Of all the STIs, genital warts are perhaps the most vividly descriptive, muses Georgie Adamson in her autobiographical sexual whodunit Who Gave Me Genital Warts?. The name says it all, and as soon as it’s uttered to a potential new partner as part of the routine pre-coital disclaimer, there’s a good chance that some graphic imagery will spring to mind.
“Don’t you start imagining it, either,” she scolds, covering her crotch with her hands.
Upon discovering that a particularly stubborn ingrown pubic hair was something a little more sinister, Adamson found herself burdened with the undesirable task of contacting her ex-lovers with the news that they may have shared more than just a night of casual sex.
After wading through a sea of awkward conversations and defensive “wasn’t me” responses, she found herself wondering who the true culprit may be.
Rummaging through the memories – and sometimes, lack thereof – of her sexual past, Adamson recounts losing her virginity, her first love and her sexual awakening in a quest to find the person responsible for giving her genital warts.
And so, she launches into vivid recollections of her erotic encounters – warts and all, so to speak – as if she were Sherlock Holmes and the audience her Watson, compiling evidence and calling on the crowd to help her connect the dots.
Between employing Law and Order soundbites to punctuate potentially case-cracking epiphanies and intermittently sucking on a prop pipe while pondering the facts, it’s hardly a spiteful mission.
Adamson even gives her ex-lovers aliases in the form of David Lynch characters to ensure their privacy.
Rather than playing the blame game – except in a comical sense – WGMGW? becomes more of a reflection on the lessons we learn about ourselves through romantic relationships, even those that only last the night.
So much so, it becomes an introspective journey encompassing everything from how women’s sexual desires and needs can often fall by the wayside in hetero-normative sexual encounters to the distinction between emotional and physical intimacy.
And so the moral of the story – aside from, ‘wear a condom’ – becomes one of self-love. As Adamson so eloquently puts it, “If you can’t love your warts, how can you love anyone else?”
Who Gave Me Genital Warts? ran as part of Melbourne Fringe.