The female body is shrouded in mystery. Everybody knows about those fun squeezy tit bags on the front, but nobody really knows what goes on within. And most of the time you can’t even ask science! Science doesn’t know anything. If you go to the doctor because your periods are heavy/your womb hurts/you’re acting crazy, GPs have no idea.
‘Who can tell?’ they say, wistfully staring at the moon. ‘Women are made of nightshade and wildfire – and nobody knows what lies beyond The Wall. Now stop weeping on my prescription pad and go and eat a nice carton of Activia in a bubble bath.’
Unlike men, who wear their crotch rot, BO and general disgustingness like a badge of pride, women have always been encouraged to act like their shit smells of Chanel. If you try to be honest about your body, people (including women) squeal ‘TMI!’ or say ‘I’m eating!’ even though they’re not.
‘Don’t ruin our mental landscape of undulating breasts and pert arses with your HUMANITY!’ men cry. OK, so sometimes they try to be cool about lady stuff by going to Boots and buying Lil-ets, but ask them to clean up your clots and suddenly they’ve got an urgent appointment.
As a result of this squeamishness, ignorance abounds and we live in a world where the mainstream media wonders aloud why Kate Middleton still has her baby bump 24 hours after her child is born. Well done, everyone.
So you know what? Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about it SO MUCH that everyone has to just get over it and get on with the business of being humans. Now, put down your sandwich and let’s discuss:
Guess what? Underneath Kate Middleton’s lovely baby blue Jenny Packham dress was a massive sanny pad the size of Buck House catching the stuff that comes out afterwards. This stuff is called Lochia. For four miserable weeks, K-Mid will be expelling blood, mucus and fluid, weeing like a racehorse, and blobbing like a trooper. (I think a better name for Lochia would be ‘Chair Ruiner.’) When the blood and stuff is expelled, the uterus shrinks in size. Two weeks after the gushing stops, you might get a period. Then, with a pathetic look on his face, your partner will ask you when you’re going to start having sex again.
It’s important that EVERYONE understands that hormones are horrible, nasty, crappy, underhand things that alter your behaviour without you even knowing. Mid cycle, you ovulate, which can make you crazy, or you can go crazy before a period starts or even during it. Basically, periods can make you boil with rage and cry like an idiot at any time of the month. But they are not a sign of weakness. Also, sometimes when we’re crying and angry it’s not because of a period. We are angry because we’re angry. Also, we might be angry because nobody takes anything to do with hormones seriously. And I haven’t even started talking about the bit when you bleed! When you menstruate, it feels like you are slowly pissing yourself all the time. All the time. Uncontrollably. And it also feels like you’ve eaten a shoe and you’re trying to poo it out but you can’t because it’s stuck behind your groin. And when you’re in the toilet - changing your blood soaked sanitary protection with incongruous pink and purple flowers on them - it makes the wedding scene in Game of Thrones look like Peppa fucking Pig. Then people cheerily ask you if you want to go swimming.
When you’re pregnant and your baby is late, doctors suggest a membrane sweep. A membrane sweep shows how little the medical profession understand women, because it’s the equivalent of a inept finger frig from a French exchange student. They literally stick their finger in and wiggle it about to make the baby come out. Haha! Old school or what? (And it doesn’t work.)
Yes it sounds like a discontinued Eastern European car but that’s what it’s called. Not a vagina, the vagina is the hole. And it’s definitely not a ‘flower’ or a ‘foo foo’ or a ‘fanjita’ or a ‘lady garden.’ Also, it really doesn’t matter what they look like, because vulvas are functional. They’re not like a rockery or a customised Fiat. My fanny looks like a sad clown but so what? Men’s knobs look like purple Smurfs. Let a vulva be a vulva. Buy yourselves a little inspirational shabby chic sign for bathroom door with that written on it, and shut up.
I hope that’s cleared a few things up. If you want to hear about episotomies or vaginal tearing, I’d LOVE to tell you about them another time over a glass of Prosecco. Of course, being a woman is fun, too. We get to wear pretty dresses and have nice hair and buy shoes. It’s not enough, of course – but as you can see, we’re hardy creatures.