The Distinguished Gentleman's Guide to Vaginal Odor
When I'm not huffing spray paint from paper bags or negotiating peace in the Middle East, my thoughts often turn to women. And how they smell. And then I don't feel like eating dinner.
In my day I've smelled fishy cunts, skunky cunts, yeasty cunts, pissy cunts, sweaty cunts...too many cunts, probably. I've inhaled membrane-withering lungfuls of toxic twatfumes from vaginas that looked like rats dipped in Vaseline. I've borne witness to a stomach-pumping surfeit of swollen, bloody, scabby, mucus-spewing snatches. Too much oozing, malodorous cunt caviar, too many hairy hornet's nests of chickstink. And yet the self-appointed voices of reason assure me that "once you get past the smell, you've got it licked." How the fuck do you get past the smell?
Although the estrus-crazed arbiters of politeness would have us believe it's only a misogynistic myth, the existence of rank-smelling females seems to be a staple of all cultures' folklore. Most world religions-and rightly so-espouse some notion of women as "unclean." When angered, a foul-mouthed Chinaman is likely to yelp, "Tiu nia ma chow hai!" ("Fuck your mom's smelly cunt!") at anyone within earshot of his eggroll stand. Reflecting the same sort of vaginal ageism, the French have observed, "Les conasses des femmes âgeé avez une odeur mauvaise." ("Old ladies' cunts stink.")
And though it's not considered polite conversation amid mixed company, most of us are aware of the distasteful folkloric scuttlebutt surrounding repugnant vaginal aromas. As a child, you most likely heard the cruel schoolyard jibes about "hot tuna." You've probably also groaned at the juvenile proverb which states that there are two things in this world that smell like fish, one of them being fish. You may have even encountered the puerile poem about the "seven wise men" who created the vagina: "Fifth was a fisherman, nasty as hell/He threw in a fish and gave it a smell." Even pudendal pseudonyms such as "the bearded oyster" hint at some level of olfactory displeasure.
From what I've been told, some men actually like the smell. Some men enjoy watching their corn-kerneled shit swirl down the toilet, too. Some men drink beer and get prostatitis. Some men like having their scrotal sacs nailed to sheetrock-what's your point?
Ooh, that smell. The first thing you're likely to sniff in this wretched life is a deep, sobbing lungful of your mother's afterbirth, yet that memory is usually too distant and traumatic to ever have a hope of salvaging. But after one passes the Age of Reason, you aren't likely to forget the full-frontal face-slap of a rancid pussy, even after extensive psychotherapy. And, if you're like me, your first indelible whiff of it came via an older friend's manual digit in the eternal tradition of "Hey, man, smell my finger."
The older friend's name was Mike. His girlfriend's name was Carol. We all wore denim pants and denim jackets. Under a cold nighttime sky set aglow by an aggressively white moon, I sat atop a small concrete wall, waiting for Mike to kiss Carol goodnight. It took a while. He must have rounded first base and headed for third, for after bidding Carol adieu, Mike proudly marched over to me and held his fuck-you finger an inch under my nostrils. Carol's afterstench was a heady, almost inebriating snoutful of urine and sea bass. It was there, on that concrete wall, where I concluded that a woman's vagina could be a place wherein considerable evil dwelt.
Not many years later, in a gesture of male nobility, I was able to proffer my own finger to a younger friend, encouraging him to nasally sample the mucosal femalia from a calamari-redolent Italian girl I'd diddled an hour or so earlier. I had indulged in "heavy petting" with the hairy-lipped wop lass outside her parents' house in West Philly, dropped her off, and drove deep out into the suburbs-and then took a quick dip in my friend's backyard pool-before I let him smell my finger. And yet it stank. Strongly.
But perhaps the worst pussy I ever had the displeasure of smelling was attached to an alarmingly overweight woman of Dutch extraction with whom I shacked up during a period when my self-esteem was dangerously low. Once you got past the rolls and rolls of stretchmarked hog fat, there lay her bedraggled pussy, crowned with a sparse reddish thorn bush. Her cunt looked like a fat slice of ham swimming in white gravy. Her crotch was a boiling fumarole of noxious emissions, a stinking puddle of snatch-slop. Her discharges were colored a sickly silver, with the gloppy consistency of herring sauce. The smells which emerged from between her bloated, floppy legs ranged from rotted onion to burnt crab to odors which were so fetid, I must force myself to stop thinking of them lest I scream.
