One Bawdy Woman
There’s an old woman—a wild woman if you please—who lives in the hearts of women around the world. She’s the cheeky little goddess named Baubo, the bawdy goddess of mirth. She kicks and dances, sometimes in suggestive dances, as she roars and cackles, reminding women that laughter—belly shaking laughter—is good for us.
But not just laughter, it is a particular type of mirth. For, within her bag of gifts is the ability to make women laugh unrestrained, not caring how they look, if their makeup is smeared or their hair mused, it causes them to double over holding their aching bellies and later wiping the mascara-smearing tears rolling down their faces.
This laugher is never shared when men are present—for they wouldn’t understand. It is reserved for those days when women pull away for ‘time with the girls,’ and is often late at night. Sometimes the event resembles a slumber party filled with giggling seven-year-old girls.
In Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D, describes this type of laughter as often containing obscene innuendos. (Oh, my goodness! She says, her hand over her mouth, a pink blush on her cheeks.)
In ancient times, women’s sexuality often held a sacred context. In our language today, it is difficult to understand how that can be, since many women today have been taught that ‘obscene’ is not ladylike.
However, there is something different about obscene laughter shared between women. It seems to reach deep into our psyches, shaking loose things that are too tight. It plays on our bones and helps us begin to breathe. For to be able to laugh like that requires that we exhale and quickly take another breath. It is a type of humor that goes beyond the intellect to the very core of our being.
No one knows for sure where Baubo lives, but I saw her last weekend at a women’s retreat in San Angelo, Texas. Before that, she danced across the floor late one night when my sister and I sat up late and talked about—men.
Then, again, she often shows up in the personality of a particular friend of mine who never takes life too seriously. I saw her once, years ago when my aunt kicked and prissed across the floor, her undergarments on her head. Then again, Baubo was present every time Mae West stepped on stage.
She’s a wild woman all right, but I call her Baubo, and laugh my head off every time she shows up. Look for her, invite her in, and laugh till your sides ache.
What about you? Share with us a time when Baubo showed up at your “koffee klatch.” A time when you and a group of other girls or women gathered and Baubo showed up.