Words wholly related: vanilla, vagina

Phallic symbolism is everywhere. Whatever the reason, people see dicks in all kinds of unlikely places: buildings, vegetables, Disney movies. There’s even Accidental Dong, a website dedicated to in situ phallus spotting. Logically, statistically, post-sexually, shouldn’t just as many things be vagina-shaped? And yet, vaginal imagery gets way less press. There is no Accidental Vag website (though Acidental Dong has an occasional Accidental Vagina Friday feature, but even then, it’s just one day out of seven). Maybe the problem is that people aren’t quite sure what vaginas look like. This brings up a whole host of sex-ed issues which are beyond the scope of this blog. I just do words. 

One instance of people seeing vaginas instead of their penile counterparts is the case of vanilla. Vanilla is extracted from the pods of tlilxochitl orchids indigenous to Mesoamerica. The pods look like desiccated, tar-colored string beans. Really.

(Image via wikipedia)

Cortés and his conquistador thugs first encountered the pods in Mexico and brought them back to Europe in the early 1500s. The conquistadors win the non-obvious naming award: the stringy brown pods reminded them of vaginas. The word vagina comes from Latin, meaning sheath or scabbard; vanilla comes from the Spanish diminutive form of that word, meaning little vagina. How … sweet. 

I encourage you to find some appropriately inappropriate time to share this tasty morsel with your partner. 

From the lonely hearts etymology club straight to your brain, have a sunshiney day.