My friend Lissa Rankin is a gynecologist, which means she has some really fucked-up stories. She also has a book called What’s Up Down There: Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend which is about vaginas. Or possibly Australia. I don’t know. I haven’t read it yet because I’m not a very good friend. Also because it’s not out yet. Mostly that first one though. I did however, convince Lissa to come on today and answer some niggling vagina questions for me.Also, I’m pretty sure that’s the first time anyone has ever used the phrase “niggling vagina.” This is all new territory. HIGH FIVE, Y’ALL.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Me: My friend Kevin and I made up a less boring version of “rock, paper, scissors” called “penis, vagina, dynamite” but we can’t agree on the rules. Who would win in a fight between a penis and a vagina? I say penis stabs vagina but Kevin says vagina devours penis. Technically, it doesn’t matter since dynamite explodes all genitals but we need a professional to settle this. Go.
Lissa: The word “vagina” comes from the Latin root “sheath for a sword,” and a sheath can’t be stabbed by a sword, eh? Vagina devours penis fo’ sho. Why do you think guys are so scared of us? But luckily for you and Kevin, in the new game you're making up, dynamite (orgasms) means everyone wins.
Me: How often do you have to treat women who are smuggling heroin in their vagina and the baggie bursts? Does that get them really high or does it just ruin the heroin?
Lissa: It doesn’t happen very often. Those women willing to stuff heroin up their snatches seem to know how to do it right. In What’s Up Down There, I describe a patient who literally used her vagina like a Gucci bag- not just for drugs but for lipstick, money, Chapstick—you know, purse stuff. Turns out that she was molested as a child and figured her vagina gave her nothing but trouble, so she might as well put it to good use. It’s heartbreaking really.
Me: If you were giving a woman a Pap smear and you noticed that she had a large growth in her vagina, but it was in the exact shape of Jesus, would you still remove it?
Lissa: Jesus is my homeboy, but yes, I’d remove it. Then I’d sell it on Ebay for $1.7 million. Reminds me of a story my friend Dr. Christiane Northrup’s daughter Kate told me about her mama. Dr. Northrup was looking in a woman’s vagina and found a tag—you know, one of those tags they attach to mattresses that read, “Do not remove under penalty of law.” And here she is, looking into a speculum, wondering whether the fascist police state is going to swoop down and arrest her. Did she think twice about it? Yes. Did she remove it? Yes. Even if it’s Jesus or a mattress tag, it’s gotta go.
Me: What if it was in the shape of Elvis?
Lissa: Now you’ve upped the ante to $4 million on Ebay.
Me: Hypothetically, if I have an IUD that’s been in for like eight months longer than you’re supposed to have it in, am I going to die?
Lissa: No, but it could grow through your uterine wall and wind up in your diaphragm (yup, true story). And you could wind up with more than just an expired IUD in your uterus. (Can you say FETUS?)
Me: I have a friend who says he can give me free vaginal exams since veterinarians are almost the exact same thing as gynecologists. And he’s not a gynecologist. Also, he’s not really my friend. He’s the homeless guy that sits outside my bus station. I should say no to that, right?
Lissa: My ex is a veterinarian, and I’m proud to say there’s a cat in San Diego who is the only cat to have been spayed by a gynecologist (me). But I wouldn’t recommend making the switch the other way around. Suffice it to say that vet’s hand has been some places you don’t want touching your pussy. Trust me on this one. But oh—you say he’s not actually a vet? He’s the homeless guy at the bus station? Uh, Jenny, you’ll have to field that one yourself. To each her own.
Me: I was watching your video preview of your book and you mentioned that one of the issues you answer is women whose boyfriends say that their “vagina does not taste good.” My answer would be “Stop dating cannibals.” Don’t you find this is all pretty common-sense stuff?
Lissa: I hear you, sister. But you’d be surprised how many of the answers I didn’t know. And I’m supposed to be the expert! Like why DO we have pubic hair? Honestly, I had to look it up.
Me: What’s the strangest thing anyone has ever come to see you for? Here’s my guess: Haunted vagina.
Lissa: Ooh, is that when you carry in your coochie the ghosts of lovers past that come out and shout “boo” when the next person enters? Yup. Seen that one. But the strangest thing? One woman showed up in the ER screaming “I got vines growin’ outta my jojo!” I snapped on a pair of gloves, and when she opened her legs, an awful stench filled the ER. Sure enough, this lady had vines growin’ outta her jojo. I asked her if she put something up there—like maybe, vines—or some big, gross grey thing that was filling up her vagina so I couldn’t get my speculum in. She said “Oh, that? It’s just a potato. MeeMaw told me if I put a potato in there, I wouldn’t get pregnant, and wouldn’t you know, it worked!” Swear to God. You can’t make this stuff up.
Me: Well, one would certainly hope not.