Yes, I sold vaginal cream… and survived.

I say it with the same dispirited tone of lament adult bed-wetters, chronic flatulence sufferers, and people with weakened sphincters often use to confess their frailties: “I sold vaginal cream.”

Every time I shake a stranger’s hand, I brace myself for the inevitable. “So, what do you do?” they ask.

I try to match their impertinence with an equally impudent response. “I mostly masturbate and nap. And you?”

They think I joke, and the interrogation continues. “Oh, you’re funny! What do you do for a job?”

Beads of sweat form on my brow as our conversation continues down that dreaded course to that horrible place in the recesses of my résumé.

“I stopped doing,” I say, as nonchalantly as I can muster.

But the campaign does not relent. “So what did you used to do?”

That’s when the memories come flooding back. I am dressed in a tailored suit, my ultra-coiffed hair glistening under the warm lighting of the overpriced restaurant’s private dining room. I stand before a dozen gynecologists indulging on expensive hors d’oeuvres and vintage wine, compliments of my expense account. Over the sound of glasses clinking, people laughing, and forks scraping fine china, no one can hear me yell, “Excuse me,” for the fourth time.

Eventually the clamor quiets down, and I begin my presentation. With my laser pointer, I reference the giant dried-up vagina being projected on the wall behind me.

“As you can see, postmenopausal atrophic vaginitis is severe enough in this case that epithelial thinning is evident. Some of the common symptoms your patients may display include pruritus, dysuria and dyspareunia, if sexually active.”

Around the time I begin comparing competitors’ plastic vaginal applicators by holding them up to the light, the servers arrive with everyone’s meals.

As dessert is served, I am holding three small pieces of colored cardboard where I have applied various creams to show viscosity. “You can see that not all creams are created equal. And the last thing your patients need is a drippy, watery mess.”

I then ask if there are any questions. A distinguished gentleman in bifocals congratulates me on an excellent presentation, pauses for a moment, then continues, “So my wife has been on this for years and it works well, but why doesn’t your pharmaceutical company flavor it?”

There is a collective giggle, and a woman sitting across the table asks him, “You realize that stuff is made from pregnant mares’ urine, right?”
I acknowledge that the statement is true and then launch into a packaged response on how our product is derived from natural compounds – unlike the competitors’ creams, which are completely synthetic.

Next question: “How well does this work to prevent prolapse?”

I reply that my product is not FDA approved for treating prolapse; a condition in which organs fall out of the vagina. It happens when the uterine lining weakens with age and gravity does what it does. In days of yore, this ailment was treated by inserting a potato that would sprout and keep everything in place; at least that is what the wives’ tale says. It’s a legend every gynecologist has at one point heard.

I remind my audience that the simple truth about atrophy is that the human anatomy’s well-being is based on a use-it-or-lose-it system… but I stop myself before launching a rant correlating slut shaming and atrophy.

With the cardboard cutouts wiped clean of vaginal creams, I pack up the applicators and place them back into a carrying case, and conclude my presentation.

My name is Efrain Villa … and I sold vaginal cream.

Aimless Vagabond

Aimless Vagabond

Efraín Villa, the Aimless Vagabond, is an optimist, cynic, and lover of contradiction. He's also a photographer, actor, and global wanderer whose endless quest for randomness has led him to colorful roles as tourism marketing director for the great state of New Mexico, pharmaceutical salesman of vaginal cream, professional fondling recipient at med schools (AKA standardized patient), trainer in police shooting simulations, and “pseudo intoxicated patron” in federal liquor licensing studies. He has traveled, lived, worked, and volunteered in more than 50 countries in five continents. While not running his consulting firm in Albuquerque, he is busy avoiding adulthood while wearing the least amount of clothes possible... usually in far away countries. Oh, also, he writes.
Aimless Vagabond
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