie.” We’d have all the mythical creatures covered, and could have some sort of wacko fringers’ sex party.
Levy writes acerbically and hysterically about the many ways she thinks the book loses its way. Wolf may yearn to be treated as if her female parts were a portal to the divine, she says, but for herself?
If my vagina heard a potential partner murmur “Welcome Goddess,” she would turn to me and say, “Get us out of here now.”
Hear hear! Anyway. I bring all of this up not because I wish to debate feminist theory, the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, or the virtues of New Age music. It’s because, rather, we happen to have a bureau in our bedroom that I have recently dubbed “the vagina chest.” It recently struck me that its cabinet door handles, which I’ve stared at from bed for the last six years, are utterly and completely labia-like. Glaringly so. And not just to me. When I mentioned it to Mike he shot me a look of disbelief and said, “You only noticed that now?”
Yup. That’s me. Blind to symbols of the feminine. I’d probably think the Venus of Willendorf was a doorstop. But now that I’ve noticed the lips across the room? They’re all I can see. It’s a nice chest: mid-century modern, good lines, nice finish — Mike gave it to me for my birthday when we first moved in together. It’s got real sentimental value. But none of that matters now. Now it’s just a huge ying-yang — or pussy, or yoni, or Yeti — holding my sweaters.
Whatever it is, I’m certainly not going to give it the Goddess Array. Or worship it. But one of these days — if I’m lucky — I may get around to giving it a good dusting.