It's been made very clear in the past that I can be a bit squeamish when it comes to the ladies and lady business. My boob phobia has been pointed out and brought to your attention more times than necessary and some of you have even criticized and shamed me for my unfounded (to this point) fear. I don't blame you. I also own it and am working on it. But this past week has brought my lack of knowledge (and my embarrassment level for said lack of knowledge) for the inner workings of your parts down there to light.
Talk of the Gyno In the Office: Over Share or Not?
For some reason, we have been inundated with story after story of trips to the GYN (or OBGYN- I recently learned what the true difference was via an internet search). I want to point out now that I don't find the female cycle strange or gross. It's a VERY important topic of discussion actually and I absolutely appreciate that. I'm not afraid of it in the least (mostly because I don't know all that much about it). But in addition to the stories on the site, everyone seems to be talking about it in the office, in text messages, in emails. My issue is I don't have anything to contribute and if I ask questions I run the risk of feeling dumb or out of place.
After a recent doctor visit, Jane had what was (from what I could gather) an unusual experience. As her assistant I want to make sure everything is ok. I want to hear about it all. But in this case all I could do was blush. While she was talking to the other ladies in the office the word "labia" came up and I had to put my head down to hide my red face. (I think "period" and "vulva" and something about brazilian bikini waxing not being a good thing came up as well.) I accept I work in a female-centric environment and most of the time I love it. But when these conversations come up I don't know what to do with myself.
Not My First Time Around the Vaginal Block
I grew up with a mother, a sister and a step mom who had/have periods. I am not so naive to not be able to acknowledge they exist, are real, can be terrible for some of you and not for others. I can also recall when the young girls in school would get their first and have to leave class usually very upset. It always seemed like an emergency, which I suppose it is when you get that first one, but no one ever really talked to me about it then (health class back in my day was a joke when it came to covering the specifics- and I was probably too young and embarrassed to listen too closely to the lesson).
As I do when I really want to know something I ask questions. It was my freshman year of college and I had developed some really awesome friendships with a couple girls who are still dear to me to this day. One of these friends and I were walking around campus on a very cold Chicago afternoon when, out of nowhere I had to ask, "What is a period like?" She stopped dead in her tracks, mouth wide open staring at me like I had lost my mind. She asked to repeat the question, I did and she proceeded to teach me everything she could between our last class and the student union. It was a difficult question to answer as much as it was hard for me to ask, but I was forever grateful (we still talk about it to this day) because not only did she tell me what it was but exactly what happens (at least from her point of view). For the first time I felt I knew something other guys didn't and probably would never because, well, most guys I know wouldn't ever ask.
So while I don't think this subject should or ever will dissipate while I am working in this environment I want to know if it's appropriate to be involved in the conversation. Can I ask questions? What is the etiquette for a guy when these types of subjects are being talked about right over my head, on my phone or in my inbox? I want to be involved, but tastefully, tactfully and with respect. (Laughing and blushing is not the answer, I know.)
Do I talk about the proctologist or the uncomfortable experience I have had in examinations of my man-junk or the back door? Or would that alienate me even further? As you can see I'm at a loss as to how to conduct myself. I'd say I would just stay quiet about it, but the topic comes up too much for me to do that. What should I do? If you think I am an idiot, that's fine, but don't call me an idiot without offering up some advice.
What I Do To Distract Myself
Not only has the above subject stressed me out a little but the office in general has been very hectic and a therefore a bit stressful too. Whenever I feel like it's getting too heavy I try to find something to distract the others or myself. Everyone does this. Some of the others like to break out the alcohol, which I also appreciate.
In this case Julie had gotten some lip tattoos to try out and I decided I wanted to take part. This is a bit uncharacteristic for me as it is rather attention grabbing for someone like me to walk around the office wearing what I can only describe as a rainbow flag on my lips. Is it a do this don't? Much to the other ladies disappointment I would’t wear it out of the office, at least not that day. Perhaps I will bust out the lips for pride celebrations next month? We'll see.
Have great weeks everyone! XO Bryan
Follow me as I learn more about the inner workings of the female species @BryanStendahl