July 12, 2005

Nomenclature: all innovation is not progress

A reader named Kate emailed me this:

“My boy and I were having a discussion about what to call my vagina recently. I typically say ‘vagina’ in conversation and just try to avoid talking about it during sex (because although I admire the directness, who wants to hear ‘Oh, darling, lick my vagina’?).

I’ve always thought the word ’pussy’ was cute— like a cat, it’s little and furry, clever, requires a lot of attention, and has a bit of an attitude. But I find the pornographic associations with ‘pussy’ and creeps saying it to me on the street really yucky, so even though I want it to be a sweet, innocuous little word, whenever my boy said it, I felt sort of gross.

So we were trying to come up with something to call it together; something like pussy but without any icky social context. And the only thing that’s softer, furrier, cleverer, and has more of an attitude than a puss is a chinchilla! We dropped the ‘chin’ and just call it my ‘chilla.’ It’s great! It’s even replaced ‘vagina’ in conversational status: (after soreness) ‘How’s your chilla today?’ or ‘Can I kiss your chilla?’ Hooray!”

I don’t subscribe to the idea that genital nicknames are problematic, so I think this is a pretty great development. Rather better than loverman’s recent enhancement of my usual “unit”: Eunice. What? That’s like part unit, part penis, and 100% old lady! Plus, I don’t like personifying body parts. I had no idea I could be so disturbed by a simple nickname used in jest.

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