Requiem for a Queef

  • By Farah Haidari
  • fhaidari15

Volume Volume XXXV, Issue 4, May 10 2013

Saturday, the 6th of April 2013 7:45 p.m., Amherst, Massachusetts

I stand in front of Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. Tonight, I am the house manager. I’m wearing a pink paisley “blouse” and a pair of black flats that I call “my fancy shoes.” In my arms, I hold a stack of ivory-colored programs; white would hit too close to home for this crowd. I welcome each patron who enters the hall to see tonight’s string quartet performance.

One patron stops to converse with me. I can tell that he is a professional man from the miserably platonic nature of our interaction. He asks me about my philosophy major and my classical voice training. He tells me about his 20-year-old daughter’s religion major. He remarks, “Oh, how nice it is to study the great thinkers while still at the undergraduate level.” I concur. We share a moment of deliberate head nods and thoughtful “hmmm” noises.

Suddenly, I am disarmed by a flashback.

 Wednesday, the 20th of June 2011 12:55 a.m., San Francisco, California

I lay on my back. I am on top of a dark, seedy dive bar. The actual bar. A crowd of grungy, mostly 20- to 30-year-old males watch me in suspense. I feel powerful. And cool. 

Holding a heavy microphone, I raise my feet in the air and move the mic under my leg and point it at my crotch. I queef.

 Saturday, the 6th of April 2013 7:55 p.m., Amherst, Massachusetts

My conversation partner has entered the recital hall. Still holding the stack of ivory programs, I stand in silent sadness, the taste of queef somber on my tongue. As I savor my memory, I grow a shade embarrassed of my current self.

A group of elderly, ornately gowned white women approach. I make myself smile pleasantly and wish them to “enjoy the show.”

They pass into the hall. I am left standing alone in a cloud of old lady stench.

My smile falters. What would dive bar Farah think of me now?

 Wednesday, the 20th of June 2011 1:00 a.m., San Francisco, California

I stand on a small, makeshift stage. I’m wearing a knock-off North Face jacket, a ratty green shirt I found in my dad’s closet, black leggings, a black leotard, a wooly black hat, and a pair of Vans that I found abandoned on Ocean Avenue.

I’m holding a heavy metal microphone in my hands. I call out to Damon, my favorite disgruntled-but-loving bartender, and ask him if I can have a free shot since I’m still on stage. He pretends to be annoyed and brings out a shot glass and a bottle of Jameson. He pours the shot on the table in front of the stage and hands the shot to me.

I hold the mic by my side and take the shot.  Some of the audience members shout the “Yeah!” that is customary for encouraging white girls to drink more. I make fun of them for cheering that way. I try forming a full joke out of my making fun of them, but I am now too drunk for structure.

I call out to Damon again and ask him if I can queef on the bar. He knew this was coming. He knows that I’ve wanted to do this since this dive stole my heart.

The audience is also unsurprised. Most of them are neighborhood regulars or other comedians. They know my act. Half of them cheer excitedly for the queef. Some groan in mock disgust; others groan in genuine disgust. I tell them “I don’t give a FUCK.”

Damon doesn’t pretend to be annoyed this time. He clears the empty glasses off the end of the bar. He begins to wipe it clean with a bar towel. I tell him there’s no need.

 Sunday, the 14th of April 2013 7:00 p.m., Amherst, Massachusetts

I am seated at a large table in the front room of Val. A group of my friends sit around the table. One friend and I are engrossed in an escalating contest, announcing to the entire room things that the other person typically does. He finally yells in frustration.

“Farah pretending people’s jokes aren’t funny as a defense mechanism for when she feels vulnerable.”

The table goes silent. My cheeks flush. I totally give a fuck.

Sunday, the 17th of February 2013 6:00 p.m., Amherst, Massachusetts

I am walking across the Val quad. A friend walks next to me. He speaks heatedly.

“You think because you’re a ‘comedi-enne’ you have some special insight that none of us have that gives you final judgment on what’s funny.”

 Saturday, the 5th of January 2013 4:00 a.m., San Francisco, California

I am sitting in an upstairs living room, affectionately named “The War Room”. It is filthy. A scattering of late-night comics lounge around the room. I’ve offended one of them.

“You think you’re better than us? Because you go to Amherst? They’re just taking your money! You couldn’t even survive on your own—you’re living on debt right now! You couldn’t live in the real world! Yet you think you’re so much smarter than us. You’re NOT.”

I am shocked. I only thought that I could think I’m better than Amherst, not San Francisco. I thought my arrogance could only hold up against sheltered college kids, not grungy comedians (however uneducated they might be). I mean, comedians are cool and intimidating.

…right?

 Tuesday, the 18th of October 2011 9:00 p.m., Amherst, Massachusetts

I am laying, on my back, on a concrete wall outside of Morrow. I’m talking into a cell phone, recounting the tale of my first East Coast open mic. The voice on the other line is incredulous.

“You didn’t do it?! I mean, I’m just sayin’. If I go to a baseball show, I wanna see some baseball. And if I go to a Farah comedy show...I wanna see some queefin’.”

I don’t tell him that it makes me feel trashy now—that I didn’t do it because I wanted my new audience to think I was smart.

I also don’t tell him that I’ve decided to remove the queef from my act.

Present

Now, I sit alone in my dorm room, recounting memories of queefs past.

Exasperated, I ask aloud, “What do I want to be: smart or funny?”

If only vaginas could talk.