I love bathing. I love soaps, bathtubs, bubbles, clean washcloths, good sharp razors for leg and armpit shaving, and other things like breezes through the bathroom window while the bath is going on. I'm interested in weird old-fashioned stories about people who only bathed once a solstice or something like that, and I'm thrilled by how gross everyone's bloomers in Sense and Sensibility probably were. (Very, very gummed up; a complicated mystery to their wearers.) My mother always says that it's rude to give people soap as presents, because you're insinuating that the person has a noticeable hygiene issue. I think she's wrong about this one, because I love having lots of different soaps, and I love putting them in my linen closet to make the towels smell like soap, and I love myself for these preferences.
I've always been afraid that someone will tell someone else that I have a bad smell. This stems from overhearing those high school boys who want both to have sex with a vagina but also to disparage one. I remember a dumb asshole talking about how he finally "ate Ashley out, because it just needed to happen, so I just fuckin' held my nose and went for it, and then I put in a whole pack of Trident," as if he were a young hero whose dear grandmother had dropped her diamond ring in a toilet full of shit, and he had bravely bobbed for it and retrieved it, face first. It makes sense that even though I'd never been afraid or ashamed of my vagina, when I heard vaginas spoken about this way — I was 17 — I got scared that maybe my vagina was against me, that it had a mind of its own and a bad attitude.
This is what I was thinking as I drove myself to get my very first-ever, and probably only-ever "Vajacial." The Vajacial is billed as a facial, but for your pussy. I wasn't sure how major it was going to be. I enjoy getting my face cleaned, and I like the idea of deep, weird dirts getting taken out of my face skin so that I can have a clean face to show everyone. But my vagina is, well, not a face. I don't prefer to show it to everyone, and I do enjoy bathing it without any help.
The fact that The Vajacial exists seems to insist that we need it. And although nobody can intimidate me about my vagina anymore like that 17-year-old boy did in the '90s, I started to feel intimidated by the creeping unknown of: "What if there is something off about me and my body and I don't know about it? And my happiness is about to be ruined?"
I had to say to myself, "You are a cheerful volunteer today. You are not just a hungover lady who is driving to a fancier neighborhood to get her pussy cleaned. Don't do that to yourself." I calmed myself down by focusing on how nice it is to have open windows in the car. It took me a while to find parking; my anxiety spiked. I worried about a sudden attack of crotch B.O., which I don't think is a part of my life, but an ex-boyfriend of mine suffered horribly from it, and it was shocking, like having a growling pet that lives in your house without permission.
I had chosen overalls for my outfit, and my hair was cut into what I think is a lovely, curly globe. I have made an emphasis recently to dress in a way that makes me feel privately pretty. Perhaps The Vajacial would make me feel very privately pretty. Maybe I should have worn a dress? I thought, but then decided that I was right to wear overalls: hiking your dress up to have someone else clean your vagina seems like something a hemophiliac princess would do (in some moment of last-ditch vagina care, done to her by a cousin who is her lady in waiting, all in an effort to prep her royal vag before she is married to her much older brother or something). Whereas taking off your overalls for a vagina experiment seems much more like a thing that a chill candlemaker, a smart sheep farmer with good names for the sheep, or a modern witch would do.
"Hi! I'm here for a … I'm Jenny. Hi" was about what happened between me and the receptionist. She was very smiley, looked in her computer, saw what I was there for, and said, "It's a great treatment. You're really going to love it." I said, "Thanks," in a weak way, because I could tell that nobody cared about anything that was going on. There were lots of gilded mirrors and patterns of fleurs-de-lis. Jessica, a tall woman with long blue hair, showed me into a small room. One wall was painted lavender; the other, closest to the table I was to lie on, was covered in a fuzzy silver wallpaper that I wanted to touch but did not.