By ROSIE WATERLAND
You know that moment in Mean Girls when Lindsay Lohan is standing in front of the mirror with her new buddies, listening to them run through a lengthy, detailed list of physical insecurities that she had no idea she was meant to be worried about?
I recently lived that moment. Apparently my vagina is disgusting, and I had no idea.
It may come as a surprise to some (considering the frequent appearances it seems to make in my writing) but my lady-box is not something I regularly think about. At least not the aesthetics of it. And I don’t mean the hair; I mean what’s under it.
(FYI: I’m against waxing – I’ve had one brazilian in my life, which I did for a boy, and I came scarily close to assaulting the beautician. The shock of that experience literally almost sent me into a murderous rage. Any guy who wanted access from that point on needed to accept that I would always pick a pain-free existence over getting freaky with him.)
No, the hair is not the problem. Apparently, I’m gross because I have what’s known as an ‘outie’. This is not something I knew I was supposed to be worried about. In fact, I can honestly say, besides occasionally worrying about how a guy would feel about my strict no-waxing policy (although not enough to actually change that policy), I’ve not once thought that there was anything wrong with the look of my nether regions. I truly have never given it a second thought. That is, until I had a very revealing conversation with a friend of mine that opened up a whole new world of possible insecurity.
After a couple of drinks, she admitted to me that she was saving up to get a labiaplasty.
Hysterical laughter, followed by “A what now?” was my ultra-sensitive response. But to her, it was no laughing matter. She was actually on the verge of tears as she told me about the day in her late teens she overheard a boy she had slept with refer to her vagina as ‘weird’. Since then, she has obsessively looked at before and after pictures of vaginas, not unlike what I imagine Michael Jackson did with pictures of noses before things went horribly awry. She knew, right down to the last detail, how she wanted to improve her lady-parts.
But I still didn’t get it. When she said weird, what did she mean? What did it actually look like? What was so bad about it? The way she talked about her poor little friend, it was like she was walking around with the vagina-equivalent of the elephant man between her legs.
She took a deep breath, and with pain in her eyes said: “The middle lips hang lower than the outside ones.”
“What do you mean?” I said, thinking I could not possibly be understanding this correctly. “How much lower? Like, down to your knees or something?”
“No, nothing like that,” she said. “I’ve just got an outie and it’s gross.”
An outie? What the what? I asked her to explain to me what an outie was. Turns out, her inner lips (that’s the labia minora, for those in the know) hang about a centimetre lower than the outside ones. That was an outie. And it was an abomination. Disgusting. But worst of all, it was ‘a turn-off’. The labiaplasty was going to transform her outie into an innie. Or basically, a very neat single slit between her legs, not dissimilar to what I assume Barbie has under those plastic knickers.
I was perplexed; if that was the definition of an outie, then I had an outie. I thought everyone had an outie! But then I started thinking: how many vaginas have I actually seen? Mine. My mum’s. My sisters’. That’s it.