But I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.
It's not my intent to have you believe that ALL women stink.
As a cabdriver in Philadelphia, I was once flagged down by a hulking negress, a dead ringer for Shirley Hemphill, who instructed me to drive her to a nearby mental hospital. She then pulled a sopping-wet twenty-dollar bill from her African vagina and handed it to me. Upon later inspection, I was relieved to discover that the soaking greenback offered absolutely no smell. It was as if the woman's vaginal flora had actually laundered the item of currency.
No, I've encountered clean cunts before. In fact, I'm married to one.
Almost a decade ago, the skanky pussies disappeared into my nightmares like the cheap '50s B-movie monsters they were. I met a woman of Hebraic ancestry whose nether regions bore no stomach-souring smells. I promptly wed her. Ten years of fish-free connubial bliss. Our secret to a successful marriage? No vaginal odor. Her cunt smells about the same as my wrist-not at all. She was born with the Unscented brand of pussy. The li'l Jewgirl's got good bacteria. I'm blessed.
But, being the civic-minded feller I am, I started to worry about the other pussies-the less-fortunate ones. What about them? Why do some gals stink, while others remain odor--free--free, indeed, to laugh, to love, to cuddle? Why do roses bloom in some fields, while manure festers in others? And finally, what in the name of the Homo Jesus Clown are the biological mechanisms behind vaginal malodor?
I'm a man who sees a problem with America--a man who wants to fix it.
My purpose isn't to offend the few clean-smelling women out there with the crude suggestion that EVERY vagina in the USA gushes with foul, gelatinous, swordfishlike discharges.
Only far too many of them.
I do feel, way down in my nose hairs, that this country faces a Cunt Crisis: Our streets are littered with good girls-honest girls-walking around smelling like octopii. Vaginal odor ruins romance and fosters much distrust between the sexes. Few things dampen an amorous male's affection more than the rank, odiferous stench of a woman who has degraded herself through poor hygienic practices. Many bright, well-meaning gals have seen their love lives dashed to pieces because their genitals' pungency suggested unhealthful habits and debauchery. Can these women be saved? Sure, but first they must be scrubbed. And disinfected. And schooled in methods of blunting their natural offensiveness.
To understand vaginal odor, you must first understand the vagina itself. The foul truth is that every woman carries a potential stink-bomb between her legs. There's a whole science-fair project going on in there, a wild kingdom of aquatic bacilli. Mucus oozes from her pussy walls like dirty water being squeezed from a floor mop. Her normal secretions serve to cleanse those sugar walls in the same way that saliva keeps one's mouth from becoming overrun with the slime of half-chewed pretzels. In a normal, happy vagina, certain "good guy" microorganisms such as the lactobacillus bacteria create an acidic pH balance which thwarts the growth of more sinister, odor-causing germs.
Candida albicans, more commonly known as vaginal yeast fungus, exists in small enclaves in every vagina. But once a pussy's pH balance is thrown off-kilter, yeast fungi may explode in number, causing thick, whitish, cottage-cheesy discharges to flow from its labia like thousands of miniature twat biscuits. An effulgent yeast infection, which is estimated to strike an estimated three of every four women at least once in their lifetimes, may smell vaguely like baking bread. When the yeast cells begin to die en masse, they release a molecular compound known as mercaptan, which has been targeted as the culprit behind the smells of dead flesh, poo-poo, and skunks. Mercaptan has also been described as smelling somewhat like burnt rubber. So if it looks like cottage cheese and smells like a car crash, yeast may be to blame.
The legendary fish odor may be a symptom of a syndrome known as bacterial vaginosis (BV), especially if the smell seems particularly tart directly following intercourse. As with yeast infections, BV is a sign that renegade germs have overthrown the vagina's normal bacterial balance. Microscopic critters such as gardnerella vaginalis, thought to exist in a quarter to half of all human vaginas, come to prominence at the expense of more benign bacteria. These bad-boy microorganisms secrete waste materials which irritate the vaginal walls and yield discharges redolent of rotting trout heads. BV can be tamed through prescription topical gels.
