Binghamton University weekends are great, but I wanted something different this weekend, so I decided to go down under. I decided to see the Vagina Monologues.
Going in, I had little idea what to expect. Not that it stopped me from telling everyone what I thought it was going to be about. “Come on, would you really rather go Downtown and hang out with a bunch of vaginas that don’t talk?” Unsurprisingly, my persuasiveness won my friends over.
The venue was Dickinson Dining Hall — solely for the sake of irony, of course — where a good number of people were gathered, some taking money and violating my hand with the word “vajayjay” rather than the standard “X” mark.
Though it was certainly unusual, so far I couldn’t say it was any different from my normal Friday night. That changed once I sat down.
Not too long after the show began, I began to worry that the words for vagina would never end. Everything from twat and monkey box, to coochie snorcher and dignity were named.
Though the women in the audience seemed surprised at the long list, the men seemed to restrain themselves from nodding along, seemingly going through a mental checklist.
Once everyone settled down and the mating calls ceased, the monologues began. The first was a fairly hair-raising issue. The audience was being preached to on the importance and even beauty of pubic hair on the vagina.
We were told that it is the “leaf around a flower” and the “lawn around a house.”
Beautiful and well-written as the sketch was, I think the men remained unconvinced. Let’s be honest, they love a mowed lawn.
Up next was probably my favorite part. It contained two things people avoid using in the same sentence — an old woman and, of course, vaginas. Yep, the audience sat there as this elderly matron regaled us with stories from her youth and what led her to never look “down there.”
This woman had a traumatizing experience with a male counterpart in her youth, and ever since, her vagina “never opened for business again.”
She told about nightmares, how she imagined her vagina would flood and her date would have to swim through the flood in the middle of a fancy restaurant. You know, stories we can all relate to.
As silly and heartwarming as that segment was, there was also some insight to be found. Many women have reasons to fear their sexuality, repress it or simply deny its existence.
The Vagina Monologues, authored by Eve Ensler, seeks to change that and bring the attention from “down there” to the forefront of people’s minds.
Ensler, along with Willa Shalit, also founded V-day. For those who don’t have Wikipedia at their disposal, V-day is a global non-profit movement that raises money for women’s anti-violence groups.
By just attending the Monologues you are helping out, because the price of each ticket goes toward a women’s shelter. I have to say it was well worth the money.
Some parts of it were hysterical, such as the old lady sketch (“I haven’t been down there since 1953”) and the moaning sketch — “The woman who loved to make vaginas happy” — in which a woman demonstrated many types of moans.
One of which included the college moan: “I should be studying!” was shouted out as the audience laughed and nodded along.
Dispersed throughout the comedic sketches were acts that held more serious tones, such as the sketch concerning rape victims in Bosnia and Kosovo.
With clenched teeth, the audience listened to how seven men raped this poor woman for days, abusing her with glass bottles and molesting her. Everyone held their breath as she told us that part of her vagina came off in her hand.
After seeing the Vagina Monologues, I can say it was a lot different from what I expected — in fact, it was a lot better. It was hilarious and tear-jerking, but most importantly it was educational.
I wasn’t too far off from my initial guess, though. There were talking vaginas, I mean women, but to quote the Monologues, “I do not see them as two separate things.”