Notes On Keeping Your Mimsy Clean (And Other Myths About Womanly Things)

“It has flaps, you know.”

Six-year-old me immediately thinks I have some sort of weird purse between my legs. This is my big-girl talk about how to wash my Mimsy-purse properly. Momma knows. She’s had one for a long time and babies come out of it.

I still can’t imagine coming out of a Mimsy-purse, but I’m not a baby and I’m supposed to be paying attention to Momma.

“Honey, you’re too big for momma and daddy to wash you like that. Now listen. You don’t want an itchy Mimsy and I don’t think you’re washing good.”

If momma would just quit saying things like “flaps” and “itchy Mimsy” I’d sure be able to pay closer attention. I’m trying, but momma just keeps saying stuff like that. I envision how awful an itchy Mimsy would be, based not on experience, but the disdain with which momma said it. I felt dirty.

“Wendy Lynn! Look at what I’m showing you and pay attention right now! Do you want to get a disease?”

Oh. My. God. My Mimsy-purse can give me a disease? I’m suddenly riveted on every word momma is saying, despite thoughts of a green, infected sore that gives me a disease on my Mimsy-purse.

(Side note: my mother used disease and pestilence to scare the doo-doo out of me a lot when I was a kid. “Why do you have a peanut-butter sandwich in your bed? Do you want to wake up with roaches in your hair?” It always predicated a wonderful night of sleep, by the way.)

“Sweetie, look at the picture. You have to clean yourself between the flaps.”

I finally pay close attention to the picture momma has. It’s from an old birthing book she pulled off the shelf to show me what a destroyed vagina looks like. There’s hair everywhere. It is patently horrible in every way and I suddenly want absolutely nothing to do with having one.

“Momma, I don’t like that.”

Here’s where momma could have comforted me and told me my Mimsy-purse didn’t have to look like that at all, and I could do whatever I wanted with it when I got old enough to care for it properly.

That did not happen. In her defense, she was 24-years-old and had no idea what she was doing, like most first-time young mothers.

“Well, you better get used to it because you’ll have one for the rest of your life. Now clean yourself good so you don’t get an itchy Mimsy.”

And that was the end of the discussion.

It was also the beginning of more questions than my six-year-old self could deal with that day, so I took my blanket to the couch and pondered the reason why the Lady Elaine puppet on Mr. Rogers’ had such awful skin.

She probably got a disease from not washing her Mimsy-purse.

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