Another root cause of feminine fishiness is single-celled monster known as trichomonas (or "trich"), a highly contagious protozoan which infests upwards of three million cunts yearly via toilet seats, towels, and sexual intercourse. One medical text describes trich as giving rise to a "yellow/green frothy discharge," accompanied by burning, itching, and the unmistakable air of seafood. As with BV, a little dab of the proper antimicrobial paste will slay the dreaded trich dragon and prevent one's pussy from being eaten alive.
Of course, foul-smelling vaginal discharges could be the symptom of something far worse. Chlamydia (or "the clam") is often accompanied by vulvular rankness, as is gonorrhea. In a worst-case scenario, your lover's malodorous muff may signal the immunodeficiency breakdown associated with AIDS. Mangia!
Then again, it could be something as simple as the fact that the slob doesn't wash very often. Some pasty amalgam of piss, feces, crotch sweat, fermented sperm, and menstrual waste could be causing the erection-killing fumes which destroy true intimacy. A little time spent Sudsing the Beaver couldn't hurt much.
Which brings us to the douche. Our society does not lack for douchebags. A woman can select from an array of vulva-scalding products-sprays, creams, pastes, potions, lotions, jellies, foams, and herbal extracts-all designed to blunt this, the cruelest of nature's jokes.
But as usual, nature has the last laugh. Not only does douching effect a genocide of undesirable bacteria, it also eliminates the good-guy germs which maintain a proper floral balance within the vagina, hastening yet more intra-pussy bacterial anarchy.
The pinnacle of douche ignorance is exemplified in a 1941 magazine ad for liquid Lysol. Over the course of four illustrated panels, the ad describes "how a young wife overcame the 'one neglect' that wrecks so many marriages." After another blowout argument with her hubby, the ad's feminine protagonist sobbingly visits her sister-in-law, who delicately explains, "You may be the guilty one, Sis. Often a husband's love grows cold just because a wife is careless-or ignorant-about feminine hygiene. It's one neglect few husbands can forgive." She then describes how her own doctor prescribed liquid Lysol "for intimate personal care." Taking her sister-in-law's earnest advice, the distraught heroine squirts an indeterminate amount of liquid Lysol up her gash and returns home, where her husband is waiting with flowers. The ad further states that "thousands of modern women rely on 'Lysol' for feminine hygiene." It is impossible to determine how many cunts were cauterized by such wrongheaded medical advice.
So tell her to put away the oven cleaners. Instead, gently suggest that she funnel a truckload of yogurt with live cultures into her gaping black hole. A fresh infusion of yogurt's acidophilus bacteria will replenish the healthful bacteria she'll need to fight the good fight against embarrassing odors. Vinegar or cranberry-juice douches are also recommended as sane ways to restore order between her legs. For yeast infections, a garlic clove wrapped in cheesecloth and rammed up the snatch may do the trick, as may a tampon dipped in a three-percent solution of potassium sorbate. And as mentioned earlier, doctor-prescribed topical creams can prevent the invisible fishies from ever swimming upstream again.
Do flies buzz around your paramour's pudenda? Does her quim make you queasy? If you're nauseated with all the flounder-flavored cunt-puke which flows from her hole like so much Girl Lava, it's your sacred obligation as a boyfriend to tell her about it. Should couples engage in frank discussions about pussy smell? Indeed. You can't blame a gal for smelling that way--only for not taking care of it. As her lover, you bear equal responsibility in assuring that she presents a clean, fresh-faced pussy to the world. It's your duty to offer gentle persuasion and softly muttered suggestions. And if the bitch doesn't clean up her act, you should abandon her like the mud-wallowing sow she is.
Perhaps Rome fell not because it threw so many orgies, but because it didn't clean up afterward. A woman's gash should be her highest treasure, but all too often it is her shame. A lady's cum-bucket can either be a gleaming tabernacle or a reeking Port-A-Potty. It all comes down to proper bacterial management. Sex should be something wonderful, not a test of one's endurance in germ warfare. The vaginas of America's women MUST be cleansed. If a nation cannot control the stink of its women, that nation is surely doomed to perish.
(published previously in New Rave magazine, The Probe magazine, and the Atomic Books catalog.)