I’m going to go there today. By the end of this post, I’m going to write out a word—which, unfortunately, entails having to think it about it, silently sound it out, and type the letters across this screen—a word that’s one of my “shudder words.” I hate hearing it, I hate saying it, I hate all the it stands for, implicitly and explicitly. But by the end of this post, I’m going to say it, write it, and OWN IT.
This word begins with “qu,” as in, “queen,” and rhymes with “leaf.” It’s another word for “vaginal flatulence.” Only one who has the great luck to possess a vagina is able to do it. It’s not a pleasant sounding word and the verb—the action being labeled—is not an attractive thing to do. The noun—the label one is assigned once she’s done it in yoga class—is not an attractive thing to be.
But, you know what? I’ve been thinking about this. Farting is funny, right? I can write about farting, joke about farting, laugh about farting. My friends think it’s funny. My husband thinks it’s funny. My 7-yr-olds think its funny. Even Sola—little, dainty, princess-girl—thinks it’s funny. Fart, fart, fart. Ha, ha, ha.
Do you know why I think farting is this big joke that we are comfortable with, relatively speaking? I’ll tell you why. Because, in 2012, we live in a patriarchal society, where a woman STILL EARNS 77 CENTS TO EVERY DOLLAR a man makes and because a woman has one little body part that is able to produce and distribute a funny little noise that MEN DON’T HAVE.
So we are ashamed and act like it’s not even a real thing. Obviously, this phenomenon had not become so relevant for me until I had three human beings emerge from my vagina which, apparently, can now suck in more air than a free-diver emerging off the coast of Oahu, and then I took up a physical group activity that has me twisting and bending in all kinds of crazy ways.
And now, Internets, from what I can tell, these are the rules of etiquette when it comes to qu***ing in yoga class (and I have been both the culprit and the witness.):
- Every time you move into a new position, clench all muscles from the lower abdominal to the upper thigh, even the ones you’ve only heard are there, but can’t actually confirm, as they are numb from being clinched all the time.
- Move very, very s-l-o-w-l-y and hope that everyone will attribute your pace to the dancer-like grace with which you flow through each pose.
- If you accidentally begin to relax for once in your life and a little (or a lot) of air escapes from your, ahem, lady parts, move more quickly now, to rustle up some other noise and wish, for the millionth time, that your yoga instructor would just play some music during class. It doesn’t even matter, at this point, if it’s Enya or Kenny G or whoever. JUST TURN ON SOME MUSIC!!!
- As your face gets hot and turns very red and you try to cover as much of it as possible with your hair and wonder if you should apologize or joke or say something to your fellow yogis, decide not to and write about it on the Internet for complete strangers, instead.
- Although you have just heard the funniest noise come out of the bottom end of a woman next to you who looks so perfect in her Lululemon pants and headband and supportive-yet-casual tank and you want to burst out laughing, you act like a zippy, airy, blubber-noise did not just interrupt an otherwise quiet, peaceful class and go home and write about it on the Internet for complete strangers, instead.
So, anyway. I queef sometimes in yoga. (I should have known. Spell-check doesn’t even recognize this as a word.) And it’s really funny. It’s embarrassing, but it’s also really funny. I don’t know whether to laugh, or apologize, or both. If it were a fart, it wouldn’t be worth a blog post. But it’s a queef, and there is something about the sound…the quickness and dryness of the air, I guess, that makes it so obvious it’s a queef, even for those people who try to claim it’s a fart, as if that is SO MUCH LESS embarrassing.
We queef, ladies. Say it above a whisper. QUEEF, QUEEF, QUEFF. Let’s say it and own it and hope that this is one more step towards the great equalizer: earning that golden 100 cents.