A flower by any other name is a vagina

November 18, 2014

thThe other day girlfriend told me that her nursing aide referred to her “flower.”  Which apparently isn’t that uncommon–it’s an endearing term for vagina that was new to US.

After the predictable hilarity (“I must prune my flower. Or water it. Trim it.”  Just fill in the blank and know we laughed our flowers off.)

Where was I?

Oh yes, after the predictable hilarity, I started to think. Which can be dangerous.

Because, as you know, I have a bone to pick with our newish need to toss the terms penis and vagina around like they were fetch toys.

Now, just to head off what you’re thinking: I’m a doctor’s kid and we were taught young to use the proper terms for our private parts. The anatomically correct ones.

However, we never did think we needed to see the terms in every essay or on every TV program in a way that looks suspiciously like attention-getting.

Now, I don’t have a problem with using proper terms for these body parts. But I do have a problem with hearing them every time I turn around.

Vagina just isn’t a very pretty word.  The “g” is harsh.  Penis isn’t much better.

Flower? It’s lovely. Everything the word connotes is lovely.  Even Georgia O’Keeffe got it:

black_iris_jun_05Now, in my culture, when we talk about these things, we use various Italian words that are meant to be funny. And in the discussion about “flowers” we called those Italian terms all out loud, because we were five Italian-Americans having some after-dinner laughs.

But in the end, we decided we liked “flower” pretty well.

Better even. And I’m going to adopt it as my new term.

Flower.  Yes, I like the sound of it.

You?  What do YOU like? and how do you feel about seeing the words vagina and penis all over the place?

37 comments on “A flower by any other name is a vagina
  1. wendy says:

    Flower is miles better than “va-jay-jay” and “lady garden”, but I think I’d spend the rest of my life blushing whenever someone compliments me on my beautiful flowers. I think I’m going to stick to the boring, yet accurate medical terms!

  2. puneet kumar says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. You have written this delicate thing very sweetly and with full of informative. I enjoyed knowing about the painter – Georgia O’Keefe after reading here.

  3. The other day I posted something about how blessed I felt with the travel I’ve done in the past. There was a photo of the sculpture of David from when we were in Italy, in all of David’s glory.

    My dad, who reads my blog regularly, mentioned that my darling grandmother once asked if they could cover David’s penis with a fig leaf! He wrote this on FB. To see my dad write that word for me was something new, a word he never used in front of me. I can’t explain it but it looked so strange. Well, I guess flower would have been nicer, but not as effective! Haha!

  4. I like flower! I do get a little tired of seeing the words/hearing the words. Flower it will be!

  5. I’m sticking with vagina and penis! 🙂

  6. Ricki says:

    I raised my son to know the anatomically correct terms for body parts. In the car one day when he was about 5, a ziploc bag of cashews he had forgotten about slid out from under the seat and he proclaimed “Oh, my nuts!” I had to pull over to stop laughing.

  7. Carolann says:

    OMG I can totally relate to this one. I love the term “flower” I think it’s cute and polite. My daughter always calls her period, her “moon” which I think is awesome too. We were taught to use the correct terms too. I came from Italian upbringing too which we delivered some hysterical funny terms too. great post..make me smile 🙂

  8. Linda Roy says:

    I was just going to mention Georgia O’Keefe! And Robert Mapplethorpe. They knew. 😉

  9. Diane says:

    My mother would have had a coronary if any of those words were spoken within her hearing. And to hear them on TV or read them in an article? The mind boggles. I think I prefer flower, too!

  10. I think these terms have an appropriate place in a clinical setting, or in private. In public I appreciate referring to these anatomical areas as fodder for instant hilarity, as in: vajj, bongadingdong, nether regions, mother’s little helper, the big bad wolf, the apple tree. Gets a laugh every time.

  11. I like this lots better…until someone decides to “fertilize” it that could be messy!

  12. Hi Carol! I do think calling a vagina a “flower” and everything that can be associated with it would be great fun with a girlfriend (especially during happy hour) but I’m sticking with the real names. It took me a long time to actually say them when they are appropriate so I’m not back-sliding now! ~Kathy

  13. Ruth Curran says:

    I am such a prude and I know…. I just avoid the subject. Crazy, I know but avoidance makes dealing with the proper terminology.☺

  14. D. A. Wolf says:

    This post cracked me up! It’s extraordinary how much shit we’ll watch and listen to on TV – absolutely horrendous behavior – but we’re uncomfortable naming our parts with anatomically correct terms.

    On the other hand, an overly generous sprinkling of vaginas and cocks doesn’t make for (dare I say it, but allow me to spell it correctly)… “aural” pleasure.

    Flower is very poetic.

    I have also read French erotica that refers to “petals” (equally pretty)… Then again, the French (people) I know more have a very entertaining set of terms (far superior to the ear), and also, “sexe” – that works for the sex organs of either gender.

    By the way. O’Keeffe’s flowers are lush and elegant. I reviewed a show of her work some years back. Gorgeous.

    • No, no, NO, DA…it is either vagina and penis OR pussies and cocks…the terms do NOT mix! Petals…I like it. Yes, our English terms are just too harsh. Now if only we can come up with something better for penis…

  15. Michelle R says:

    This entire discussion is a laugh riot!! As a kid, I was always so embarrassed to talk about my business…we never used anything close to correct. So, when I had kids, I was determined to call it what it is, not transfer my childhood weirdness on to them, etc. We’d go through the whole “where’s your nose? where’s your belly? where’s your knee? where’s your penis? etc. etc.” We never used slang. Fast forward…along comes baby girl. I start the same thing, using all the correct terms. Then out of the blue, dad begins referring to her vagina as her “goodies.” Seriously?! Not cool. One day I pick up by 3-year-old daughter from daycare, and get a long talk about how she referenced her “goodies” in class, which caused much discussion. “What are goodies? Can I have some? Who has goodies? I want goodies!” So embarrassed.

  16. Ha! We had all kinds of nicknames for the vagina growing up, but flower wasn’t one of them. 🙂

  17. Kelly says:

    Honestly, I think the flowery language is silly. They’re body parts, plain and simple. Vagina, penis, clitoris, testicles…who cares? It’s the aftermath of the Puritanical anti-pelvic obsession. Great post!

  18. I taught my daughters to use the correct terms, though I still don’t care to read and hear them all the time. And flowers? Well, I prefer them to be the colorful ones outside my door.

  19. Flower sounds nice. And, of course, everything sounds better in french 🙂

  20. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Remember (although this was really the previous generation) when women didn’t perspire; they glowed? Another euphemism.

  21. Risa says:

    For some reason, this made me think of shrubs, which are fruit-flavored vinegars that are a thing in cocktails now. And this is how my mind works. Flowers, shrubs. . .

  22. OMG hilarious! Honestly, I don’t think it matters what you call them — they still are what they are, and people will blush and make jokes and use them for shock value. I’d rather keep flowers pure 🙂

  23. Jackie says:

    I can think of worse words than vagina and penis, that’s for sure! I’m with you, though, I kind of like flower! And, yeah, I’m a big Georgia O’Keefe fan!

  24. Mary Buchan says:

    I absolutely loved reading this post. My first job as a nurse was taking care of elderly nuns. During the bed bath we would say, “Sister, Here is the wash rag so you can wash your Rosemary.”

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