Bombay, Bombay, India
December 31
Icy Highs is the writerly alter ego of Tharun James Jimani, author of 90s pop culture novel, 'Cough Syrup Surrealism' (Fingerprint! Publishing, 2013). He has lived in Chennai, Glasgow, Dusseldorf, London and Singapore over the last twelve years, and is- in Animal Planet parlance- a 'serial immigrant', and averse to nesting. He writes to keep the moss from gathering.


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APRIL 17, 2012 4:52AM

A Vagina Darkly

Rate: 34 Flag


For a few weeks now, the media has been in a tizzy over a product launched by an Indian company - the Clean and Dry Intimate Wash for women that promises to not only disinfect, but also 'brighten' one's vagina. The feminists and the nationalists and the easily-offended are all up in arms against the willful colonization of the dark-skinned vagina. Why, they ask, would Indians brighten their vagina(e)? What, they want to know, is wrong with brown, black or wheatish vaginae, completely ignoring the forces of demand and supply that likely dictated the company's market research. I'm undecided on the moral repercussions of the free market, but this piece is dedicated to the average Indian male who is now faced with the quandary of how to approach his woman with this wonder-drug without getting his head chewed off. 


Long before my first kiss, or my first girlfriend, I had learnt all there was to learn about women from my family. When your father is away for work during most of your boyhood, and you spend all of your time holed up at home with one angry mother, two scheming sisters, and a bevy of supporting roles played by women in various stages of life, ranging from Nubile Maid to Spinster Aunt, you tend to make observations and draw conclusions that will serve you well for the rest of your life.


I was surrounded by just about every female trope ever conceived in cinema (admittedly by male scriptwriters who haven't had a date in years): from manic pixie dream girl (Sis Junior who would only wear, eat from and sleep on polka-dotted material, and preferred roller skates to using her feet) to prom queen (I'll never forget the sight of the school football captain asleep in our guava tree, holding a poster he had made to express his love for Sis Senior) to Jane Austen heroine (sensible, well-read Sheila, loyal friend to Sis Senior and always the second-most beautiful girl in the room, who finally married an actual Prince- albeit of some unheard of tribe in the North East- whom she met in dental school in Shillong) to ball-busting career woman (I'm sorry, Mom.)  


As unique and different as we all like to think we are, the truth is women really are all the same. As are men. No woman recollects how scary and unreasonable she is during her monthly downtime. All men forget drunken episodes of public urination and shameless chasing of tail the next morning (if it even happened, pfft!) Women think mealtime should always be followed by cleaning-of-dishes. Men don't. Only men understand why watching-sport-on-TV is never complete without the commentary on full blast. Women think it's reasonable to hit mute, and natter on about babies, or Twilight. During a quarter-final!


Let's face it, the male-female twain shall never meet. The trick -as I learned early on- is simply to approach the fairer  other sex carefully, and with lowered expectations, from the very beginning, and to treat all women with the utmost respect at all times, like you would a vicious Doberman. I also find it useful to remember two oft-heard sentiments from my childhood. "Do unto others as you wish to be done unto you," said Spinster Aunt every time I requested she change the channel to a program not about God. Or as my mother always said: "come back when you've pushed three bawling brats out your end."


I naturally combined the spirit of their words into a sort of mantra on how to handle women. When you've been seeing each other a while for instance, and your girlfriend starts slacking off in the sexy underwear department (the elastic starts to sag, too many granny-pants days in a week, that furry, electrostatic collection of lint at the crotch), I make a trip to the nearest Agent Provocateur, pick up some edible thongs and a peek-a-boo bra, and simply slap them on yours truly, dim the lights and wait. (This is almost certainly more effective if your girlfriend walks in without her mother in tow.)


Sometimes, when dinner's not been fantastic a couple of nights in a row, I gallantly pick up my favorite sea food pizza on the way back from the pub. She may be allergic to shrimp, but at least now she knows her cooking's not been hitting the spot lately. We've just communicated. It's also good to use your imagination in these situations. Once when the ex was dragging her foot a little on the old body hair upkeep, not only did I do a little manscaping of my own but I also gave Pommy a buzzcut. Nothing says "wax that thing" like a bald Pomeranian.


Coming back to the issue at hand- vagina brightening- I can tell you that I have selflessly applied the above mantra to it with spectacular results. First of all, no woman should be told just what complexion her vagina should be. In fact, women should not be told how anything should be, period. They like to make their own (and your) decisions. However, if you happen to be in the kind of healthy, non-abusive relationship one hears about in love songs and Hallmark cards and stuff, your girlfriend may just be amenable to a little suggestion from you every now and again.


