I want to discuss something that I have never seen addressed in a women's magazine or in any book. It's a very real issue that affects many women. And that issue is getting hot pepper in your ladybits.
No, that's not a euphemism. I am talking about how, sometimes, from cooking, you or a partner gets hot pepper on her hand, and somehow it ends up in your vagina. Because this has happened to almost everyone I know, and it's really, really painful. (There's a reason this is a method of torture.)
When I say I "want" to discuss it, I use the term loosely, because, come on. But I do think it's an issue we need to get out in the open, if only to figure out the best way to deal with it because, I'm sorry, sometimes we don't all wear rubber gloves when handling chillis, even though we're supposed to, and it's really, really hard to get the capsaicin from a pepper off your hands, no matter how well you think you've washed them.
If the words "hot pepper" and "vagina" for some reason sound sexy in combination, l assure you: it ain't. (And it's not a coincidence that the first hits on a Google search are all about neutralizing the pain rather than pervy sexytimes.) Let me paint an unsexy picture for you. The dish was a Barefoot Contessa frittata. The culprit? A jalapeno. A tampon was changed. And then came the agony.
My boyfriend found me writhing in pain on the bed.
"Jalapeno...in...vagina" I managed to gasp, and after he'd ascertained that this was not, in fact, another attempt at natural healing, he made a dash for the pantry.
"You have to neutralize it!" he shouted, and, before I could see what he was about, proceeded to sprinkle my lower half liberally with Guittard cocoa powder.
I don't know where he got this idea. I think he must vaguely have had mole in mind. What I can tell you is that it didn't help.
"You have to use yogurt — you know, like raita," one friend said sagely when I delicately broached the subject a few days later.
"Vagisil doesn't work against a hot pepper," said another friend. "You just have to live with the agony."
"Nothing," said a third "is a bigger buzzkill in sex." She alluded to an unfortunate incident with a guy she'd briefly dated who worked in a jerk chicken restaurant.
An Internet search showed that my friend was right: whole-milk dairy — yogurt or milk both work — are a good way to neutralize the heat of such a situation. It also showed that this can be really bad — and that people were really abusive to adulterous women in ancient Greece — so, you know, go to the hospital if you're dealing with a Naga Viper, or even a habanero. And if you do, don't be embarrassed: you're in good company.
And even if you have the sneaking suspicion that this is not the sort of thing that ever happened to Audrey Hepburn, cheer up: at least you're not watching expensive cocoa powder get wasted while you're at it.