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On Scented Minipads

The little things say a lot about the culture.

by
David Solway

Bio

May 28, 2012 - 12:23 am
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The scented minipad, however, is a unique symbol of our existential condition. One can scarcely turn on the TV these days without seeing some nubile ballerina in mid-splits expatiating on the virtues of the latest in yoniwear. It reposes invisibly beneath her tutu like a hospital tuck, clean and decisive. It permits her to solve the occupational hazard of being a woman and to quell the monthly tremors of the professional ballet dancer. Not only can she perform the most strenuous of cabrioles without bleeding like a stuck pig but she even smells sweetly afterwards. Now she can be a man and a flower at the same time.

The scented minipad—to widen the conjecture—derives not only from our inheritance of guilt before the unassimilable mortification of the flesh—Original Skin, as it were—but from the apologetic dis-ease women feel before their own raw femininity. The minipad betokens the compound transgression of having not just a body but, O mater Dolorosa! a female body. Sweat, feces and menarche are difficult enough for any sensitive being to put up with, but discharge too! And so women run about in a state of aromatic nether purdah whose eventual disclosure leads to the most unfortunate of after-effects. I know of men who, following acts of glossal intimacy, have been reduced to repeated and obsessive gargling to recover the use of their taste buds. Any man who has managed to hang on to his senses would rather part an honest patch of pubic hair than enter a grove of synthetic pomegranates or visit a well-kept cemetery redolent of the ghosts of departed minipads.

There is, of course, a practical side to the scented minipad—apart from the soothing of catamenial despairs—which is more than an expression of ancestral guilt. It is also a way of disguising a more immediate one. The scented minipad is the latest flower of sin. As sex becomes less confined to the prudence of the night and grows increasingly diurnal, women must not only keep themselves on red alert but come home smelling of inoffensive lilac. They are cleansed not only of having flesh but of using it. But this is a mere quotidian advantage that does not disguise a deeper hankering for salvation.

The TV commercials reveal what it is we really long for. The verbal gush coupled with the vaginal stanch are no different in principle from the manly reticence cloaked in English Leather commanding the velocity flow of a black RX-7. This is how it will manifestly be in Heaven where we shall all enjoy the paradisiacal disembarrassment of our natural awkwardness. We shall be in total control of our fears and secretions, acting with the assurance of disembodiment. Meanwhile the Great Panegyric is flourishing as never before and the whited sepulchre, as is only proper in this day of rampant miniaturization, has become portable and ubiquitous.

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David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012.
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