Not a fan of Valentine’s Day? Neither is Mimi. But, as this extract from Lucy Ellman‘s super sexy noir novel shows, she’s given a lot of thought to her reasons…
Mimi wasn’t crazy about Valentine’s Day though: she considered it only a shadow of its former glory, a fake and faded version of ancient fertility rites or something. “The only reminder of its real purpose is all the vulvas,” she told me.
“Yeah, all the pink valentine hearts.Those aren’t hearts, Harrison. You’re a doctor. Hearts don’t look like that, vulvas do! Open vulvas. They’re all a throwback to prehistoric vulva worship, that’s what those heart shapes are.”
“Prehistory.You know, before the Bronze Age.”
“Before the Bronze Age? Before the Bronze Age, missy, there was nothing. Nada. Zilch. Niente.”
“Before the Bronze Age, mister,” Mimi said,“we had two hundred thousand years of peace, music, dance, arts, agriculture, and goddess worship!”
“. . . Any cuckoo clocks?”
“People still act like the whole human race cracked out of an egg about five thousand years ago,” Mimi said, getting up and putting on her purple kimono.“They totally forget about prehistory.”
“I’m getting the feeling prehistory’s your favorite bit of history.”
“Sure,” she said, brushing her hair.
“But you can’t just pick and choose the bit of history you like best, can you?” I asked her.
She turned on me.“Why not? Men have!”
“I always knew there was something fishy going on, the way history’s taught in school. And then I realized: they leave out the first two hundred thousand years, and they leave out women! All they care about is male history, patriarchy—but that’s only been going maybe five thousand years. Five thousand years of teenage boy hissy fits, with sulks in between.What a mess.”
“Well, that’s an interesting perspective on the whole of Western Civ—”
“Everything was going swell, you know. Matriarchy worked! Then men took over metalworking and used it to make more and more powerful weapons…And then they domesticated the horse…”
“Gotta domesticate that horse!”
“Yup. It’s not horses’ fault, but from then on it was just rape, rape, rape, war, war, war, colonizing everybody and wrecking stuff. Everything became about men and their death wish.They colonized us too! We don’t even know what women are anymore, they’ve been suppressed for so long!”
I liked this dirty talk. I went over to colonize her, and we ended up back in bed, where she started to tell me about “pockets of matriarchy,” which at first I took to be a euphemism for vulvas— I was exploring her pocket of matriarchy as we spoke. But no, “pockets of matriarchy” turned out to be islands and other isolated, peripheral places in ancient Europe, where vestiges of prehistoric, female-centered cultures survived a bit longer than elsewhere, with remnants still apparently detectable now. Places like Malta, Sicily, Sardinia, Orkney, Ireland. . .
“Yeah? That’s nice,” I said, not fully concentrating (my head under the blankets, my tongue seeking out her peripheral spots).
“There are still signs of it,” Mimi said, “um. . . in folklore and customs, and ceramics. . . mmmm, Harrison. . . And there are these big bulbous Venus sculptures. . . in Malta and places. . . And vulvas, paintings and. . . Oh!”
“Any quilting?” I asked, mounting her.
“No. . . But. . . ahhh. . . cave paintings. . . Women did all the cave paintings, Harrison. . .” And then there was no more talk for a while.
“Pockets of matriarchy, huh?” I said later, getting dressed.“Sounds like pussy to me. No, not you, Bubbles!” And I grabbed Bubbles, holding her belly up like a babe in arms. She loved that. Some tickling was involved.
“Matriarchy’s a much more natural way to organize things,” said Mimi dreamily from the bed.“Without mothers no mammal would survive. Meerkats are matriarchal.”
“You want me to be a meerkat?!”
“Bubbles is a mere cat.”
“Well, I’m sure there’s a lot to be said for the Stone Age, Mimi, but all I know is, I wouldn’t want to have been born before Bach. And ASPRIN.”
When we eventually went out, the streets of New York were full of vulvas, just as Mimi had predicted: vulvas in every window, vulvas painted on the buses, vulva-shaped balloons outside restaurants, dogs with flashing vulvas on their collars, taxis sporting ads for vulva-related events. And every corny heart shape made me horny again for Mimi. I would never tire of this feisty gal.
We walked the High Line all the way down to the Village, so Mimi could pick up a few things from her apartment, then on to Washington Square to sit on a park bench. Things seemed a little less capitalistic and warlike there than in the rest of New York, if only for the moment. Some buskers were taking turns playing a baby grand they’d somehow wheeled into the square, and a bunch of students were standing stock-still in the middle of a path, never flinching, for reasons unexplained (a very strict form of Simon Says?). Washington Square was our new spot—we were middle-aged after all, and liked looking at dogs! (From afar that is—neither of us wanted to own one.)
“So, if women handled everything in the Stone Age,” I began, “and men took over in the Bronze Age—”
“Iron Age,” she corrected.
“Then what Age are we in now? I guess it must be the Nuclear Age…”
“Nah, the Diet Age,” Mimi decided, as a huge, fluffy, perfectly white Samoyed puppy rode by in a small shopping cart. “All anybody wants to conquer now is their stomach.”
Next, a basset hound lumbered valiantly by. How do they manage to walk at all? Four marvelous black standard poodles came the other way—curly-haired and not overly trimmed: true urbanites.
“I think it’s the Front Age,” I grumbled, “with all the boob-jobs I have to do.”