Let’s talk about vanilla and sex. Before you shake your head and jump to conclusions, hear me out.
Vanilla is one of nature’s epitomes of sensuality.
The vanilla orchid, a chartreuse and golden beauty native to Mexico, is said to have sprouted from the blood of a heavenly princess, trying to flee with her mortal lover, only to be slain and beheaded by her celestial father. Adored by the Aztecs and maddening European botanists, this culinary elixir has been worshipped for its unmistakable flavor as well as purported magical qualities as an aphrodisiac, fever calmer and temper tamer. Can you imagine the devastating grief a French dessert chef would plunge into should vanilla disappear!? Even the name vanilla is erotic, diminution of the same Latin-ancestor that begat our current word vagina. She is such a fickle lover, that to produce the coveted and expensive bean, she’s forced humans into serving as her pollination bitch and botanical sex slave. Every drop of real vanilla we consume comes from of painstaking hand-pollination, one flower at a time.
In truth, sex that is truly vanilla would be exotic, intoxicating, unforgettable and bordering on addictive. It would be lush and pampered, fragrant, fleeting yet unhurried. Vanilla sex would capture, enslave, colonize and battled over by people willing to die over it. The scent teasingly lingers upon the cusp of innocence and carnality like Nabokov’s Lolita.
It breaks my heart when the term is used disparagingly. Perhaps the derogatory term was coined, and then perpetuated, by the culinarily impaired, gastronomically impoverished and sensually ignorant, to whom the notion of vanilla equated with cloying cheap artificial flavor masked by excessive fake sweeteners or corn syrup. Did you know that fake vanilla is made from wood-pulp byproduct or petrochemical derivative? Ew.
Next time you wrap your hands around a thick waffle cone of dripping ice cream, or lusciously lick crème brulee, I hope you might ponder the erotic power of vanilla!
With love and lunacy,