View from the fray

Unshaven, thong-hating girl pride

So Reno’s got another claim to fame. We appreciate vaginas here in northern Nevada. In that regard, we’re much like the notoriously feminist metropolis of Oklahoma City.

“We’re making a map of all the vagina-friendly cities in the nation,” said Margot “Lois Lane” Kidder on Saturday. Kidder was one of three speakers performing in The Vagina Monologues last weekend at the Pioneer Center. “And Reno is definitely on the map.”

The crowd of mostly women filling the Pioneer cheered ecstatically. Who knew there existed here in Reno—outside of strip club performances—a rowdy bunch of females with such unrepressed sexuality?

OK, so how was the show? Glad you asked.

I was prepared to be bored. After all, three women sitting on stage and talking. About their bodies. Doesn’t exactly sound like a thrill a minute. Ever been forced to read a master’s thesis on something like hydrology? I went to the show because it felt good to get out of the house and away from the kids and Mount Saint Dirty Laundry.

Surprise. Along with the many, many other raucous middle-aged women, I thought the whole 90-minute production was hilarious. From the line, “You can not love a vagina unless you love hair,” to what was perhaps the most beautiful description of childbirth I’d ever heard, I was rapt.

The demographic of me fits the intended audience. I am 37 years old. I’ve been married forever. In my personal quest to overpopulate the planet, I’ve survived five natural childbirths.

I sat with a group of News & Reviewers. Former RN&R intern Mary Henry, a UNR student who’s 24, found some Monologue moments to be, well, weird.

It was strange, Mary said, to watch a crowd of Reno women claiming the word “cunt,” complete with a bit of light cheerleader-like spelling—“Gimme a ‘C’!” And then there was Margot Kidder’s rendition of the “surprise triple orgasm” moan, complete with multifaceted panting, lurching, squawking and such.

“It’s kind of like listening to your grandmother talk about having sex,” Mary said.

I’m pretty sure Kidder is not old enough to be Mary’s grandmother. Kidder’s dramatic five-minute moan was a grand finale to one monologue based on interviews with a sex worker. She’d been a lawyer. The sex worker, that is, not Kidder.

The show’s underlying concept: A couple hundred women were interviewed about their vaginas, and from that writer Eve Ensler gleaned the material for the show.

“At first women were reluctant to talk,” Monologues begins. “They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn’t stop them. Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They get very excited, mainly because no one’s ever asked them before.”

And now we know that Renoites secretly love to listen to women talking about their vaginas. If we could just harness all that female power to accomplish something. Anything. Education. Gender equity. On our way out of the Pioneer, most women pitched in a few bucks to help out agencies that assist victims of domestic violence.

A bit of gender elation—unshaven, thong-hating pride—stayed with me well into the next day. It faded fast. And then there was a huge pile of laundry waiting to be folded.