Thursday, March 08, 2007

Whatever You Do, Don't Say "Vagina"

A Play in One Act.

Scene I: A high school auditorium in northern Westchester County, New York where the high school literary magazine has staged a dramatic reading of original pieces of literature, a piece written by Shakespeare as well as an excerpt from Eve Ensler's the Vagina Monologues. As the curtain goes up, three 16-year-old high school honor students, Megan, Elan and Hannah stand on stage before a crowded auditorium.

The girls, in unison: My short skirt is a liberation flag in the women's army. I declare these streets, any streets, my vagina's country.

A pregnant pause and then a burst of applause from the audience, followed by a man running onstage tearing the microphone from the hands of the girls and demanding that the curtain come down. The man we will soon learn is the high school's principal, Richard Leprine, known to all as Principal Dick.

Scene 2. Principal Dick's office. Principal Dick sits at his desk, a game of Solitaire on his computer screen, a stack of six Playboys and one Jugs at his feet where no one can see. The parents of the three honor students are sitting before him, wrinkling their noses at the stench of stale cigar smoke and McDonald's Big Mac's wafting from Principal Dick's general direction. Principal Dick is fiddling with his toupe.

Principle Dick: Your girls said "vagina". Vagina! Vagina for Christ's sake!!! Do you know what it means to say vagina at a school-sponsored event? To say vagina in the high school auditorium? They said vagina! What do you have to say for your girls, these girls who said vagina?

Mother 1: I'm not sure what the problem is, Principal Dick.

Mother 2: I'm not sure I understand the problem either, Principal Dick.

Mother 3: I concur. Vagina schmagina, what's the big deal?

Principal Dick: Vagina? Big deal? Vagina should not be said. Period. Vagina makes people uncomfortable. Vagina is off limits.

Father 1: I don't understand. How do you have health class without using the word?

Principal Dick: There is no rule against saying vagina in science class or saying vagina in health class or saying vagina any time when you aren't referring to an actual vagina.

Father 2: I'm sorry, Dick, but I'm not following your line of reasoning.

Principal Dick: By actual vagina, I am referring to an actual vagina. As in "your wife's vagina." Or "I don't have a vagina". Or "My wife's vagina is not your property." All of these sentences are inappopriate uses of the word vagina. But that last sentence, now, that was an appropriate use of the word vagina. It's all in our School's Handbook, under the heading, "Vaginas and The Ban on The Use of the Word Vagina and Exceptions to the Ban on the Use of the Word Vagina for References to the Word Vagina that are Not References to Actual Vaginas."

The parents look at each other and continue to appear perplexed. A red-faced and flustered Principal Dick comes out from behind his desk, overweight and wearing a terrible suit. He points to Mother 1's lap.

Principal Dick: Here's an inappropriate use of vagina. If I point to YOUR vagina and call it a vagina, that's a use of the word vagina that violates the Vagina Usage policy. But I can say vagina all I want in explaining that to you. Vagina as a vagina is bad. Vagina as talking about vagina as an offensive word is fine.

The parents shake their heads in disbelief. Principal Dick slams his hand on the desk.

Principal Dick: That's IT. I'm recommending suspension for your girls.

Father 3: But, Principal Dick! Our girls are honor students!

Principal Dick: Yes, but they said vagina.

Scene III - Board of Education Meeting. The three honor students stand before The Vagina Clause Committee, the committee responsible for putting into place the "Vaginas and The Ban on The Use of the Word Vagina and Exceptions to the Ban on the Use of the Word Vagina for References to the Word Vagina that are Not References to Actual Vaginas" clause in the School Handbook.

Girl 1: The word in question is one which I am comfortable saying. Why shouldn't I help others to feel comfortable saying it?

Girl 2: At the risk of getting myself even deeper into trouble, I have to say that I am offended that you regard the word as problematic. It is a part of my body. Like my head. Or my hands. Why should it not have a name?

Girl 3: Why is talking about any part of the body an act of insubordination?

Principal Dick: You can't yell fire in a crowded theater, and you can't say vagina in your high school auditorium. I'd like to remind you girls that the right to say vagina is not unfettered.

The Superintendent of the school system which has jurisdiction over the high school where the vagina debacle occurred, Bob Lichtenfeld, also known as Super Lick, stands up and points to the girls.

Super Lick: If you wanted to talk about your vagina in a public place, you should have said that you were putting on a production of The Vagina Monologues, and that way, everyone with or without a vagina would have been on notice that you would be saying vagina and talking about your vaginas and people who don't like to hear about vaginas could avoid the whole vagina production so as not to be offended by repeated usage of the word vagina. But as it was, you were part of a larger performance that was to have included only an excerpt from the Vagina Monologues, and not one which used the word vagina, I might add, and no one should have expected that vaginas would be talked about or that the word vagina would be referenced, whether as a body part - as in your vagina, my vagina, her vagina, their vaginas - or as a reference to the reference to the word vagina - as in "we think we have the right to say vagina" or "we believe that vagina is not an offensive word" or "vaginas are not to be censored", all of which is impermissible except under specific circumstances delineated in the Vagina Clause, to which I refer to as Exhibit A.

Super Lick pats a huge tome that sits in front of him on the table. Just then a cell phone rings. It's Super Lick's. He takes it out of his jacket pocket and answers it.

Super Lick: Hello? Lick here. Hmmm. Well, we're in the middle of a hearing here. Well. Yes. Alright then. I'll get him.

Super Lick turns to Principal Dick.

Super Lick: Dick, it's for you.

Dick: For me? Couldn't this wait?

Lick: Says it's important.

Dick: Who?

Lick: Mike Hunt.

Dick: Mike Hunt?

Lick: No, Mike Hunt.

Dick: That's what I said, Lick, Mike Hunt.

The curtain closes on Lick and Dick dickering, the girls snickering, and stage left, a spotlight flickering on Vagina Monologues playwright, Eve Ensler, telephone in hand.



sally said...


friend called "S" said...

ditto, i laughed out loud. just checking in on you yoga chickie.

your long lost teacher trainee friend "s"

by the way, i'd go in on producing the skiing workshop next year...perhaps we can get DW to guest speak/teach?

"YC" said...

I will email you!

Tim said...

My favorite drink is Orangina.
My latest music fave is Regina.
Spektor, that is.

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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