Jack’s Naughty Bits: Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

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Jack's Naughty Bits

There is little doubt that the names for genitalia leave something to be desired. Penises are better off than vaginas in this department; breasts and testicles do quite well, but the poor clitoris really suffers. Some friends and I, aware of these lexical shortcomings, set about inventing our own terminology for the most anatomical of anatomical parts, hoping to lend some sanity to the madness. Penises should, we concluded, be divided according to whether or not they are erect. The erect penis, so in need of a better moniker than Woody or Hard-On, much less Boner, we opted to call a Slinder — and we encourage you to draw out the “L” sound for maximum effect. The sad, floppy, wrinkly, shell-less sea creature of a thing that is the unerect penis we refer to simply as a Zirt. And we remind you that, like books to their covers, you can’t judge a man by his Zirt.

The vagina, meanwhile, has made a great cultural comeback, though its appertaining terminology has been slower to evolve. Having concluded that the stretching, resilient, emotive, involuted, self-dewing masterpiece needed more joyous names than those beginning with T, C or P, we agreed unanimously on Voorheeee! (always in italics, always with the exclamation point) as the official name, which can be shortened to “my V” for practicality. We realize that this abbreviation could lead the uninitiated to believe we were adopting the traditional medical term referred to at the beginning of this paragraph, but no endeavor as ambitious as ours is free of all risk.

Balls are fine, though we prefer to call them Motchies, as in “Hey, no teeth on the Motchies!”, while breasts can now be referred to either with the Middle English “paps” or our new-and-improved “Sha-Shas.” The anus, long neglected, so-called hole of either bung or ass, is now the Feep, a name we hope will not remain obscured in darkness. Finally, for that great idiomatic oversight, the clitoris, so mysterious to most men (and some women) that it has barely evoked any non-clinical sobriquets (the ludicrous “love button” and the most ironic “little man in the boat” notwithstanding), we offer: Stalgon the Imperial or the Twee, depending on your mood. We sincerely hope these new designations serve all your conversational and interrogative needs.

NB: The excerpt below, from Kurt Vonnegut’s classic Breakfast of Champions, concerns itself with female anatomy and its popular slang. We provide it as a point of cultural reference.

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From Breakfast of Champions
by Kurt Vonnegut

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A wide-open beaver was a photograph of a woman not wearing underpants, and with her legs far apart, so that the mouth of her vagina could be seen. The expression was first used by news photographers, who often got to see up women’s skirts at accidents and sporting events and from underneath fire escapes and so on. They needed a code word to yell to other newsmen and friendly policemen and firemen and so on, to let them know what could be seen, in case they wanted to see it. The word was this: “Beaver!”

A beaver was actually a large rodent. It loved water, so it built dams. It looked like this:

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The sort of beaver which excited news photographers so much looked like this:

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This was where babies came from.

© Kurt Vonnegut