December 14, 2021
One in a series of 25 first-person narratives of offense, outrage, innocent transgression or principled affront, in attire, display, speech or spectacle.
NOTE TO READERS: After writing this piece, I realized it contained the word “vagina” many, many times. Therefore, in an effort to avoid tedious repetition, I have replaced each “vagina” with the title of a Martin Scorsese film. Enjoy!
After I had my daughter, I accepted all the ways childbirth had altered my body: the stretch marks, the saggy parts, on and on. I even accepted my post-baby bladder, which had become more excitable than a coked-up game-show host.
But when it got to the point where I was getting up six times a night to pee and I couldn’t go to the movies anymore, something had to change.
“You need to see Debbie for physical therapy,” my gynecologist said as she gazed deeply into my CASINO one fall afternoon. “You’ll love her — she’s very nice, and very gentle.”
The following week I met Debbie, a bubbly, blond 50-something with a thick twang and an office wallpapered in photos of her daughter’s field hockey team. After some small talk and toe-touching exercises, she stood up and smiled.
“Honey, let’s get to work,” she said. “Take off your panties and put on this paper sheet, and I’ll be back in two shakes!”
Five minutes later, Debbie’s purple gloves are all up in my KING OF COMEDY (or my RAGING BULL, depending on whom you ask), and she’s chit-chatting up a storm. No one told me physical therapy would be so intimate, and I tried not to let my embarrassment show. But it faded soon enough, and thus began our weekly date where we’d discuss Debbie’s church bake sale or what have you, and then she’d reach into my KUNDUN to bolster my bladder.
A couple months in, I was telling Debbie about my new couch when she suddenly whipped out a long, thin, white contraption that I just knew was about to be crammed into my WOLF OF WALL STREET.
“Hon, today we’re gonna kick it up a notch and use a dilator!” she said enthusiastically. And as I fixated on a photo of her family in matching holiday pajamas, she proceeded to poke me in a very cheerful-yet-clinical way with her medical dildo. After a minute, she handed it over to me.
“Your turn!” she chirped. I tried to follow her directions as she told me where to prod, like a MapQuest of my MEAN STREETS.
At the end of our appointment, Debbie wrote down a website where I could order a Thin White Duke of my own and my size, which is a level of customer service I never expected at this tiny therapy office next to Tire World. It was when she recommended her favorite brand of water-based lubricant that I started cracking up. Debbie looked at me and started laughing, too.
“You know, darlin’, I have a suitcase full of these things I bring to conventions,” she said. “If you think this is crazy, you should see the looks I get when I go through airport security!”
Unfortunately, I had to end our therapy sessions soon after that, because my insurance stopped paying for them. But Debbie really did turn my life around. I started sleeping through the night again. Hell, I even saw THE IRISHMAN — the movie, not my vagina — in a theater without taking one bathroom break.
And I still have Debbie’s dilator, though it’s a little dusty after all these years. I hope she’s still out there, changing lives one bladder at a time.
PROJECT:OBJECTIONABLE: INTRODUCTION by Adam McGovern | Adrienne Crew on MAKIN’ BACON | Lynn Peril on BABY’S FIRST ASHTRAY | Lisa Levy on TOILETTE-À-TÊTE | Maria Swisher on STEALING GENIUS | Oliver Baer on CTHULHU SEX MAGAZINE | Yelena Tylkina on A DRINK TO DEATH | Elke Claus on URINAL SHRINE | Jeff Lewonczyk on SUSPENDERS OF DISBELIEF | Jenn Mehm on TWIN SKIN | Marlon Stern Lopez on SOUVENIR OF THE LAPD | Lauren Curtis on NAILED IT! | Josh Glenn on K-TEL TRUCKER TAPE | Fran Pado on THE BRIEF LIFE OF FRANCES POTTER | Nikhil Singh on HASHTAG FASHIONPOLICEPROBLEMS | Adam McGovern on PERSONA NON GRATA | Crystal Durant on LICENSE TO SHOCK | Dean Haspiel on DIRTY DOORKNOB | Justin J Bowen on UNKLE KRAMPUS | Annie Nocenti on STICKY FINGERS | Michele Carlo on THE MANY HATS OF CARMEN MOFONGO | Alice Meichi Li on BEDTIME FOR CATWOMAN | Whitney Matheson on GYNECOLOGICAL GOODFELLA | Ran Xia on PROJECT GREENCARD | Mimi Lipson on MEIN KITSCH | Art Wallace on ELECTRIC KOCH.
