Since my alone day spent poolside was rained out, I decided to sit down in a quiet, (err…. other than the resonant snore of my dog), house and see if the blog that’s been in my heart for a while will come to fruition. I’ve blogged about something similar before, but this has a twist.
I have seen The Vagina Monologues performed locally twice. Once at the McKinney Performing Arts Center and once at The Guitar Sanctuary. I read the book MANY years ago in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. I’ve noticed this book/play always evokes a strong response among women. Typically, men don’t even know what it is and are scared to ask. My husband went with me to see it performed once. I’m sure he would’ve rather been somewhere else but he went for me. I don’t think he saw it as man-hating, or at least he never gave me that impression. Most women have at least some sort of idea what it is. I always think it’s sad if they’re very “anti” and have never read or seen it performed. I’ve gathered that it is considered feminist by some. I don’t see it that way at all. I think it’s ignites unity and is a celebration of women – mind, soul, and body. As the show progresses, you can feel the energy in the room shift. You can begin to see what can happen when we band together. I believe in lifting other women up. I believe in supporting other women. I have never had to dull another woman’s sparkle for mine to be brighter. I wouldn’t want to. I believe if you think a woman is beautiful mentally, spiritually, or physically -- you should tell her. At the risk of sounding super crunchy, I do believe in the power of sisterhood.
Full discloser, the play’s audience is mostly women with a few men sprinkled throughout. You always assume they’re faithful husbands dragged there by the women in their lives. I see women of all ages relating to the same stories. I see women of all walks of life laugh and cry at the gut-wrenching monologues. I see women nodding in agreement that their own bodies are a mystery to them, too. So yeah, I just see unity. Oh, and it’s racy as all get-out so don’t act like I didn’t either acknowledge it or warn you about it. Yes, every euphemism for ‘vagina’ will be heard. If you blush easily, this ain’t for you. It’s not for everybody – that I get. Believe it or not though, that’s not what this is about. Bear with me.
A few weeks ago, Jason and I enjoyed a date night at a little wine bistro. As I sat enjoying our overpriced brie platter, I saw one of the cast members from The Vagina Monologues. She has a very distinctive look so she’s super recognizable. She is very tall, has short super-blonde spiky hair, and is thin -- very modelesque. I remembered reading in her bio that she is originally from California, she has kids, and once lived in Thailand. I read that while sipping a vodka tonic waiting for the show to start. I remember thinking how cool it must’ve been to live in Thailand and wondering what in the world took her there. Her monologues were fantastic. She was excellent in the show and clearly memorable.
While dining at the bistro, I saw her exit the back door and she walked right by us. I recognized her immediately. I looked at Jason and reminded him who she was. I told him how badly I’d love to walk over and say hello. He strongly encouraged me to do so. I wanted to tell her how awesome I thought she was in the show. It’s funny when we stop ourselves from approaching a stranger to say something nice. We can create a list of reasons why it’s the dumbest idea we’ve ever had. “Naaaaaah. They’ll think I’m weird. Some kind of stalker.” She stood for a moment in the archway of the final exit. I sat and debated walking over to her. I would physically almost rise and then talk myself out of it and sit back down. I noticed she had on teeny jean shorts. Her legs were tan and went on for days. Time was lapsing. As this internal struggle went on, my focus temporarily shifted to a table of three ladies to my left. I saw them see her. I dialed down the volume of the surrounding conversations and turned up theirs. I could tell by their physical behavior they were not as taken with her as I was. They noticed her shorts. They each took turns with their snarky comments and judgmental glances as they sipped their sparkling wine. Their snarled noses and shifty eyes made their high-end pastel summer ensembles look so much less appealing. Coordinate with all the Damier Azur Louis Viuttons you like, ladies; you can’t mask that level of bitter. All she had done was walk by and they already had her sized up. I secretly began hoping one would choke on her prosciutto flatbread.
The point is, the woman being scrutinized is the antithesis of everything those women did. Of all the women to be judged so harshly, it’s a woman that is all about acceptance and love for other women. Then again, maybe that’s why she fights so avidly against it. Maybe that’s why she promotes it on a grander scale than most. Maybe she gets this a lot. Maybe it’s because she’s tall and thin. Maybe it’s because women are really hard on one another. I’m guessing she knows that. I know that, too.
I never got up to tell her I thought she was magnificent. I got distracted by cattiness and lost my opportunity. I looked up and the archway was empty. In that moment, it came full-circle WHY I should’ve gotten up. This is a clear-cut case of irony. I should’ve gotten up for the same reason the play exists. Build each other up because those eager to tear down come in much higher numbers.