I have mentioned before that I have Tourette's syndrome. I'm also afflicted with something even worse: Vaginaphobia.
I've spent a lot of thought-energy on this diagnosis. While it's hard to pinpoint the exact moment I became ill, I've identified several experiences that may be responsible for this ailment.
1. My Moms underwear. As a kid I was a bedwetter so I had to learn to load and unload the washing machines with my soiled bedsheets. Often I would reach into the dryer and inadvertently feel the staticky silkiness of my moms special unmentionables. This gave me a serious case of the heebie jeebies. Now my wife wears them. Fantastic. We don't call them the "passion killers" for nothing. It's a wonder I'll even sleep next to a woman who wears the same underwear as my mom.
Once my friend Bren had a peculiar look on his face as he sort-of danced over and said, "Dave, I feel so free. I ran out of clean underwear so I had to wear some that my wife got from her mom to wear when she was too pregnant to fit into her own." I think he must have wanted to see my sensitive gag reflex in action. (Another disorder of mine.)
2. Luisas dirty jeans. My half-sister Luisa was so cool. She listened to cool music. She danced like Madonna. How could I have predicted the look of fear and revulsion she wore when she caught me trying on her sweet unisex Girbaud jeans. "They're dirty," she explained. "So what?" I said. "No, I mean they're really dirty," and she gave me a look that let me know it had something to do with periods and playtex. I was too young to understand the exact mechanics of it, but I knew it was bad, and from the look on her face, I knew I would never touch my sisters jeans again.
3. Zeebo once showed me the toilet. That's right folks, during a nice evening with her family, my high school girlfriend beckoned me to the bathroom where she proceeded to show me a toilet bowl full of an unseemingly large turd and a gory torpedo she had just unloaded. "This is what girls have to go through," she said with an accusatory glare. A normal guy would have run away and never looked back for fear of turning into a pillar of salt. I was too lerpy for that. I thought I had participated in some kind of initiation. It was as if all the cool guys had seen menstrual blood and I was now one with the dudes. I think I walked back to the living room and resumed watching TV with her dad. Inside I knew I would never be the same again. Ever.
4. Meat packaging. You know the Carl's Jr. commercial where the guy is standing in front of the meat counter looking confused and lost? It says, "Without us, some guys would starve." That's kind-of like me. If I had to kill everything I ate, I'd probably be a vegetarian, but it would be easier for me to skin, gut, and fry an animal, than it is for me to peel off the cellophane and lift a steak from the styrofoam plate to reveal the gory maxi pad beneath it. That is probably the grossest product on the market. "What's your line of work, Fred?" "Oh, I make those industrial blood sponges for the meat industry. Nice work if you can get it."
5. T.V. commercials. I don't want to know about feminine freshness, dryness, moisture, itching or chafing. I would much rather remain in the dark about light days, heavy days, and chunky days. It can't be good for a woman's self-esteem to buy the ultra-absorbent heavy-flow extra-large tampons either. I had to buy them once and it was the worst day of my life. My wife sent me to Costco to get them and as luck would have it, they only come in a fifty pound box there. I must have looked really cool pushing a huge cartload of tampons up to the register. I tried to hide them with a flat of muffins but it was no use.
I've gotten fat. I own a mini-van. I'm even losing some hair. But nothing is as emasculating as buying tampons for your wife.
Maybe I'm wrong about this. That's the nature of phobias though. They are irrational. I know in my mind that there's nothing to be afraid of, but that does nothing to keep down the goosebumps.