Get Laid Now, Ask a Vagina How

Attention men of Earth: Vagina Monologues will get you in good with the dames


Eight years ago, the vaginas of the world started speaking. They haven't shut up since.

The occasion was the first V-Day in New York City, an event sparked by performance artist and writer Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, a series of narratives compiled from interviews with more than 200 women about that . . . place down there. That lone event, held on Valentine's Day, was such a success that every year since, thousands of V-Day benefits have been held across the globe (this year, more than 1,100 colleges and communities in 54 countries will stage V-Day celebrations, from Sri Lanka to Los Angeles' Skid Row) and millions of dollars have been raised for anti-violence groups, safe houses, battered women's shelters and hot lines.

Which makes Ensler's series of monologues one of the most produced pieces of theater in the world and, possibly, the most produced play in the history of Western civilization—besides the eternal passion play of men begging women for sex. The movement this play galvanized is laudable—if for no other reason than it's given Valentine's Day a reason to exist, other than as a mercenarily manufactured day of forced consumeristic sentimentality. But you can't help but wonder if, in the process of its canonization, the merits of the play aren't getting lost. Because, as literature, it's a wonderfully written, poignant, funny piece about women and their sexuality, humanity, identity, fears, joys and relationships with . . . that place down there.

When performed well, it's also a moving, arresting, eminently entertaining piece of theater that could do more to mend the communication rift between men and woman than a 24-hour John Gray seminar. But men, at least a lot of the ones I know, would run in terror at the very mention of seeing something called "The Vagina" anything. Because men, at least the ones I know, may obsess, dream, pine, pursue and plan elaborate ways to get into a vagina, but they're uncomfortable around one. We may think we know how to take care of women when called upon to perform some valorous deed or other, but we're not really on speaking terms with them—or their vaginas. Its language is utterly decipherable: mysterious, powerful and evocative, a voice we can hear but not truly understand because we don't have a . . . place down there.

This is why Ensler's play is so important for men. It is language from, and about, the vagina that we can understand. It's women-empowering and liberating, definitely, but it's not a man-hating manifesto that demands women grab a butcher knife and slice off the first set of testicles they see. It's a great piece of theater that anyone but the most prudish should enjoy. So get thee to a local production of The Vagina Monologues.You will laugh. You will listen. You will learn. You might even wind up visiting . . . that place down there.

V-DAY BENEFITS WILL BE HELD IN FEBRUARY AT CAL STATE LONG BEACH, GOLDEN WEST COLLEGE, ORANGE COAST COLLEGE, UC IRVINE, WHITTIER COLLEGE AND SADDLEBACK COLLEGE, WHOSE PRODUCTION IS FIRST, FEB. 1-3. FOR MORE INFO, VISIT WWW.VDAY.ORG.

 
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