Canada
2 min

On magic and vaginas

As a child I loved sleight of hand tricks, my uncles pulling quarters out from behind my ears or television magicians pulling rabbits out of hats. Doves would appear out of nowhere, playing cards would change suits and I’d sit there numb by the spectacle. How did they do that, how did that just happen?

***

A few nights ago at a fundraiser for Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto, I thought of magicians again when Sacha Von Bon Bon stood on stage inviting an audience member to pull something out of her vagina. As someone who doesn’t get to see a lot of vaginas at the best of times, her vagina already had a magical quality. That it now contained a surprise only heightened my intrigue. What could be inside?

***

This also made me think back to my childhood trips to Nova Scotia when, if my sister and I didn’t fight, my parents would buy us vanilla ice cream and orange sorbet treats called “Buried Treasures” that you’d have to lick and suck and chew until — presto! — you ate through to a plastic figurine that was connected to the handle. Sometimes I’d find a lion or a monkey or a clown. It didn’t really matter what was inside, only that I knew something would be waiting for me.

***

For her trick Ms Bon Bon had the audience member tease out a feather boa from inside of her. As it meandered its way out, I thought that, true to its name, it did look like a snake. I also thought about how the last time I saw a trick like this it involved a silk scarf and a magician’s breast pocket. The tricks are similar, but the vagina version wins hands down.

***

I’ve had relatively few run-ins with vaginas over the years. It feels like ancient family history, sort of like friends who realize they have long lost cultural roots which they now feel an affinity for. While many of those friends start to take language classes or history lessons or take pilgrimage-like vacations, I think I might start to learn more about magic.

***

I’m not sure how the magician ended up stuffing all that scarf inside, but Ms Von Bon Bon managed to keep her boa compact and intact by stuffing it inside a condom. All the audience member had to do was give gentle tugs on the end and boa slithered out.

***

One of my friends growing up wanted to be a prestidigitator. I did too, but I could never pronounce the name properly so I gave up.

***

In grade three, I purposely gave the wrong answer when asked the capital of Saskatchewan because I thought it was called Vagina and was too embarrassed to say it out loud in class. Years later, in French Immersion, I learned that the French call “vaginas” “vagines” and I remember thinking how this seemed so much more appropriate, less clinical, and sweet.

***

Sometimes it takes a vagina to remind you how much you like magic.

***

Or is it that sometimes magic reminds you how much you like vaginas?