Lawrence of Alabia
April 28, 2012
The title refers to a slip of the tongue (haha) I made at a girls night out the other week. I can’t really remember the actual conversation, but I was still sniggering about it when I woke up the next day and it set me thinking. What to call genitalia has always been steeped in difficulty if you are female. Somehow there appear to be acceptable words for boys – like willy – that everyone understands and no one finds offensive. Then there is the progression to dick, prick or cock which you wouldn’t necessarily expect primary schoolers to use, but are routine in adolescent and adult conversations. Even the anatomically correct penis gets a look in in general conversation or at the doctor’s surgery. Contrast this with the little girl. There is no ‘willy’equivalent. There is the euphemistic and entirely unacceptable ‘front bottom’ – what message is that giving a 5 year old? Or a plethora of idiosyncratic names like ‘fairy’, ‘twinkle’ ‘minnie’ or ‘bits’ none of which are as universally accepted or acceptable as willy.
Even as adults the various terms for vagina and vulva are generally seen as crude and used as a harsh insult, whereas nob and prick are fairly jocular terms of abuse. The only good thing about all this is that I see it as the sign of a great night ahead if someone uses the C word in a lighthearted way the first time I meet them.