I cannot imagine what happens in other countries, but as happens to everyone in Italy, the first time I heard the word “anus” (ano) was in elementary school, due to a spelling error of the word “year” (anno).
The mistake was not mine, luckily, at the time there were not the scruples of today, education was old-fashioned, bigoted catholic pedantic, based on guilt and shame, obligations, duties, fatigue and all the rest of their arsenal. All this was still in vogue, even latent behind psychoanalytic-secular new stuff, fashionable in the ‘70s. It is not enough to say “no, I am not …” in order not to really be, or stop being.
I remember saying to myself, while general embarrassment and ridicule for the news raged on: “How strange is that such a thing even has a proper name.” It seemed insignificant to me.
I was convinced that in life I’d never use the word; why? To say what? I thought that I would even forget it.
You can’t forget it, in Italian it is too similar to “year” and to the name “Anna”. Once you know it, it will never leave your mind!
About the usage, who would have imagined, at the time, that instead of that “hole from which the poop comes” (that was the given definition), it was so important and the center of so much attention and phobias: sometimes the point of orgasm for women or men, or the surrogate of the vagina for homosexuals, receiving so much significance by different fetishists in so many practices, psychologists, psychiatrists, husbands, wives, and even sick, neurotic people.
I had very little experience of life, I must have been one meter high; everything I liked, I stopped liking it and everything that did not hold my attention, or I did not like it, I became interested in and then stopped again. Strange that one considers himself every version of himself that he can find in his memory, and that he considers normal that fact. We are so different as time goes by.
At that time I had not even developed all my vast lexicon of potential, and I did not imagine that someday I would have been interested in the anus, nor that with the asshole you could play certain games or do comparisons, even semantic games by calling people in such way, entire categories of people.