What’s your fanny called?

During a recent discussion with friends, the topic of genital nomenclature for the under-fives came up and we – as many mothers do – were bemoaning the plethora of alternatives to ‘penis’ versus the near wasteland of naming conventions for the ‘vagina’.

Aggravating this dearth of alternative names for ladies’ bits is an inherent squeamishness we feel on uttering (and, I can attest, on typing) that word.  Whereas ‘penis’ is jaunty and chipper, ‘vagina’ is just so…well…in your face.  Sorry. Bit of imagery for you to cope with there.

The word ‘vagina’ feels inexplicably onomatopoeic and, it cannot be denied, sounds far more brutal in a Scottish accent. In particular, voiced in a Glaswegian accent it’s positively aggressive (though very funny).  My cousins from North Ayrshire are the progeny of a medically-trained mother, therefore ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ were drummed into them from a young age (sorry again). There was none of this childish ‘willy’ and ‘front bottom’ nonsense for them.  However, ‘vagina’, at the end of the day, is a three syllable word and what parent can expect their four year old daughter to get it right every time?  Cue cousin, playing at the beach, some distance from her mother. She is possibly digging a hole (sorry), constructing a castle or – more likely in her case – knocking someone else’s down. She stands up from her work, a spec at the shoreline to her sunbathing mother and, clutching her gusset uncomfortably between her splayed legs,  yells distinctly in her Weegie accent, “Mum! Mum!  Ah’ve got sand in ma bajina..!”

A generation later, and Bajina Girl’s niece (ironically her spitting image too and with a mother who followed Granny’s footsteps into the medical field) is in the Glasgow Science Centre, feeling blindly around a ‘Guess the body part’ exhibit.  Hands in the box, touching the various bits and bobs of human anatomy, Granny suggests it’s someone’s lips they are examining.  Disagreeing (depending how you interpret Granny)  in a clear voice to everyone present, the niece states with firm conviction “No, Granny, it’s definitely a vagina”.  Well, at least in this case the pronunciation was faultless.

So. We have established the chipper-ness of ‘penis’ and the potential for cringeworthiness associated with ‘vagina’.  And even young boys sensible enough to have reservations over shouting about their own “penises” in the playground are presented with such an array of alternatives that the scales are clearly tipped in favour of the willy.  So my friends and I were all in agreement that we could find nothing….nothing…suitable to replace ‘vagina’.  There’s the aforementioned ‘front bottom’ which I will not even dignify with further mention.  There’s ‘flower’, but anyone who calls it that is likely to remain with theirs intact until their dying day, when they explode from over-consumption of chocolate and are eaten by their own cats.  Then we have pussy (too American), snatch (vile), fanny (silly, and also too confusing for Americans), poontang (a trashy American car), minge (some bloke came up with that because it’s a combination of moan and whinge), punani (Sacha Baron Cohen probably has that copyrighted) and the King of Inappropriate Names for the Vagina, the c*** (just, NO).  I do have a certain sentimental soft spot for ‘fud’ however it’s too obscure and Scottish for mass-consumption and Warner Brothers probably have a phoenetic copyright on Elmer’s surname.  And if you think these options are bad, check out the other choices here, which are – to a (wo)man – revolting.

So I proposed a solution, nicked from I-can’t-remember-where.  Some woman had called hers by the name of her first Art Teacher (in this case, Mrs McKenzie).  Now, “My Mrs McKenzie” has a certain ring to it (sorry and no, it doesn’t literally).  So I suggested that we all follow suit.  There was a brief pause in the conversation while us women gazed skyward and cast our minds back to our first Art Class, during which my friend’s husband chimed in delightedly from the kitchen, “What, your ‘Clatty Houston’…?!”.

And there it is. The solution to the problem instantly shot down in flames thanks to an unpleasant nickname attributed to one unfortunate Art Teacher at our academy, who presumably suffered from body odour, runny nose, large blackheads or a similar affliction invisible to adults but bold as an archery target to twelve-year old midget tormentors. If you didn’t get all that, you may need an interpretation of ‘clatty‘.

