Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Father Says, "Your Mother's Right, She's Really Up On Things."

Here is a picture of some little red berries.

On Sunday afternoon about a half hour before Coadster's show choir concert, I was lounging around my house contemplating whether I could get away with wearing my pajama top and some sweats to the performance. Right before I made my final decision, my sister called to ask my advice on a very pressing matter.

She and her husband are prone to taking their very young children on quaint Sunday drives through bucolic Southern Iowa. On this particular trip, they were discussing euphemisms for male and female genitalia - because really, what else would you be talking about on a beautiful Sabbath day? My sister called me, thinking I might be able to provide assistance. (I'm going to assume she asked me because I used to work in gynecology and not because I'm crude and inappropriate in general)

"Hey Sissy, T. and I were just talking about how there were tons of appropriate words for little kids to use for penis and we couldn't think of anything to use for the vagina that wasn't raunchy sounding. T. thought it was okay to use the P word, but I said no way," she explained.

"P word? You mean, pudendum?" I asked.

"No. Pussy." We both laughed and then I agreed with her.

"Pussy is a bad word."

"Okay, but can you think of any good words? For boys you can use, peter or pee pee or ding dong, but what is there for girls?"

I looked at the clock and realized I only had fifteen minutes to get to the show, so I told my sister I'd get back to her on it. I also realized my decision, through lack of time, had been made for me. I would tuck my pajama top into my nylon sweats and leave my sweatshirt on, no matter how warm it got in the auditorium. Surely, I wouldn't stick out too badly amongst all the people still dressed up from church, would I?...Okay, I'd sit as far to the back as possible.

So, this is a few days late, but here is a list of euphemisms for the vagina. I'll leave it up to you if any can be considered appropriate in polite conversation. You know how people are always talking about vaginas in polite conversation?

Ready? Here we go:

sex organ, private parts or privates, genitals, genitalia, reproductive organ, labia, pussy, snatch, bearded clam, (my most hated term) quim, beaver, twat, box, trim, strange, cunt, (okay I lied. This is my most hated term) cooch, lips and envelope.

So, the answer to my sister's question, is no. There really isn't an appropriate substitute for little girls to call their vaginas - unless you want to use something non-gender specific, like privates or genitalia.


julie in l.a. said...

You're right! It's so unfair that we women have no gender-specific euphemisms for vagina! I'm going to start a campaign for "giny." Kind of cute, yeah?

Churlita said...

It is. When I was little I called it a virginia until my siblings made fun of me. Giny is so much better.

Dana said...

hoo hoo!

(I hate lips the most. I kinda like cunt, but only when I say it.)

Happy anniversary!

charlotte said...

Hi. I fell upon your blog via the Randomizer, and I have really enjoyed reading it. Very funny and apt. A couple of thoughts on the vagina discussion: a friend of mine's daughter started spontaneously calling her vagina her "v", which I think is great. In British/South African culture (which is where I come from) "fanny" actually means vagina, so that's what my daughters call their v's. I guess it wouldn't work in the US but for us, it's kind of appropriate-ish.

Churlita said...

Yeah, that's the thing about cunt. I like it when bawdy dames use it, but I find it disturbing when certain guys use it. I think it's all about intent.

Churlita said...


Thanks for reading and commenting. I did read in one of my dictionaries where fanny was used for vagina. It's confusing here in the states since we generally use fanny as a euphemism for butt. I like V, though. Maybe I'll suggest that to my sister.

Anonymous said...

What about reading Irvine Welsh novels? It takes getting used to when cunt is used as internal punctuation instead of a full stop.

Trevor Jackson said...

There's probably a larger point to be made by someone smarter than me about this privilege in English that grants "cute" nicknames for boys and "dirty" nicknames for girls and the reproductions of societal power dynamics . . . Yeah. Someone smarter than me has to finish that sentence.

My point is this: go outside English to Sanskrit for the word yoni.

broinlaw said...

Hey Churl,
Thanks for taking this one up.
I know its probably not good Sabbath Day discussion fodder, but I am severely disabled when it comes to all things female.
(Our family has boys. We add females through conquest...uh...I mean...uh...marriage, never by birth!)

Your sister and I actually came to something similar to the "Ginny Solution".

