I Am So Not Sorry About My Vagina, And Other Apologies We Should Retract

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm really, really sorry. I'm sorry I looked at you while you were watching TV. I'm sorry I lowered the window. I'm sorry it's not organic. I'm sorry I got you so many Christmas presents. I'm sorry I cut my hair without asking you first. I'm sorry I applied to school. I'm sorry I wrote a book and didn't ask for your input. I'm sorry I said yes to that gig. I'm sorry I didn't get a higher grade. I'm sorry I gained all this weight. I'm sorry I lost all that weight. I'm sorry I sent two texts in a row, and I know this is the third one but I just want to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry I don't do coke. I'm sorry my vagina is so sensitive.

I'm sorry my vagina is so sensitive.

There's a moment at which every junkie hits rock bottom. I think that was mine.

I'm an apology addict. Most women I know are similarly afflicted. We think our value as females is dependent on being literally and figuratively pliable to the point of contortions that would make a pretzel or a porn star jealous. And in so doing, we not only devalue our actual important and genuine apologies ("I'm sorry I slept with your brother.") but posit ourselves as being ever in error, constantly over-speaking, overspending, over-laughing, over-crying, overeating, over-existing.

Men fear not being enough. Women fear being too much.

I'm sorry my vagina is so sensitive.

This is a thing I actually said to a man who wielded his erect penis with all the delicacy of a public works employee jack-hammering through concrete. There's making love, and then there's some good old-fashioned fuckin'. I'm pretty sure he thought he was doing the latter, but it actually felt as though he were attempting to shove my cervix up into my throat. To be fair to him, he was genetically blessed with an overabundance of drilling equipment. To be fair to me, my vagina is not constructed of reinforced steel.

I'm sorry my vagina is so sensitive.

I'm sorry my favorite and most treasured mucous membrane, the most sensitive part of my body, which happen to be attached to a wee nubbin that contains more concentrated nerve endings than any other organ in the human body, male or female – I'm sorry it doesn't enjoy being rammed with a giant, fleshy blunt object. Lo siento. Mi dispiace. Je suis désolée.

The worst part is that he was a good dude and probably would've responded kindly if I'd only had the guts to ask him to go slower. Instead, I apologized for not having a pussy that was impervious to pain, and then I irrationally resented him for it.

When I do stupid shit, which is often, I like to survey friends to hear their own tales of similar escapades. It's validating to hear I'm not the only one who has made a colossally boneheaded move. When I asked other gals for their own dumb apology stories, I was flooded with responses. Here are just a few. Some are funny; some are sordid; and a few are very sad.

  • "I have been known to apologize when bumping into inanimate objects. it's just force of habit and comes out before I realize how silly it is." – Stacy, Janesville, WI
  • "When someone bumps into me, I apologize and then a minute later I get annoyed with both the other person and myself." – Ashley, Seattle, WA
  • "I have taken sorry out of my vocabulary because I was using it so inappropriately. One example I can think of is someone mispronouncing my name and I apologized." – Jackie, Los Angeles
  • "I apologize for the length of my pubes, i.e., 'Hey, sorry, but I totally need a wax.' I feel like an asshole every time because who cares?" – Amelia, Manhattan
  • "I once apologized to my ex for catching him cheating!" – Meagan Kate, Portland, OR
  • "One time I was trying out for the Nets dance team and they asked for a double pirouette on each side and a toe touch. I went ahead and did a triple and apologized and one of the judges actually called me out. He was like, 'Seriously, you just apologized for being better than what we asked for.' And then I immediately apologized for apologizing." – Jaeme, Manhattan
  • "I apologized when trying to explain to someone that they can't drink the leftover coffees out of the bus bin in my restaurant. I apologized to someone after telling them they are no longer allowed to come into my restaurant 'because you poop all over the bathroom. Sorry!'" – Jessica, Lanesborough, MA
  • "I apologize to whomever is within hearing distance if I am not wearing mascara in public. For reals. I just begin every conversation with: 'I'm sorry, I know I'm not wearing mascara.' Come to think about it, I apologize on a pretty regular basis for not looking as lovely as I possibly can. 'I'm sorry, my hair looks SO bad. I'm sorry...ohmigod, I know is outfit is totally subpar. I'm sorry, I know my toes aren't painted.'" – Katy, Houston
  • "I'll apologize when the baby cries. Like I have much control over that." – Whitney, Middlesex, NJ
  • "A few years ago I was in the ER having emergency surgery and I apologized to the doctor for crying." – Sarah, Manhattan
  • "When sex hurts me, when people copy my homework and get one wrong, when I forget to clean my roommate's bathroom." – Christine, Chapel Hill, NC
  • "Apologizing for not being in the mood for sex is pretty high up there on the list of stupid shit I've said." – Maria, Oakland, CA
  • "My first boyfriend cheated on me and then started dating the woman he cheated on me with. A few months later, she cheated on him … I remember apologizing to him for not only having anticipated that this would happen, but having also secretly hoped for it. I genuinely felt responsible, as though my desire for a moment of schadenfreude had cosmically caused his current pain." – Carol, Manhattan
  • "I once found myself apologizing for telling my ex I was having a miscarriage, when he asked why I would spring such news on him during his finals week." – Amy, Japan
  • "I apologized to my boyfriend that I couldn't go down on him while shaking/crying from sexual assault PTSD." – Anonymous, Manhattan


It may seem like there's a long leap from apologizing for bumping into an inanimate object and apologizing for a traumatic flashback, but I don't think so. Words have the power to form our experience and thus our reality. The more unnecessary apologies we make, the more we unwittingly convince ourselves that we are at fault for everything — even a vicious crime in which we were the terrified victim.

We are a generation that arrived pre-empowered thanks to the work of our moms and grandmothers and great-grandmothers. We're smart, we're ambitious, we're hardworking, we're determined, we're badass, we're brilliant — and we're still so very, very sorry.

I wonder when we'll stop apologizing for existing.
Sara Benincasa is a writer, comedian, and general Jane of all funny trades. She is the author of Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom, which is available for pre-order on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Image via Feng Yu/Shutterstock.