MOVIE OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Ramona Lyons on EYE OF THE SERPENT (CONAN THE BARBARIAN) | Faythe Levine on BEDKNOB (BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS) | Gerald Peary on CUP OF COFFEE (THE BIG HEAT) | Christopher Orr on TOM’S HAT (MILLER’S CROSSING) | Lynn Peril on TRANSISTOR RADIO (DR. STRANGELOVE) | & 20 MORE.
LOST OBJECTS (vol. 2): INTRODUCTION | Joe Yonan on MACRAMÉ ART (ill. Theo Ellsworth) | Ben Katchor on LUCITE CARRYING CASE | Debbie Millman on GLASS POODLE | Lydia Millet on ROCKY HORROR NOVEL (ill. Berta Valló) | Ben Greenman on WARHOL CAN (ill. Clara Selina Bach) | & 20 MORE.
FETISHES: INTRODUCTION | Josh Foer on DEATH MASK | Beth Lisick on MURDERED-OUT KFC BUCKET | Christina Couch on LEECH ACTION FIGURE | Kenneth Goldsmith on THEWLIS SOCK | Abby Rapoport on MAGNATILES | & 20 MORE.
FOSSILS: INTRODUCTION | Allegra Huston on SKATAWAY JACKET | Kevin Obsatz on HOMEMADE NUNCHUKS | Ian Bogost on DESKTOP TELEPHONE | Jeff Lewonczyk on CHA-CHA JACKET SCRAP | Kelly Horan on VOLVO KEY | & 20 MORE.
FLAIR: INTRODUCTION | Cliff Kuang on ROLEX DATEJUST | Ethan Zuckerman on LAPTOP STICKERS | Ann Shoket on LEATHER JACKET | Kembrew McLeod on KEMBREW MERCH | Paola Antonelli on MERMAID TEARS | & 20 MORE.
LOST OBJECTS (vol. 1): INTRODUCTION | Kate Bernheimer on MULLET WIG (ill. Amy Evans) | Dan Piepenbring on COLOGNE (ill. Josh Neufeld) | Doug Dorst on STRATOCASTER (ill. John Holbo) | Paul Lukas on VANILLA BEAN (ill. Allison Bamcat) | Mimi Lipson on DODGE DART (ill. Mister Reusch) | & 20 MORE.
ILLICIT OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Kio Stark on PEEPSHOW TOKEN | Sari Wilson on TOMBSTONE PARTS | Annalee Newitz on CAR-BOMB REMNANT | Tito Bottitta on MOONINITE DEVICE | Eric Bennett on DIRTY MAGAZINE | & 20 MORE.
TALISMANIC OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Veda Hille on CROCHET SHEEP | Gary Panter on DINOSAUR BONES | Jami Attenberg on SELENITE CRYSTAL | Annie Nocenti on MINIATURE DICE | Wayne Curtis on CLOCK WINDING KEY | & 20 MORE.
POLITICAL OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Luc Sante on CAMPAIGN PAMPHLETS | Lydia Millet on PVC POLAR BEAR | Ben Greenman on MATCHBOX CAR | Rob Baedeker on PRESIDENTS PLACEMAT | L.A. Kauffman on WHEATPASTE POSTER | & 20 MORE.
ALSO SEE: PROJECT:OBJECT homepage | POLITICAL OBJECTS (1Q2017) | TALISMANIC OBJECTS (2Q2017) | ILLICIT OBJECTS (3Q2017) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 1 (4Q2017) | FLAIR (2Q2018) | FOSSILS (4Q2018) | FETISHES (2Q2019) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 2 (4Q2019) | MOVIE OBJECTS (2Q2020) | SEMIO OBJECTS (2Q2021) | SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS (cross-posted from Significant Objects website). ALSO SEE: SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS website | LOST OBJECTS (Hat & Beard Press, 2022) | SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS collection, ed. Rob Walker and Josh Glenn (Fantagraphics, 2012) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY, ed. Josh Glenn (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY excerpts.