Trevor is dead on about the larger picture issue. We can discretely mention wieners, pee-pees, nuts, balls, marbles, sacks, and even boobs in public and not be branded. But let the dreaded C-WORD fly once, and look out!

I just hate to be stuck with the generally accepted and rather dry technical terminology used by medical science. We have other, more common names for everything else, why not this?


Churlita said...


Yeah, him and Bukouski. If you ever want to become desensitized to the use of the C word, read either of those two writers.


I thought about making that point, but then it would have been about twelve posts long and I don't think anyone wants to hear my feminist rants. There are plenty of blogs that do that better. I was thinking it very aggressively.

Bro In-Law,

You know i love it when I hear that you guys discuss that kind of thing on the sabbath because I'm all about dogma. So, what name did you go with? And do you have the same family crest as other conquistadors?

TLB said...

My sister's kids call it the "front butt" as in, Jack has a pee-pee and a butt but Molly has two butts, one in front and one in back. Don't ask me how that came about.

Churlita said...


Front butt, eh? I guess it does look like a miniature butt. Isn' tit funny what kids come up with for names? I bet a few decades ago, people refrained from calling a vagina anything.

Margaret said...

I like T-hiney.

broinlaw said...

I think we decided that the shortened term "gina" might prove to be an acceptable name that would be recognizable and useful in casual, but yet discreet conversation.

I don't think its so much a feminist question as it is a "how the hell did we end up in this kind of lingustic black hole at the dawn of the 21st century" question. No doubt that this situation is a direct result of our Puritanical / Victorian Ideal social construction model. But, geez, you think Oprah would have solved this one back in the 1990s.

Front butt?!?! I thought that was a term for someones face! Hoooooo...gotta go.


Churlita said...



Bro in-law,

I think there are sexist implications in the fact that there isn't even one other word that can be used for the vagina that isn't considered dirty. All that Puritanical shit is sexist too. I also think Oprah should have been working on this twenty years ago. She probably still wouldn't have earned her ridiculous salary, but she would have come closer.

It sounds like you guys came up with a decent alternative, though.

Jane said...

Yoni is excellent.

I'm also a fan of "cooter." It's sort of cute; a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.

Leo said...

I think you could also go with 'twinky'. Very nice sounding...not harsh, sort descriptive....well, maybe not, but still an unoffensive word.

Churlita said...


In Iowa Cooter is a lot country. It makes me think of the woman who came to the clinic and asked us to take her cooter bug out (she meant her uterus. It also makes me think of The Dukes of Hazard (C-c-cooter!).


I'm not sure how I feel about Twinkie...it conjures up a lot of connotations.

broinlaw said...

Twinkie has a certain cosmic balance with the boys "Ding-Dong".

And Twinkie certainly is better than Ho-Ho.


dolittle said...

You're leaving out ponani - which maybe came from my British friends but I like - very unoffensive - my old roomate used to refer to her genitalia as her "down there" - very dark and mysterious - not HER down there I wouldn't know - but the term. Ask Dexter if he remembers when I called him on trying to get some "strange".

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, why drag me in from the sidelines? I of course have no recollection to what Mrs. Doo is referring too..unless it was at a wedding reception.

Churlita said...

Bro in-law,

I wanted to write something clever about twinkie, but I just couldn't think of anything during work. I'm glad you did, though...Ho-ho - hee-hee.


For some reason, the term "strange" really cracks me up.


I'm glad you have no recollection of that wedding reception, ahem.

Anonymous said...

When I was living with a roomate with a little girl (befor I had children), they refered to her daughters vagina as her junebug. This always made me laugh. At our house however, a vagina is a vagina, often refered to as a gina, not because this was decided upon, but due to a four year olds cute speech impediment, and a penis is a penis.

Churlita said...


I've never been a big fan of using euphemisisms for genitalia, myself. I just think it's odd that there aren't more appropriate substitues for vagina. Junebug?

Jane said...

The problem with the term "vagina" is that it refers to a very specific part of the female genitalia; it doesn't really encompass the labia, which is probably what most little girls are talking about when they refer to their own genitals. I had no idea where my actual vagina really even was until I was 14 and started using tampons.

Sorry, TMI...

Churlita said...

I wrote a post on the different words for the vagina. There really is no such thing as TMI as far as I'm concerned.

Yeah, it's all pretty vague when you're younger.