Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The other day when I was shopping for wine I came across a crate that advertised “The Best Argentinean Wine You’ll Ever Taste.” I love wine, but I’m particularly fond of Argentinean wine. Bold, red, and audacious—not so much the wine, but my behavior whenever I drink it.

That crate of wine reminded me of a conversation I had with a young girl many years ago, long before I had children of my own. I was at a cocktail party hosted by a dear friend, and after quite a few large goblets of Argentinean wine, found myself conversing with the host’s niece who was about eight-years old and visiting from Israel. I’ll call her Rebecca. I found her fascinating—her father was a scholar on the Torah and her mother was a sexual psychologist. Rebecca was fluent in four languages, and had the most interesting and appealing accent.

Feeling the narcotic effects of the wine, I unexpectedly discovered myself seated beside Rebecca on the oversized Pottery Barn sofa in the far corner of this cavernous pre-war Upper West Side apartment. She told me all about her life as a young expatriate living in Israel; the culture, the people, the food, and the beauty of the land.

          This little girl also told me that her mother was different from all the other mommies because she was very open about talking to her about sex. At 28, I was still waiting for my mother to talk to me about sex, so I sidled up to this little girl thinking she might impart some of her wisdom upon me. As I poured myself another glass of wine she said, “You know, my mommy has a vulva.”

I replied, “Yes, I have one too.”

Rebecca: “Do you like it?”

Me: “I’m fond of it.”

Rebecca: “Have you had any accidents with it?”

Me: “Some close calls, but no, no accidents, thanks be to God!”

Rebecca: “God is good.”

Me: “Yes, he certainly is.”

Rebecca: “And all knowing.”

Me: “That’s what I’m afraid of.”

Rebecca: “Did you order any add-ons for your vulva?”

Me: (Looking around at the lesbian couples.) “No, I married my add-on.”

Rebecca: (confused) “Oh.”

Me: “I’m not a…I mean…I married a man…never mind.”

Rebecca: “Mommy said that dummies rode in her vulva.”

Me: “Yes, we’ve all suffered through a few dummies in our vulva.”

Rebecca: “But it’s good they lived.”

Me: “Well…that’s mommy’s opinion. I’m not as passionate about the dummies who rode in mine.”

Rebecca: “Mommy’s vulva is great on mileage. Is yours?”

Me: (taking long gulp of wine) “Honey, I’m Catholic—I’ll never know.”

Rebecca: “Is there such a thing as a Catholic vulva?”

Me: (another swig of wine) “It’s one of our most sacred mysteries.”

Rebecca: “Do you lease or own your vulva?”

Me: “Neither; I’m Catholic—my husband holds the title to it.”

Rebecca: “Oh. Do you have an automatic or a manual?”

Me: “Again, Catholic. We’re not allowed.”

Rebecca: “My mommy’s mechanic takes good care of her vulva. After Daddy dented it she said Judah is the only man she’ll ever let touch it.”

Me: “The mechanic? Really? Most women I know prefer the UPS man.”

Rebecca: “What does a UPS man know about taking care of a vulva?”

Me: (Lifting my glass of wine up as if giving a toast) “Exactly!”

Rebecca: “Mommy never let any animals in her vulva.”

Me: “I wish I was as smart as your Mommy.”

Rebecca: “Are you drunk?”

Me: “I certainly hope so.”

Rebecca: “You shouldn’t use your vulva when you’re drunk.”

Me: “Lessons my mother never taught me.”

Rebecca: “Really, never use your vulva when you’re drunk. You’ll regret it.”

Me: “Ah, you’ll never know the regrets I have…”

Rebecca: “Are we talking about the same thing?”

Me: Silence.

Rebecca: “I’m talking about a Vol-Voh. You know, the car.”

Me: (Big gulp of wine with a trunk-full of embarrassment.)
And here’s the lesson: When an eight-year old Israeli girl has to phonetically get your mind out of the confessional gutter, it’s either time to call a cab, become a Presbyterian, or hit a bar and order a Presbyterian.   

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