Still, you cannot just bring it up in conversation like you would with men reasonable adults. No, you've got to play the "as you wish to be done unto you" card: buy yourself a tube of Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, wet and towel-dry your face, and apply product carefully on your lips using your index finger. Proceed to regale your woman with that rarest of rituals in the Indian bedroom: cunnilingus. Not only does this increase levels of satisfaction all round, but it also keeps your lips from chaffing, and considerably lightens nicotine stains if you're a smoker. I hope this helps.


Last word: I strongly recommend that you consult with the lady in question before you fire up a cigarette while you're at her service.                   




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oh lord
hilarious as usual, links too
I've always been one for the indirect approach--others call it passive-aggressive, but they're just being much too literal. This kind of communication requires a kindred spirit, and if they don't get the hint with a shaved dog you'll know to look elsewhere for that truly intimate bond. Brighten indeed!
I await with bated (tho brightened) breath for the yin to this yang. We have a couple of quite remarkably articulate yins on Open Salon who just might be in a mood to pick up the challenge.
Did I just say "a couple?" Alas, I did. I meant "more than a couple!"
All great advice. I think!
"Brightens" the vagina? Sounds like a toothpaste. It seems there is no end to products designed to "perfect" and 'cleanse" us filthy women. Egad! Funny post, thanks.
Hi Julie: Just forwarded that link to about 170 ppl, at least half of whom will open their emails at work. This is going to be epic.

MWG: Indeed! I give and I give...

Chicken Maan: As my brothers in hip hop would have it, I hope they hate the game, not the player, etc.

Scanner: I can't see how one can go wrong with a little lip service.
Hi Erica, "Brightened'' is an euphemism for "fair" of course, but it keeps reminding me of shiny reflective surfaces, like a solar panel!
"...as my mother always said: "come back when you've pushed three bawling brats out your end."

The ultimate trump card of the female gender, when played there is no recourse. You've lost the hand. Most excellent post!
"I make a trip to the nearest Agent Provocateur, pick up some edible thongs and a peek-a-boo bra, and simply slap them on yours truly, dim the lights and wait."

I assume you snack on the extra edible thongs while you wait for someone to stumble in and discover you in your sexy array.

@JULIE - what in god's name is that? it just can't be a vag!
Trying not to laugh, but it's hard. Although I do think we women may have a thing or two to say about about lowered expectations.
Icy, you truly did learn some tricks early on. :-)
I don't believe you're a guy. More likely a smart ass woman with sarcasm skills...Surly? Larry?
Funny, but in many ways, truthful!

I am as Bright as I Wanna Be. r.
Can I get a maintenance free vagina, like a townhouse? Just pay someone else for her upkeep? I'll just live there and enjoy the small but tidy space.

This was hilarious but now I must update my panties...
Ha, I'm an Esthetician....I deal with vaginas on nearly a daily basis....waxing them. Just what we needed, another product to torture our little flower! I think I will write a follow up on this subject.
I can see you are no soulful, brooding male hero, living a sheltered, emotionless existence. Lots of fun and games in this post.
rated with love
Hoping if an alternative scrotum brightener is advertised ( hell yes that would be awesome) the method of applying it is not made popular as my mouth would lose all color.
I was just contacted by the Lesbian Association of India to ask you if you would be interested in being their 2012 poster boy and let them tell women about you.

They believe you would be a tremendous recruiting tool!

Let me know, K?
"without getting his head chewed off" -- and his other head cut off.
Stay tuned for my new product Weenie wash that gives you a polished peni
Oh my, my, my, my. You are one hell of a funny man. I need to see this made into a movie or written in book form, a sort of tell-all of modern Indian life. So Ballyswood of you. ... I'm sure it won't be long before this, ahem, product makes it to Latin America and beyond.
This day, April 17, 2012, shall
go down (ha)
in history as the Day of the V.
OS history, at least; unless it spreads...
which i hope it does.
Shine a light down there! The time has come...

"In fact, women should not be told how anything should be, period"
is a lesson alot of men never learn. I am glad you reached it
at an early age. The female upbringing helped.
As it did for me. Manic pixie dream girl
is what I pray for, when I pray.
That, and the ability to make a gal laugh.
For that somehow is the key.
"He makes me laugh" is the female equivalent
of "She is pretty" when bestowing ultimate complements.
You have that gift, and should be beating them off with a stick,
as we say here in the good old usa.
What we are witnessing is the down side of porn.

It doesn't directly rot the soul.

Rather, it creates expectations that doom ordinary people to the status of undesirable.

Fortunately, styles change. Someone will discover the joys of retro sex, where people rut like pigs in the dark. Or some more inviting analogy.
This is nothing new. Just a new market.

Anal bleaching has been around for some time.

