The narrative is only conflict or complaint. I ask my friends, If a vagina had a facial expression, what would you read? My friend A says, Humph, and then my friend D says, mildly irritated—pursed lips. A says, Yeah, like a baby trying to decide if it likes what was put in its mouth, and D interjects with laughter. A ponders for some time as D finishes laughing, and then she says, Or imagine a vagina that looks like it’s about to sneeze, to which I say, That’s a euphemism. A-N joins the conversation and says, What about vaginas with big clits? They look like they are weary sometimes. So many folds. I think about what a happy vagina might look like, or what it would take to get an answer from someone about vaginal expression that isn’t based on irritation, indecisiveness, or weariness. I say, I wonder when vaginas look happy. No one responds. So I think about a list of physical attributes that are important to me in terms of sexual appeal. Balanced frame, comes to mind. Some people crease and fold into themselves. I know this when I see people sitting with their elbows on tables. Their elbows nearly meet, their arms are held upwards, creating the shape of a V. On top of the V, their hands clasp together by the tips of their fingers, except for when they speak. When they speak, their hands move like the wings of a fledgling, not quite practiced. Instead of a fledgling, I think the hands in motion appear more like the jerky flops of a puppet, which feels uncanny, like a weary vagina, concave folds folding. A balanced frame might help, but it’s difficult to attain when there’s so much to be weary about.

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BAILEY PITTINGER teaches and writes. Her most recent work can be found in Gigantic Sequins, NANO Fiction, and The Fem Literary Magazine. She tweets: @baimestayer.