Thankfully, my first arts and crafts teacher was Mrs Beverage.  I’m not entirely convinced that’s a good thing but it has a certain homely ring to it, so I’ll stick with that (once again, apologies for any inadvertent imagery).

Oh, and for the men we made it your Maths Teacher.  It’s a good pub game to play when the conversation’s lagging. I found out my ex-boss (oft likened to Lord Farquaad in ‘Shrek’ due to his rampant ambition and overwhelming wee man syndrome) would be naming his, ‘Mr Derbyshire’.  Soooo appropriate.

So there’s a meme in the making; what have you named your genitalia?


17 Responses to What’s your fanny called?

  1. Such a great read, very much relating to what you’re saying. Have a 10 yr old daughter who thinks nothing of telling me, in public, that she has an itchy vagina. She says it quite loud too. And itchy flower doesn’t quite sound right does it.

    CJ xx

    • jinedin says:

      Not embarassing at all for you, then. But you’re right; ‘flower’ simply doesn’t work. It’s far too simpering a term to go with ‘itchy’.
      I do hope your daugher grows out of this before Big School, though…

  2. MrsW says:

    MrW and I are now rather alarmed at the thought of Mr Deas and Miss Silver getting anywhere near each other.

    I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much first thing in the morning (well….). You write so bloody well woman. Brilliant!

    • jinedin says:

      Heh, heh. Yeah, in this context one has to be careful about laughing-first-thing-in-the-morning comments. That’s what The Drunken Sailor song’s all about, isn’t it?

      And I’m sure Mr Deas and Mrs Silver were made for each other..!

  3. veryanniemary says:

    God, I love it! My ‘Gina’ as my girls put it is now definitely Ms. Phillips (made all the better because she was a scary uptight spinster witch) and Andy’s pride and joy is now the vapid Mr. Davis…he may never recover the little self esteem he had.

    • jinedin says:

      I think you should stick with ‘Gina’ (where on earth did that come from?) and ‘Pride and Joy’. They’re far better…!

      • jinedin says:

        Ah. My little brain (when God was handing them out I thought he said ‘train’ and asked for a small, slow one) has just ground into gear, so it’s just dawned on me that I was pronouncing ‘Gina’ as in the film actress, Davis. It’s actually an abbreviation, isn’t it?

  4. monkeymummy says:

    So very funny! And I must say thanks for the advance warning, my daughter is five months so that gives me a while to plot strategy.

    When I was little I had a “moneybox” and now its “Frieda”, no idea where either of those came from. And my husband simply has a tail. Oh my word, it all just seems so wrong!

    • jinedin says:

      Love ‘Frieda’, a little unsure about ‘tail’ and the potential for confusion but as for ‘Moneybox’…? When you were little?!
      Oh no, no, no. Surely that’s not right.

  5. Wow, we must surely be telepathic. You beat me by one day and yet i have not read your blog before today. Great minds think alike. And i, for one, love your idea of naming said bits after your first teacher. very clever.


  6. nellym says:

    Utterly brilliant 🙂
    I’ll need to find out what hubby’s first maths teacher was called, but as far as I’m concerned, we will start referring to the “Mrs Gutteridge”. Lovely.
    Still, beats some of the choices in that “bestandworst.com” list! I’d seen some of them in my prized possession, the “Roger’s Profanisaurus”, but I’m pretty certain it doesn’t contain ‘cock depot’ 😉

    Anyway, excellent article, you!

    • jinedin says:

      Yep, that list on bestandworst truly plumbed the depths, didn’t it? It was by turns disgusting and baffling.

      • nellym says:

        A winning combination if you ask me 😉
        Throw in some fascination and amusement and that’d be me for a weekend.

        Am hooked on your blog already. I should be working but as a project manager I am hereby making the decision to spend some time on some “online research” for a few minutes 😉


  7. nellym says:

    Hubby apparently has a “Mr Deaganhart”.
    Well I never

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