by Nicole Leigh Shaw for In the Powder Room
There are so many pet names we give our vagina (and its environs) that it's often hard to know if a woman is talking about her vulva or her miniature poodle. I'm not talking about the grown-up slang we like to throw out to make each other blush. I mean the infantilizing names for parts that only come with two X chromosomes.
I blame parents. Kids don't come with a cutesy vocabulary already installed. It takes an adult to teach a child to refer to her vulva as her "la-loo." And I'll tell you what, I bet that girls who think their private area doubles as a name for a Lalaloopsy doll are more likely to accept candy from strangers in windowless vans.
But that sounds judgy. Because it is. I don't like fake names for private parts. I'm a grown woman. I can say clitoris without giggling (usually). I use the correct terms for vaginal bits. I think you should, too. At least at first. Start with vagina, let the schoolyard bring your kid around to "foo-foo" the same way it will inform her that the Tooth Fairy is not real and that Justin Bieber is a Canadian. Side note: Justin Beaver is a great nickname for a vagina.
There is one clinical term I can't get behind. (PUN ALERT.) Buttocks. Buttocks is too silly a word to begin with. It holds equal ground with all the other terms -- buns, bottom, behind, booty, even the muscular gluteus maximus -- are no less laughable.
In the meantime, until the world can come up with a name for "butt" that imparts the appropriate level of gravity for an area that pushes out solid waste from our digestive system, let's try to get a handle on saying "labia" aloud. Because when you say things like "my bitsy," I'll always think you're talking about your grandmother.
Here are some other popular nicknames that confuse me every. damn. time:
- Poonie, private area or . . . My Little Pony enthusiast?
- Chachi, private area or . . . 1980s sitcom spin-off star?
- Muffin, private area or . . . delicious baked good?
- Princess Parts, private area or . . . Halloween costume accessories?
- Front bottom, private area or . . . oxymoron, for morons?
- Peapod, private area or . . . salad bar offering?
- Woo-woo, private area or . . . sound of an approaching train?
- Fluffy, private area or . . . beloved family pet?
- Downstairs, private area or . . . the lower story of a dwelling?
- Tweenie, private area or . . . the middle part of a Twinkie?