I was sitting around discussing female masturbation the other day with my
good friends Knight Stivender, Whitney Matheson and Angie Rich. They were
filling me in on ... filling it in, and I couldn't help but think about
You remember Cyndi -- she sang "Girls just want to have fun!" before Sheryl
Crow ever thought about singing "All I wanna do is have some fun." Cyndi
was cool when Madonna was still rolling around on the floor in a black bra
singing "Lucky Star." Cyndi had a bubbly laugh that was unforgettable and
wore every color in the rainbow all at once.
And then Cyndi slipped from public view like the Hale-Bopp comet dropping
below the horizon. Just as quickly as she had catapulted to fame she was
gone again, along with A Flock of Seagulls and Tears for Fears. I think
Cyndi really saw the beginning of the end when she started hanging out with
the members of the World Wrestling Federation. Remember Captain Lou Albano,
that big fat slob who wore rubber bands in his ears? Need I say more?
But now Cyndi is making a comeback. She's even touring with Tina Turner,
for God's sake. All I have to say to that is, go girl, go! Cyndi's still
cool. She spoke for a generation of early '80s kids who didn't want to
think about "the day after" or worry about Wall Street. She also gave us a
great metaphor for female masturbation.
Think about it -- there are lots of good metaphors for male masturbation:
choking the chicken, beating your meat, having a "palm-Sundae," and getting
a five-finger discount, just to name a few. But how many can you think of
for women? Not many, if any, I'll wager. The best I could come up with was
"pleasuring herself," which is really more of a euphemism, anyway.
During the course of my research into this area, I uncovered the colorful
metaphor "turning the page," as in, "She's in the bedroom turning the
page." This one isn't bad, really -- imagine a slow, methodical process
where you lick your thumb and slowwwly turn page after page after page
after -- you get the picture.
I scoured Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear for color metaphors and
came up dry. I was sure that I would find at least a dozen ways of talking
about "self-pleasurvation." Unfortunately, all the women in Jean Auel's
books find their pleasure from some Neanderthal with "throbbing manhood."
That's when I remembered good old Cyndi Lauper. (You thought I'd
Remember the song "She Bop?" Here, I'll hum a few bars for you. "She bop,
he bop a we bop, I bop, you bop a they bop. Oo -- oo -- She bop!" Remember
that? You may start to hear a Cyndi Lauper revival if her comeback is a
success. When I heard this song as a kid, I don't think I ever really
understood all the words. It was that way with most '80s songs,
But hearing it again recently, I began to realize what Cyndi was talking
about. Here are some lines from the song. See what you think:
"Well I see them every night in tight blue jeans --
In the pages of a blue boy magazine.
Hey I've been thinking of a new sensation --
I'm picking up --
Oop -- she bop!"
All right, this sounds innocent enough. The Beach Boys were picking up good
vibrations, too, and I don't think they were talking about waxing down
their surfboards. But let's go deeper -- so to speak.
"Do I wanna go out with a lion's roar
Huh, yea, I wanna go south 'n' get some more
They say that a stitch in time saves nine
They say I better stop before I go blind
Oop -- she bop!"
There it is. Irrefutable proof. Can you think of anything else where you
were always told if you kept doing it you'd go blind? Besides staring at a
solar eclipse, I mean. And she wants to go south and get some more? Sounds
pretty clear to me.
In the refrain, in between all the "I bop, you bop a they bops," she says,
"I hope He will understand." The capitalization is hers. In the lyrics to
the song in the tape case, she has "He" capitalized and an up arrow drawn.
Perhaps Ms. Cyndi has a wee bit of a guilty conscience about something.
Hmm, whatever could that be? Bet she's Catholic.
But wait, there's more:
"Hey, hey -- they say I better get a chaperone
Because I can't stop messin'
With the danger zone
No, I won't worry, and I won't fret --
Ain't no law against it yet --
Oop, she bop! She bop!"
Can't stop messin' with the danger zone. Yes, it seems fairly clear that
Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop" was a seminal work in the development of sexual
liberation. Her metaphor "She Bop" never caught on though, and women are
still hard pressed for a good colorful metaphor for pleasuring themselves.
Why is that exactly?
My interviews and questions dispel the myth that "women just don't do
that." Maybe they don't do it five times a day like most men, but they do
it. So why, I asked, if women do it, don't they have terms for it?
The answer is simple. Women may do it, but they don't talk about it.
Not even veiled in colorful metaphor. It's just almost completely taboo,
even among intimate friends. The only time the subject may come up is when
they are drinking heavily and in a particularly raw mood. Such was the case
with the newspaper vixens mentioned at the beginning of this article, and
their creative talents, mixed with their inebriated state, led to a
They decided that a good metaphor for women would be "She's checking her
e-mail." This one approaches sheer genius because it somehow makes sense,
even though there appears to be no real connection between actually
checking your e-mail and spending quality time with the shower nozzle.
I suggested a slight alteration: checking her g-mail. I'm not sure the
"g-spot" actually exists, but I figure if anyone knows where it is, it's
the woman herself. In any event, "checking her g-mail" is slightly blunt
enough to arouse a connection. "Checking her e-mail" is a great one for
office or dorm use though. "Janie? Oh, she's not here right now. She's ah,
checking her e-mail." You can also get a few cheap laughs when someone
who's not in the know announces that she has to go check her e-mail.
Cyndi Lauper sang about checking her e-mail long before the DiVinyls ever
banged out "When I think about you I touch myself," and she did it with a
lot more class and style and a little less ... probity. We need to
recognize her revolutionary songwriting for what it was. She put her finger
right on it. The pulse of a generation, I mean.
Just remember -- when you touch yourself, the saints cry. Thank you.
Opinion: 'Checking e-mail' takes on new meaning
From the series UNTITLED COLUMN by Alan M. Gratz
Fri Apr 11, 1997 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 01:13 p.m.