"Your Vagina is Repulsive" And Other Offers of Conditional Love You Should Reject

If a dude wants to tell me my vagina is repulsive, that's awesome, but he should be warned, I have sharp teeth, lock-jaw and passion for angry blow-jobs.

May 22, 2013 at 11:30am | Leave a comment

In the 8th grade, I switched schools, joining a class of kids who had known each other since kindergarten. I wasn’t an army brat, but I was close. I had a hard time fitting in and my parents frantically searched for a place where I might be more comfortable and not come home and sigh, “This earthworm familiar I took from the backyard is my only friend.”

At my previous schools, my romantic life had been nonexistent because I was a child.

No but seriously, in sixth and seventh grade when kids started dating, I didn’t start dating. Looking back I don’t know if I just wasn’t interested in the middle school idea of dating which seemed to be simply asking someone if they wanted to date and maybe talking on the phone sometimes. No one ever asked me, and while I pined away for certain boys, I was certainly the object of no one’s affection.

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y'know, just readin' about mah feelin's.

When I transferred to this new school, I was seated beside this kid who for the purposes of this article we will call Ronnie.

He was gameshow host hot. He wore cologne in reasonable quantities and Invisalign braces that gave the illusion that instead of having separate teeth, in his mouth he had two glistening white uniform plates. He had blue eyes, and he was funny.

Actually, if I met him again today I’d be like “That guy is an asshole,” but in middle school being loud and saying what you thought impressed me thoroughly because I lived life entrenched in my own head. 

I may not have fit in, but I understood the social hierarchy and I knew that this kid could have told me to avert my gaze when he passed and it would’ve been within his rights. I wasn’t, however, savvy enough to understand that when he did stuff like wrote his name on my notebook or teased me for being quiet that he was totally into me.

If Ronnie asked me out it would change my status in a way that’s typical of teen romantic comedies of the late 1980s but not so run-of-the-mill in real life school. I would’ve gotten to sit with a whole different group of people during lunch, I would’ve probably been obligated to start wearing the stylish felt clogs and chunk-style highlights, trademarks of elite pre-teen girl squad. The very idea of making such a change was unthinkable for me, a 13-year-old who thought the best look to wear to mixers was my X-Files T-shirt and a severe ponytail.

The idea of Ronnie swooping in and transforming my life should have been something that I sat up late at night swooning over. But it was so far removed from the reality of life that I truthfully never even considered him.

That’s why it was so surprising when he asked me out.

Ronnie had been smirking at me throughout class that day. I had noticed it, but was honestly too caught up in the furor leading up to our egg drop assignment to pay much attention, because eggdropforthewinyouknow? Unable to get my attention he’d tapped the kid in front of him on the shoulder and whispered in his ear. That caught my eye, but only because I am now and have always been, completely incapable of minding my own business.

The tapped kid looked at me nervously. I became convinced I had a mammoth booger dangling from one nostril or that one of my tweenage nips had become exposed. “What?” I asked, trying to seem nonchalant and failing.

“Ronnie says that he really likes you and he wants to go out with you but that you should put on your mascara better.”

I thought of his proposition while reading this article over on the Frisky. In the piece in question, a woman writing in to an advice column for help dealing with her boyfriend who finds her vagina "repulsive." The Frisky’s take -- and in my humble estimation, the right take -- is that if you are dating a man who finds your vagina gross, you dump him.

That a person could spend Y-E-A-R-S with someone who can stand the stank of their pank is heartbreaking, ridiculous, and, to me, completely indicative of a culture that has always primed women to be treated as less than, a culture that expects a woman to take every bit of love she is given as conditional.

My vagina was never up for grabs when it came to Ronnie because, again, I WAS A CHILD. That said, the way I react to his conditional proposition was the way I have reacted to every qualified expression of love offered since.

Normally in situations when someone gave me shit for how I looked, I broke into a million pieces and fell onto the floor so that Annie Lennox could write a song about me. But something about this particular bit of constructive criticism made me want to bash the egg meant for my egg drop with the full force of my puny fist upon Ronnie’s head. 

I wish I’d said something appropriately cutting. Something like “Tell Ronnie I don’t date men who still breastfeed,” or “Ronnie seems to busy with whatever’s in his pocket to fully commit to our nascent passion for one another,” or better yet, “My libido would destroy him,” but I didn’t.

To give credit where credit’s due, I did say, “That’s OK.”

My quiet dismissal was enough to send him spiraling into a panic, loudly announcing that he had been joking. He had some spinning to do in order to maintain his cred, whereas very little about the encounter had changed my life. I would still go home that night and eat ramen for snack while watching Benny Hill and no one could take that away from me.

It’s funny to think of it now, but it’s proof that my low self-esteem is something that evolved, that it wasn’t something innate. Because when directly insulted I rose up with a core of confidence that was outraged a guy would give me shit for some clumps in my Great Lash. 

The way I reacted then is something I hold on to now when it comes to my dating life. There are things I will do because they make my partner happy, but never at the cost of my own comfort or happiness. A guy who tells you “playfully” that your vagina is repulsive isn’t someone who gets to enjoy your vagina. A guy who qualifies his feelings for you with things you need to change, however facile, about your appearance, is an asshole.

I shot down a guy for telling me to work on my lash product application skills -- you don’t want to know what I said to the guy who told me I should have “some of” my moles removed. As for a dude telling me my vagina is disgusting? The only reason I’d spend with years with him is to quietly enact some sort of Count of Monte Cristo type revenge fantasy. In this scenario, I am played by Gerard Depardieu, and so are we all.

What’s the jerkiest thing a dude has said to you, dating or otherwise? What did you wear to your first school dance? Do you still wish Gillian Anderson was on TV every week? I mean I guess she kind of is now with "Hannibal," that’s a pretty show. TO THE COMMENTS EVERYONE!