The Bishop’s Vagina

I’ve just realized that I’ve been in my new office for three weeks and it looks like I moved in yesterday. Boxes are stacked along the walls. Artwork on the walls is minimal, as is desk junk, since I keep forgetting to bring in my name plate and such. I took all of my personal stuff home when we moved so that the movers wouldn’t damage or fuck around with my stuff. Stacked on the edge of my computer cart are three framed photos of Chicago that Alex and I took in Grant Park and from the steps of Shedd Aquarium when we were there last summer. I was just looking at them and remembered the story of the Bishop’s Vagina.

The Bishop’s Vagina is better known to most of you as the Stone Container Building, or the Smurfit-Stone Building, which I believe is its official name. You may remember it from its prominent role in the box-office smash Adventures in Babysitting. Actually, it probably wasn’t a box-office smash, but it’s one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies.

A few years ago, my former best friend told me that the building looked the way it did because it was designed by a woman, who thought it was wrong that skyscrapers looked so phallic and decided to design the distinctive shape of this building to look like a vagina. I didn’t know whether it was true or not, but it made a good story, so when Alex and Craig and I were hanging out last summer, I told them.

Someone pointed out that it looked vicious. Alex called it the Vicious Vagina building. Craig misunderstood her and thought she’d said something about a bishop’s vagina, and The Bishop’s Vagina has been the Stone Container Building’s name to me ever since.

Incidentally, when I was doing research to write this entry, I learned from that skyscraper site that The Bishop’s Vagina was designed by one Sheldon Schlegman, so apparently the whole vagina thing was entirely made up after all.

* * *

Oh, and one more thing. I have a bizarre crush on Richard Dawson. Turns out I’m not the only one. Woo!

Comments 6

  • OMG OMG OMG OMG! Richard Dawson! *rowrrrrr* In the book I'm writing now the hot teacher that everyone loves is named Mr. Dawson, for my hot older man crush, Richard Dawson.

  • Yikes, Richard Dawson? The skeevy man I bought my car from looks just like him. I shouldn't poke fun, though, for those who love Bob Saget shouldn't throw rocks. Or something. Hope your interview went well!

  • for some reason, the building looks really squat in the first photo. i always thought as a child that it was just an unfinished building, and that it was to be the counterpart of the taller Standard Oil Building (which hasn't been called the Standard Oil Building for years, but I just don't know what it's called these days), which looks very similar (except it has vertical window slats instead of horizontal ones). One more parenthetical phrase and I get a free video rental from Blockbuster.

  • yeah, it does look squat, doesn't it? like someone put a hand on it and pushed several stories of it underground or something. anyway, the things i really love about that photo are the wet streets, the remnants of snow, and the glow of the lights. i remember going walking on afternoons just like that, and it makes me majorly nostalgic.

  • and when i say “i know the feeling,” you know i really do.

  • My cousin is Sheldon Schlegman, the architect for the Stone Container Building. I will ask him directl what he had in mind when designing the building. I will post his true intention at that time.

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