“He’ll have to stop to take care of his mangina,” Dan commented about a cyclist in the next hotel room who he jokingly perceived as a very likely DNF (Did Not Finish) candidate.
My natural inclination was to hurl whatever was in my hand (a chunk of bread) at Dan’s head. And I indulged myself. My glutenous missile hit target with a satisfying plunk. Unfortunately, the two subsequent launches were batted away.
It was the night before the 330-mile gravel road Trans Iowa race, and Dan, Joe, and I were drinking IPA’s, slouching on hotel furniture, doing Hulk Hogan impressions, futzing with bikes, and giving each other crap at any given chance.
Even though I was enjoying my participation the pre-game brodeo, a line was crossed. Since, on this particular night, I was employing my best sailor mouth, I could tell that Dan was confused with my bread attack.
Saying that a man has a vagina, or mangina, is a nonsensical manner of attributing weakness. In this case, at an endurance gravel road race event, it especially struck me as incongruent. A couple of years ago, I raced the 200-mile gravel road race Dirty Kanza with a sausage party of 175. Only 40% of the field finished, and I was a finisher. I completed the race due to strategy, tenacity, and fitness. What do you think of my vagina now?
I have to give Dan a lot of credit. It seemed that he had never really thought about the term “mangina,” and actually understood my explanation (after I stopped throwing bread). Taking in consideration that his wife can put the smack down when they road bike together, it didn’t take long for the light to go on.
The rest of the weekend was marked by comments like, “Man, that guy must have hella labia.” And so on. Yes, the follow-up commentary was funny and a bit tongue in cheek, but underneath I knew that my point had hit target, just like my flying bread chunk.
I have come to find out that this interesting phenomenon of associating vaginas with weakness/physical failure is actually quite common among male cyclists and mountain bikers, even in “progressive” Portland circles (though usually not in front of women—akin to saying the f-word behind your parent’s back). While on a mountain bike ride, I overheard these guys, who were not especially fast, characterizing each other as having vaginas as a way of calling each other pansies, in typical dude banter.
This was particularly hilarious to me because I incidentally met their wives at a BBQ afterwards. One of these guys is supported almost entirely by his wife’s high-power lawyer job. The other guy would never have the labia to ridicule another guy as having a vagina in front of his wife…because she would hand him his ass clear and true.
So why this need to call other guys weak by saying they have a vagina? It’s apparent that women can kill it on a bike (hello, Reve Tour!). And any given man who says another man has a mangina can most likely be whooped by a female cyclist somewhere.
Some might say, “Dude, it’s just funny.”
I would respond that, no, it’s not. It doesn’t make sense and is disconcerting to me, owner of a very powerful vagina. By all means, I’m not a fan of standing on some self-righteous box and ordering folks what or what not to say. Yuck. Lord knows that doesn’t work on me. But, I will say that the practical effect of using the turn of phrase “mangina” is making the speaker look like a complete ass, in my opinion.
When men make mangina comments to each other, in little whispers so their wives and girlfriends can’t hear, it seems to me a clear indicator that something is lacking in that man’s true confidence in his own manhood. A man telling another man that he has a vagina as a tactic of degradation is a weak, flaccid, and transitory way of trying to prove manliness, as opposed to actually being a man and comfortably, unconsciously displaying man-status where the rubber hits the road.
Grow some labia, boys. Be man enough to stop proving you don’t have a vagina by saying that someone else does. Or, at the least, clit up and continue ridiculing each other as having manginas in front of your partners and females friends if you feel it’s truly right. You might be sad when you look up and find you are only in the company of bonafide dicks.
PS Mangina-themed soap advert capitalizing on insecure men.