"I've been waiting to do this for over a month," says engineer Michael G. Haskins, donning protective rubber gloves in one of WBAI-FMs (99.5) cramped West Side studios. He points to two fortyish women sitting opposite the control panel: Virginia Reath, a reproductive-health activist who works at a gynecological practice, and Barbara Glickstein, a registered nurse, hospital administrator, and co-producer of the WBAI womens-health program Healthstyles.
And now, says Haskins, stay tuned for Snatches -- where theres a time and a place. So begins the worlds first gynecological call-in program, a special edition of Healthstyles now heard at 1 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. (Snatches will take a brief hiatus in May and resume June 5.) But before the women plunge into this particular installment, on vaginal discharges, theres a musical interlude, courtesy of guest Nora York (lyrics by York-Glickstein-Reath), who sings to the tune of Burt Bacharachs The Look of Love:
The stuff of woo / is on my pants / The stuff down there / wont go away / The stuff of woo is so annoying / it takes my day away / Is this the sugar binge not an STD I pray . . .
Glickstein and Reath have brought a funny, loose Kaffeeklatsch tone to the unmentionable, thereby liberating a call-in audience to share some intimate moments. Bertha from Brooklyn, 70, tells a heart-wrenching story of the discovery of her first period by her panicked mother and observes, If only young girls could listen to your program, it would be a revelation. You girls are the end of shame.
We want to break through the shroud of embarrassment, says Glickstein. And on Snatches, a whole range of uncomfortable subjects -- first periods, feminine-hygiene products, sexually transmitted diseases -- are fair, often funny, game. Were going to be talking a lot about down there, Glickstein says, because down there is rich. Its also poignant, because its the topic through which we women have been trashed so badly.
The two met in Yonkers at a health conference -- the dry, academic atmosphere drove them from the lecture hall at the same time. They decided to combine their knowledge with their natural repartee. Glickstein persuaded her Healthstyles co-producer to cede the occasional show to Snatches, and now, after The Body Hair Show and The Pelvic Exam Show, it draws a loyal and large audience presumably separate and apart from its lead-in program, Natural Living, hosted by nutritionist-conspiracy theorist Gary Null.
We want to break down the boundaries, but not break down the club, says Glickstein. Adds Reath, We love the club.