Ed note: February is not only the month d'amour, but also the month d'Eve Ensler, when the famous author and solo performer loosens the rights to her Vagina Monologues so colleges and community theaters can produce the show for free. We asked solo performer and author Lauren Weedman and her vagina to add a monologue of their own to the 10-year-old, Obie Award–winning collection.
Eve Ensler changed my life.
Seven years ago, I saw her perform The Vagina Monologues in the Bullitt Cabaret. It was no surprise that ACT had chosen to do the show—I'd had a meeting with the artistic director when I first moved to town and I remember thinking: "Is he staring at my crotch? He must really like vaginas. He should do a show about them." And he did!
Before I saw The Vagina Monologues, I'd tried to feel empowered and free about my "V." I'd jump on my bed, screaming: "My vagina has something to say!" My boyfriend would bolt out of bed and run down the hall. He didn't want to listen to it droning on and on about feeling fat and how it's being followed by packs of dogs and the FBI. Plus, with its heavy lateral lisp and thick Greek accent, my vagina was difficult to understand.
My vagina wasn't used to speaking in public. It had been silenced not by war, rape, or God, but by a few bitter (but hilarious!) gay boys I'd dated in high school. "It's a myth that anyone wants to spend any time down there at all," they'd say. "It's disgusting and I'm sorry you have to carry it around with you. I won't be visiting. You can send me a postcard. But not a picture postcard."
I went underground with my vagina. I taught it to read and let it wear blue jeans. "Someday, you will have your day," I promised. "Just wait..."
Then along came Eve.
As I sat in the audience, my "South Virginia" suddenly burst into life. I could hear its muffled cries: "Me! She's talking about me! Move to the front row so I can see." Ten minutes into the show, all the women started scooting their chairs and uncrossing their legs so their vaginas could watch, too. My vagina and I particularly remember how hilarious Whoopi Goldberg's vagina was, and that woman who forgot she even had a vagina. The mere thought of a vagina overwhelmed her and she'd taught herself to pee out of her fingertips to avoid the embarrassment "it."
At that time, you had to be a freethinking hippie to go to a show at ACT that didn't star R. Hamilton Wright and had "vagina" stamped on the ticket stub. The audience was made up of Seattle women who had just come from painting likenesses of their vaginas with their vaginas on mugs and placemats. These women hauled wood from the shed with their vaginas. The men in attendance were given pocket pussies when they walked in so they wouldn't feel weird. (Or maybe the guy next to me just happened to have one.)
After the show, I began a life of vaginal celebration. Videos were made and haircuts given. I became very comfortable expressing myself regarding "it." Maybe too comfortable.
Just last week—seven years after my Eve Ensler empowerment evening—I got up from a couch after a business meeting and noticed that I had produced a giant V on the cushion where I was sitting. My legs had been sweating (very hot right now: "ISO nonsmokers with sweating legs"). The sweaty V was too much to not mention.
"Sorry I left a giant vag mark on your new couch," I said and threw my head back, preparing to join the inevitable laughter—but my head was left flung back. No laughter. I stared upward and finally broke the tension with, "I have ceilings in my apartment, too."
As soon as we were out of the office, my coworker admonished me: "Don't say 'vag' in a meeting—much less 'vag mark.' And was that really a vag mark? 'Cause that was huge. Gross."
He was angry, so I didn't tell him the truth. I was being paid to leave that mark as advertising for The Vagina Monologues, coming soon to a community theater near him, starring a local newscaster, a city councilwoman, and his mom.