...and don't forget Michael Jackson.
We have a challenger! PatienceP has just posted A Vagina Sparkly. Sounds like a drink I wouldn't shy away from trying so long as the pits were removed from the olives.
I'm trying to imagine how this product would work, but throwing my hands up in frustration. Ladies in the 60's and 70's never worried about their "bush", now it's all got to be maintained...it's too much trouble.
"Disinfect" Good lord, all these hygiene products are nicely packaged bullshit. Hehehe. Are there women that actually believe they need to "brighten" their labia? That's so sad. This is a funny take on it though, lol

You do have a way with a story.

And Matt, trying to egg us on. Tsk, tsk.
Brighten one's vagina? There's a better, more fun way than wasting your money on Clean & Dry. I had mine retrofitted for electricity a while ago and I installed a bunch of Christmas blinky lights and strobes in there. Also added a kick-ass sound system recently along with a little disco ball. During the week it's pretty quiet "down under" but come Friday and Saturday, my vajayjay is the place to be. Invitation only of course.
Mac- Touche, my friend. There's no beating labor.

Foolish Monkey - thereby rendering the thongs too peak-a-boo?

jlsathree - Do tell. I can only function under the lowest of expectations.

SagCap - Oh shush, I just ask myself, "what would Jesus do?"

Greenheron - Chicks do sarcasm? You don't say?

ILoveLife - The up-and-at-'em optimism of your screen name offends all my personal beliefs, but thank you!

Wolfman - Well, isn't somebody all happy and proud?!

Asia- Can YOU get a maintenance-free vagina to live in?! Can I get one?

Hi Patience- Esthetician, that's a great word; first I'm hearing of it. In the interest of fairness, I shd say this product is an ointment/balm/cream thingy that causes no physical discomfort. (Jeez, now I sound like I'm selling it.)The torture, they guarantee, is all psychological.

Poetess - That's way too much pressure.

Rita - I love your open endorsement of teabagging. You're a scholar, and a lady.

Amy - Last I heard, I'd 'turned' so many straight women, that they were thinking of making me an honorary member?

Stim - Damn, I wish I'd thought of that!

Bobbot - I'd buy that. "Look honey, it's also a nightlight."

Deborah - Thanks! Think the concept's been around awhile, incl. in Africa, Latin America, Asia, USA. We've just never seen such aggressive marketing before. In the middle of a cricket match, that too!

Toritto - Just youtubed it. Made my day. :)

James - Thanks, wish that were true!
BTW, manic pixie dream girls are infuriating after a while. Their meals consist entirely of M&Ms or tofu, and read books back-to-front because "they can't stand the suspense"!. WTF! Plus they're almost always broke, and artsy without any discernible talent. I prefer me a metal momma who remembers following Motley Crue or G'n'R on the road, but is now a corporate honcho with an expense account.

Nick - Agree 100%. Retro is the future.
*twirls handlebar 'tache*

Larry - I like how you threw in "don't forget MJ" at the end like a cautionary tale. Haha!

Matt - You're bang on, that does sound like an ace drink. On my way to her post in a sec.

Darling - It's just a balm-type thing, I think. I'd never insist on it, but I do think a neat trim (at the very least) is not just more visually appealing but also considerate. I go to just as much trouble after all. I guess it also boils down to what your partner is into.

LadyMiko - In India (and many other dark-skinned races/cultures), fair complexion = beautiful; dark skin = ugly. Plus as somebody mentioned above, there's all this porn we grew upon; gives you an outlandish perspective on what ppl look and act like in bed. First time I saw an outie I was convinced there was something wrong with the girl.

Phyllis - Thanks, Phyllis. Matt's thrown me some free PR with a post on his blog too!

Margaret - Haha, you had me at "retrofitted"! (Though "by invitation only" kinda ruined it a bit.)
As a side note, the Virginia State Police commander for years was a Col. Massengill. Had to be pretty tuff, I'm thinking, to work his way through the ranks as a cop. And when he called a criminal a "douchebag" the presumption of guilt likely would have been pretty solid.
It's hard to argue with such hilarity, ih. Get back to me when you write about junk brightening and those spectacular results you speak of. :D

I'm still waiting for Vagina Dentata. Something to wear on the streets -- might cut down the rape rate.
Now I've read everything. I can die now. Hopefully the mortician can fix any brightening problems before the viewing!
Matt: Reminds me of those James Bond girls'names, like Ms. Pussy Galore!

Lezlie: I try to avoid drawing any more attention to my junk than absolutely necessary. Painting it white would seem a tad counterproductive to that life lesson!

Geezerchick: This one's for you:

Bellwether Vance: You know what you need? You need fellow blogger and resident esthetician Patience on speed dial!