“I will try to keep this from becoming gamy, but it is going to be hard. This is an article about the feminine-hygiene spray, and how it was developed and sold. I will try to keep it witty and charming, but inevitably something is going to sneak in to remind you what this product is really about. This product is really about vaginal odor. There are a lot of advertisements on television for the product that are so subtle on this point that some people—maybe not you, but some people—might not even know what the product does. There are a lot of men who manufacture the product who are so reluctant to talk straight about it that you can spend hours with them and not hear one anatomical phrase. They speak of “the problem.” They speak of “the area where the problem exists.” They speak of “the need to solve the problem.” Every so often, a hard-core word slides into the conversation. Vagina, maybe. … Here, for example, are the words of Larry Foster, a public-relations man for Johnson & Johnson, manufacturers of Vespre and Naturally Feminine. He is speaking here of feminine-hygiene spray and cunnilingus; I tell you this for the simple reason that he does not.
“’What we are talking about here,’ said Foster, ‘is first, sex, and second, that segment of sex and how you react to it.’”
—Nora Ephron, 1973, from the essay “Dealing with the, uh, problem,” in Crazy Salad