Having their say 

The human vagina has more nooks and crannies than a Thomas' English muffin. If you've ever owned or operated one of these things you know that for intricacy and complication, they make the Space Shuttle look like a Big Wheel. They have more delightful surprises than Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory, or, on bad-mood days, more spooky shockers than a Jaycee's Haunted House. Everyone has come into contact with them -- even really dedicated gay men emerged from one -- and whatever you think about the whole pink pleasure palace or its blood-and-babies aspect, you have to admit they've done a lot for this world. Many are eager to do a lot more.

Which is why it's only fair that vaginas get to be the title characters in their own play, "The Vagina Monologues," which everyone has heard of even if they're not theater or genitalia buffs. It's not a title you forget. As playwright Eve Ensler is the first to admit, you don't hear the word "vagina" much in everyday life, though I doubt the memorable nature of the title is due to sexism: If you heard there was an Off Broadway show called "The Chatty Penis," you'd probably remember that, too.

Double the fun

Anyway, I haven't seen but have read "The Vagina Monologues"; it's a really funny, intriguing and endearing play about a subject that doesn't get enough air. While penises come up plenty in conversation and the media -- "shrinkage," "size does/doesn't matter," cars/guns/ dogs as substitutes -- vaginas generally don't emerge in public discourse, unless the words "yeast" and "itch" are involved, or in porn, where the close-ups are so surreal you have to crane your neck before realizing, yes, it is right-side up. Pop culture has given vaginas the shaft, so it's nice to see them given some depth.

But everyone knows the next step in therapy is group: Once you've come out (e.g., "Hi, my name is Schlitzy and I'm an alcoholic"), you're supposed to get in the game and share. The obvious sequel, then, would be "The Vagina Dialogues," wherein instead of the vaginas giving their insightful but lonesome comments (it's actually their possessors who do the talking in the original), they would get to interact, perhaps even do skits. Like Martin and Lewis, vaginas are fine on their own, but together they could really be something.

To get a mental picture of how this would work, imagine a nice puppet theater, then hold up both your fists a la Señor Wences, so they look like they're conversing. Embellish with lipstick or false beards as desired. (Refrain from sporting mutton-chop sideburns or those little spring curls the rabbi wears.) Don't imagine it wearing panties, or this will have to be a medical drama, which I have no interest in. This done, your subjects are ready to converse.

But what will they say? Ensler interviewed hundreds of women over a period of years to get her talking-coochie show together. You, on the other hand, have nothing. Try to improvise the first volley, which should be obvious:

"You are such a pussy."

"How'd you like a fat lip?"

Privates performance

See? Just like role-playing in therapy. Hostilities released, your Muppets are ready to move on to something more challenging, perhaps an exploration of their complex, often maddening female nature, maybe along the lines of Tennessee Williams:

Left: "Let's face it, I'm no spring chicken. I don't look like one of those Georgia O'Keeffe paintings anymore, unless it was in a fire. Not a gentleman caller in years."

Right: "Oh, honey, that's just the heat talking, you know living in the South makes our lives miserable. Now quit picking at yourself, have a nice cool bath and don't forget, there's always the kindness of strangers."

After getting a little drama out of the system, it's a good time (what time isn't?) to go for some Noel Cowardian comedy:

Left: "How do you feel?"

Right: "No one's complained yet."

And then move along to the dialogue that every actor aspires to, something Shakespearian:

Left: "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Thou ist all around it but not quite hitting the mark."

Right: "The foreplay's the thing."

After this seriousness it might be time to give in to a good old-fashioned musical. The obvious song choices are things such as "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" and "What I Did for Love," but then again there was a ditty in the live-action "Popeye" movie titled "He's Large," and that might be an inspired choice. Whatever. I just want to see them dance.

It will be good to see vaginas teaming up on stages everywhere. As "The Vagina Monologues" is a wonderful play, it only follows that "The Vagina Dialogues" will be twice as good. Of course, once their show is a hit, it's only a matter of time before the vaginas will want to direct. If you've never tried it, it's not a bad idea.

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