It’s true that nicknames for male genitalia are myriad, and often pretty amusing, but none is as offensive as the C word (certainly not that other C word, a piker by comparison). The derogatory term for vagina just seems so foul, so dirty, so … down there. But wait: isn’t the perfectly neutral word “vagina” enough to send most men screaming from the room? Our aversion to the C word may simply reflect our cultural aversion to the C. “The suggestion is that, from the Middle Ages through to the 19th century, and perhaps beyond, men have feared the unknown quality of a woman’s sexuality, most specifically her ability to deceive when it comes to conception,” writes linguist Ruth Wajnryb in Expletive Deleted. She adds that since “the c— is the place where deception and betrayal transpire … the male ego would feel sufficiently threatened to need to deride and denigrate the female quintessence.” Plus, I hear some of them have teeth!