Before it was just the equipment I brought to the sex table; now, it's the bane of my life.
Rocco drinking tampon tea in Anatomy of Hell
"TIFU [Today I Fucked Up] by letting my boyfriend finger me" is a deeply scarring reddit story that was flying around Twitter all of yesterday, putting everyone off their lunch and vaginas in the process. I won't go into the full details because I don't want to be personally responsible for you sicking up all over yourself, but it revolves around a menstrual cup and "rotted uterine filth". This story reminded me of the worst film I ever paid to see.
You know the girl in art class who put her tampon in a teacup and spouted some bullshit about womanhood and repressed femininity and how this tampon in a teacup was a piece of art that summarised all of that in a clever nod to austere Victorian ideals, or whatever? That girl grew up to be French film director Catherine Breillat. In her film Anatomy of Hell, she literally puts an actual bloody tampon in an actual cup of water. And then makes an Italian porn star called Rocco drink it. Let me explain what's happening here.
The film (it is French, obviously) opens with a dude-on-dude blowjob in a car park. This is to inform us that we are now outside a gay club. Inside this gay club is a woman (Amira Casar) in a white T-shirt looking bitchy as all hell, like she should really call it a night and just go home for a weak herbal tea. Instead, she and her PMS walk straight through the middle of the dance floor and deliberately bump into all the guys who are just there for a nice night out and maybe a blowjob in a car park. She shoulders one guy (Rocco Siffredi) so hard that he follows her into the bathroom.
She's in there to slit her wrists in a tiled wipe-clean room, and he finds her bleeding all over her skirt when he comes in to get his dick sucked. By her. Because that's what all gay guys want: to get sucked off by a woman in the toilets. He asks her why she slit her wrists in the surprisingly deserted nightclub toilet. She replies, bleeding, but not all that profusely: "Because I am a woman."
This is the first time while watching Anatomy of Hell that you think, 'Why am I watching Anatomy of Hell?' If your answer is, "Because I work in a DVD shop and watch literally every movie that comes through these doors," then we are very similar breeds of idiot.
After they get her wrist sewn up at the chemist and she blows him under a street lamp as a thank you present she says she will pay him good money to come over for the next four nights and just watch her when she is "unwatchable", i.e. having her period all over the bed. Her reasoning here is that because he's such a massive gay – and therefore won't be busy trying to fuck her, like all other men – he'll be able to drop truth bombs impartially.
She's essentially paying him to sit up in an uncomfortable chair all night while she sleeps and occasionally stares him out while flashing her pubes to camera. Fun party. No one ever mentions an actual cash amount, but the Italian porn star gets his dick out a lot.
If you're wondering where all this is going, then – SPOILER ALERT – when the four nights are over the woman leaves town and the man has some emotions on a cliff, suggesting this period party actually meant something to them both.
The trailer for Anatomy of Hell
There's a feeling you get when you're watching a movie like Alien or Aliens on a shitty screen in your room – one where you can see every 8-bit pixel – that makes you think, 'I wish I'd seen this at the cinema months ago instead of on this shitty screen.' That feeling comes from the fact that you want to catch every bit of everything that happens.
I did not have this feeling while watching Anatomy of Hell. There is a shot where the camera is so far up this lady's junk that it must have been gaffered to her thighs. As she birthed a stone dildo and it flopped out onto the bed sheets I did not think, 'Boy, I wish this was in HD.' I also did not have this feeling when the guy's hard dick pulled out and a wave of period blood gushed over the woman's lower butt area. Gushed. All I thought was, 'Put a towel down. Put a dark-coloured towel down.'
Anatomy of Hell has one good point. It is exactly 77 minutes long. Like a 250-page novel, I would say this is optimal, bladder-wise. But every one of these 77 minutes is about how men are afraid of, and therefore hate, women. They're scared that when they have sex with them they will be sucked up inside their vaginas like that Bilquis scene in American Gods. But are they really? I wasn't scared of vaginas until I saw this film. Now I am. It makes having one awkward because I have to see it all the time and be in its general vicinity as I go about my daily life. I'm afraid I might sit on something at a weird angle and swallow a Swiss yoga ball.
I'm also now very specifically afraid that one particular scene from Anatomy of Hell will play out in its entirety in my real life: that some man I have invited into my bed will tiptoe to the bathroom cabinet, find a red lipstick that I'm really into and costs upwards of £13, tiptoe back to the bed with it and sit beside me. I'm afraid that he will then take the lamp from beside the bed, pull it over and down towards my naked arse. I'm afraid that he will then take this lipstick I like and draw up and around my anus. I'm afraid that he will lift my leg up like I'm livestock that he's checking for worms, and that he will continue the lipstick line from my anus in a loop, up and around my vagina and pubes. I am afraid he will return the lipstick to the bathroom cabinet and next time I actually need it it'll be run out.
Before this movie, a fanny was just a thing I pissed out of and the equipment I brought to the sex table. I didn't really think about it. It's not all that interesting; it was just a fanny. It still is.
But just as a long grey-haired man in double denim will always make me think of Bob from Twin Peaks and subsequently send my stomach flipping, so will women talking about periods at me like it's NBD; so will gross stories on reddit; and so will the sight of men sent out for tampons, suicidal in the Boots aisle, trying to decide between light and heavy flow.
Anatomy of Hell made me this way.