The one where it’s impossible not to use the word vagina

What Mel Did - black woman wearing towel in bathroom

Spoiler alert: this post contains the words vagina, bottom and bleach. Yes.

In an establishment I frequent Monday through Friday, one of the toilets was malfunctioning. It would backfill and spray its contents upwards every time the adjacent toilet was flushed. On the good news front, the problem was reported and allegedly fixed. Hurrah!

However, on Tuesday the word ‘allegedly’ became more important than the word ‘fixed.’ Availing myself of the facilities, a gush of toilet water and bleach backfilled and sprayed up into my vagina, bottom and related cousins bringing wet tears to my eyes. I may have shouted something like ‘Oh dear’ (!) as the woman in the adjacent toilet was anxious to know if I was alright. She was also blissfully unaware that flushing her own business had put paid to mine. I saw little point in enlightening her and managed a “Yes, thank you,” through clenched… well, through clenched everything.

Back at my desk, I didn’t pay much attention to the slight stinging down below since women of a certain age expect anything when it comes to our downstairs plumbing. I did, however, raise an eyebrow when stinging turned into an insistent burning sensation. Like cystitis without the laughs or yogurt. Thankfully, it was near the end of the working day so proper investigation could take place back at chez mine.

Come to find out that while a nether region investigation would have been the work of mere moments when younger, in middle-age, the suppleness required to engineer a squat and wield a hand mirror at the same time is nigh impossible. As a photographer, however, a mini tripod and DSLR is an ageing mad woman’s dream – or would have been until the battery ran out.

Antics, yes, but it was important I find out if (1) my lady purse was still intact, (2) was the colour I remember it the last time I saw it back in 1987 and (3) that it and neighbouring bits had not fused together.

There again, as the discomfort was indeed lessening, I resigned myself to a homestylee irrigation in the bathroom with camomile lotion and a shower head. Although, in hindsight it may have been Pepto Bismol.

Back at the establishment the following morning, part of the day was spent looking for the appropriate form and policy for drive-by bleachings of vaginas. The form which came the closest was ‘Changes to your personal details.’

As I said, some weeks you just couldn’t make it up.


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