I love Valentine’s Day. I enjoy it because people are happier on Valentine’s Day. Let’s be honest, a large percentage of the population has gotten gifts and subsequently gotten laid. You would have to be the equivalent of Scrooge to detest the sheer genius behind the festivities. Furthermore, people who are in love engage in buying frivolously expensive gifts for their partners. We’re in a recession, people. This CANNOT be bad.

I have received a grand total of ONE gift for Valentine’s Day. It’s not from my parents, because since they discovered that I write this column, I no longer receive gifts from them.

My gift was instead from my roommate’s mother. When I opened the box, I was sure it hailed from my porno-obsessed-ex-boyfriend — it was a red sequined thong the size of Rhode Island (read: small) with two sparkling white balls of faux fur on the front. The note read: “Natalie: Make sure to put this gift to good use. And think of me when you do! Love, Mrs. Roommate’s Mom.”

I was delighted and immediately put it on.

Standing in front of the full-length “thin mirror” in my room, I assessed my prospects as a Vegas showgirl. “Copa, copa-cabana–” ran through my head as I practiced my high kicks, which admittedly, were not very high. Saddened but not defeated, I turned to Plan B, which involved dancing around my room in the thong to Madonna tunes while cleaning the bathtub. Mrs. Roommate’s Mom is really tidy, so I figured she would be proud.

My thoughts drifted back to Valentine’s Days past. A couple of years ago, when I was involved in a fulfilling relationship (with a non-Funkmaster-Sketch), my boyfriend and I took a road trip to a bed-and-breakfast in upstate New York to hide away, enveloped in each other’s love (or something). The bed-and-breakfast was hidden in a wooded area filled with dense greenery and winding paths that were deceivingly named “roads.”

Lo and behold, a couple of hours into our trip, we got lost. He insisted that he knew “exactly” where we were, refusing to look at a map, while I begged that we stop and ask someone for directions. He aggressively drove around in circles for a couple of hours while I sighed impatiently, until we FINALLY reached our destination (two hours late) hungry, tired and not at all impressed with one another.

This memory made me wistful, but it also led my thoughts even further — straight to vaginas. Well, actually, not vaginas themselves, but rather what straight men do with vaginas. The truth is that they are often lost, even terrified when it comes to what to do with them, though they insist the opposite is true. They, like my ex, easily lose their way but refuse to give in. Meanwhile, we sigh, and (much like me in the car) crave a turkey sandwich. After all, there is no vagina compass leading to the clitoris. No vagina road map, dictating when to get off the turnpike. There is no friendly vagina ranger that might pop out from behind a tree, with the reminder that “Only YOU can prevent forest fires. And, of course, the right way is only five minutes down the road.”

Men insist on driving around aggressively down there for hours on end, not realizing that THEY ARE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

Since I’ve already walked the plank with “Spit or Swallow,” why not venture into uncharted vagina territory and talk about, what else? Cunnilingus (to put it scientifically).

In all seriousness, I am not writing about female oral sex for the shock value, or in order to appear risque. I write instead, because I have noticed the complexity and even uncertainty involved with the act on the part of both men and women. When asked about female oral sex, people were limited to two reactions: they either love it (intensely) or hate it (immensely).

I delved into the topic over drinks with my closest friends last weekend (hey — you don’t want to be talking about eating box with just anyone).

“I love, love, love it!” one exclaimed. “OH I LOVE IT!” she sighed orgasmically (gross).

I tried to shush her because she was getting progressively louder (it was three drinks into the conversation), but she continued, even more vociferously this time: “It’s all in the technique! The finger-tongue combination is MAGIC!”

As she hailed multitasking in all its glory, my other friends stared at her suspiciously.

“I hate it. There is nothing I hate more than oral sex,” another girl retaliated. “His TONGUE is in my vagina. THAT IS DISGUSTING. It makes me uncomfortable.”

This sharp contrast made me wonder. Why is it that some girls love it while others hate it? I mean, when was the last time you heard a guy say “no thanks” to a blow job?

Many of the girls at the table confessed that it had never been done properly, and that they didn’t even know how to correct the wrongdoing. Stories, both good and bad, began pouring out left and right.

“Once,” a friend whispered conspiratorially, “I had someone bite me. I’ve never felt the same way about it again.”

I would imagine that is in direct violation of A LOT of safety standards.

Another confessed that she had hooked up with someone only because she had heard that his cunnilingus portfolio was famous in many circles. Still another acknowledged that in her studies, only those with “little soldiers” were vagina connoisseurs.

“You see,” she said, “they have to make up for their lack thereof. It gives them drive. Something to prove.”

In the gym a few days later, the elliptical machine was the venue for a discussion on what I have discovered to be the “Hungry Mungry” phenomenon.

Hungry Mungries are those boys who cannot get enough cunnilingus. I am told that they express an intense love for the vagina and will not leave it alone. This does not mean that they are necessarily proficient at their craft; it only means that they have found a profession they really love. UCS would be proud.

“Oh yeah. I’ve been with a Hungry Mungry before,” one girl said, “I had to change my entire wardrobe because of him.”

Puzzled, I asked why.

She told me that she switched all of her pants to button fly so that by the time he got in the zone, he was too tired for a full-court press. Hmmm. Weird.

Guys were on the whole much more hesitant to discuss this week’s topic, but in general, they were either categorized as Hungry Mungries or, well, satiated.

“I’m from Boston,” one New Englander said, “and we love to do it in Boston.”

I guess it was off the Mayflower and into the vagina.

There were other fervent answers that dealt with hopes to pleasure a partner, yet the most interesting responses came from those who were less than enthused.

“I was afraid of it until last week,” one superhero admitted sheepishly.

“I’ve been down there,” another boy said, “and I wasn’t impressed with what I found.”

This is not the California gold rush. You are not supposed to venture in with a dream and return rich.

“I will only do it if I’m drunk,” one freshman conceded. Clearly this guy has no severe social problems whatsoever.

Yet, the most interesting answer I received came out of the New Testament, where we had been learning about the patron saints.

“I see going down on girls as a form of self-sacrifice,” said a guy friend who goes by the pseudonym of J.C.

Self-sacrifice? Fasting is self-sacrifice. Going to war, that’s also self-sacrifice. Putting yourself in danger to save someone’s life: self-sacrifice. Cunnilingus, that’s not self-sacrifice.

I was surprised this week by how strong the responses were to my questions, how intensely people felt about this sexual act. But I figure, when in doubt, I will turn to my boy Shakespeare and leave you, my faithful readers, with this:

“That man that hath a tongue, I
say is no man,

If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.”

–The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 3, Scene 1

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Natalie Krinsky ’04 urges everyone to go see “The Vagina Monologues” this weekend. Imagine if they could really talk back?