“By the way, you’re clean, if you didn’t already know. I got tested yesterday after we had sex. Sometimes I’m responsible like that.”
We are putting our underwear back on to prepare for post-sex cuddles.
“Oh, alright. G-good to know. Thanks.”
I don’t know what to say. This may make me sound like a careless asshole, but it didn’t cross my mind to get tested after having sex with her. If the sex was bad, I would make an appointment the next day. But because it was good, I toss safety out the window? Logic has been replaced with multiple orgasms.
My general physician gives me a business card of a gynecologist he recommends.
“Here, go see her. She’s good with the lesbians.”
It’s a soft purple card with yellow and white print. All For Women. Sturdy card stock. I scan reviews on Yelp at my office desk one afternoon. 4.2/5 stars. Close to my home, often runs behind schedule. Not sure I’ve ever heard of a doctor’s office that ever runs ahead of schedule… I call to make an appointment.
Two days before my check up, I get slammed with my period. And folks, it’s not light. Fantastic. Some unfortunate soul is scheduled to give me an oil change and a tune up in 48 hours. I call the doctor’s office. My voice is low and hushed, because I thought the perfect time to call was at ten o’clock in the morning at my office desk.
“I— uh, started my period this weekend. Should I reschedule? I don’t want to… gross out the doctor.”
“That’s ok, is your flow heavy?”
I hate when they say that word. It sounds like a lazy river at a resort.
“Uh, no, not really.”
HAHA. Blatant lie. I bleed like it’s going out of style.
“Then you’re all good! She’s seen much worse, I can assure you.”
I shower everyday. My vagina probably sparkles in the sun if it ever saw one. My room and personal life are a mess, but I will be damned if I’m going to be unhygienic. It’s the least I can do for her.
I leave work at four to get to there early to fill out paperwork. The office is clean. I approve. Smells sterile, but with a hint of a Glade plug in. Two women sit on either side of the waiting room, with the reception desk in-between. I migrate to the left near an outlet to charge my phone. The office is quiet as shit, so of course I drop my charger. An eager blonde picks it up for me and plugs it in place.
“Haha! I hate when that happens, don’t you?”
“Ha, yeah. It’s my only charger I own right now, so I guard it with my life.”
“That’s so weird! I misplace mine all the time! My assistant and I keep having to order new cords for my office.”
I smile and go back to writing in my journal. Thee eager blonde is ushered through the door to the examination rooms, but not without waving goodbye to me. This woman is frolicking though flowers here and my palms are sweating. Nice. I go back to examining the room; my eyes take note of the women sitting across the way from me, then to the coffee station. Oh, what joy, what do we have here?! There are female condoms right next to the sugar and creamers. A cute homemade construction paper sign indicates they are free. I do not take one. If I can’t get my act together to see a gynecologist for two years, I certainly don’t have time to learn and implement a lady condom.
I’m called next. Gathering my items, I am led to exam room #2. Tiny, but still clean. Before the nurse finishes her first sentence to me, out falls the question I never wanted to ask.
“I’m on my period. Do I have to take out my tampon? Should I do that now or like later?” The nurse squints her eyes, and I notice her eyebrow piercing for the first time.
“Yes, you need to go do that. There are wipies for you to use after.” I never ever want a grown woman tell me to use a wipie again. “Yeah, right, you’re right. Totally. Sorry, I— yup, ok.”
I’m directed to the bathroom. My palms are literally sweating. I’m disgusted. Soon my cotton savior is in the trash. As I innocently stand up to pull up my jeans, the door fucking flies open and who should it be but my eager friend from the waiting room. I forgot to lock the door. I forgot to lock the door for a restroom in a doctor’s office. I never forget to do stupid stuff like that.
“Oh my God, sorry! I guess we’ve just gotta be best friends now!”
I let out a cackle that was too loud for comfort. (Maybe because I was overcompensating for the fact that my pants were halfway down my thigh?)
Back in the exam room, I’m told to remove every piece of clothing. While removing my tank top, I remember that I’ve been wearing Doc Martens all day and my feet are going to smell to high heaven. No man, this can’t be happening. Without even thinking that maybe it’s not appropriate, I rummage through the cabinets in the room. I find alcohol wipes. That’ll do. I plop down on the crinkly paper with my bare ass and begin cleaning my feet like a maniac. Then I lay down on the crinkly paper once more, this time covering myself up with the—not a gown, a sheet provided for patients. It’s uncomfortable and unflattering.
The doctor comes in and puts my legs in the stirrups. My heart is now racing, and my mouth won’t stop moving. Like I literally won’t shut the Hell up. About how I’m nervous, how I haven’t gotten tested in two years, how I’m sorry that I haven’t gotten tested in two years. Now it’s starting to sound like an apology. Like a Catholic confession.
But in all honesty, Dr. Tam was totally cool. She let me run my mouth all the way from my breast exam to my pap smear. When the exam was over, I was underwhelmed. When she told me that I should be feeling some pressure as she pushed her fingers inside of me, I suppressed the strong urge to say “Oh, this is it? This is nothing!” But thank God I kept my mouth shut for once.
Now I’m just waiting for the physical letter with my results. It would make too much sense to just call me on the phone.
About the author...
Sarah McCarten is a Chicago based comedian. After graduating Columbia College in 2015, she took a break to be an adult. Now that that's over, she's studying at Second City and making the jokes around town.