When I lived in New York, a co-worker asked for a gynecologist recommendation. I’d only been to mine once, but her office was swanky and she seemed nice enough, so I passed along her name.
A few weeks later, my co-worker tracked me down.
“Your gynecologist is a bitch.”
“Oh no! What happened?”
“Well she asked me if I was in a relationship and I told her I was. Then she asked if I was on the pill and I said yes. And then she asked if we were using condoms and I told her no.”
“And then she asked why we weren’t using condoms.”
“Yeah. So I told her that we stopped using them because we’d been dating for three years and I was on the pill.”
“And then she asked me if I thought that was a good idea. So I told her I didn’t see what the problem was since we were in a monogamous relationship.”
“And then she said, ‘But how do you know? How do know you’re in a monogamous relationship? How do you know he’s not cheating on you?’ And even after I told her that I just knew, she insisted that I couldn’t possibly actually know and that it was foolish of me to assume that was the case.”
“Oh. Wow. Sorry…”
“Yeah, I’m never going back to her."
“Really? I mean that totally sucks… but the changing room is so nice!”
In my defense, it was super fancy. Kind of like a locker room at a luxurious spa, complete with hangers for your clothes, soft cotton gowns, mood lighting and all of the amenities one might need immediately following a vagina examination.
So instead of going through the trouble of finding a new gynecologist, one who might not offer Kiehl’s lotion or even have a changing room, I decided to do what any girl in my position would do: Stick with the same chick and lie through my teeth.
To be clear, my gynecologist had never pulled anything like that with me, but just in case, every year between the ages of 22 and 26 when I’d go in for my exam, she’d ask me if I was in a monogamous relationship and I’d lie.
“Yes,” I’d say with the smile of an angel.
“Are you with the same person you were with the last time I saw you?’ she’d ask.
“Yup!” I’d chirp, even though it should be clear after spending five minutes with me that I’m incapable of staying in a relationship for more than a few months.
“And are you using condoms in addition to the pill?” she’d ask.
“OF COURSE,” I’d reply. Because sex with condoms and the pill is totally something my vagina just BEGS for.
“I'm so glad your relationship is working out,” she’d say. “You seem really happy.”
Yes, I am. Because I’m 24 and I just dumped my latest boyfriend for a hotter guy. Now stick that speculum in, take your sample, and write me a new birth control prescription. I don’t know who I’ll be having sex with next, but I sure as hell don’t want to get pregnant!
In case you’re judging me and thinking that pregnancy or an STD is exactly what I deserved for lying to my doctor, I’ll have you know that this woman also believed in performing an annual rectal exam. Google tells me this is so she could see how my uterus was aligned with the rest of my reproductive organs, but life tells me that this is not a common practice and that my OB/GYN was a bit of a sadist who was probably torturing me for being such an obvious fraud.
In addition, lest you think I stopped lying to my gynecologists with age, you have way too much faith in me because I’ve done no such thing. Sure, I stopped fibbing about important stuff (for the most part), but if you think I’m going to tell my doctor that actual amount of alcoholic beverages I consume on a weekly basis, well then, you clearly don’t follow me on Twitter. I don't even tell myself how many drinks I down every week.
Plus, I figure they kind of know I’m lying to them. Do we really think that doctor a few years ago who wanted to know why I had huge black and purple bruises all along my inner thighs actually believed they were from “snowboarding” and being “suuuuuuper clumsy?” She knew exactly how I got those bruises and, frankly, I think it was inappropriate of her to even ask. Boundaries!
Which is why, when I headed out the door for my annual exam a few days ago, I decided that regardless of what my doctor threw at me, I was only going to provide her with essential information. I don’t know why my relationship status even matters. If I want to be tested for STDs, I will ask the doctor to test me for STDs. If I want to get pregnant, I will let the doctor know I want to get pregnant. (For the latter, see also: NEVER!)
Beyond that, I just want her get in there, poke around as much as she needs to, and let me know if anything seems fishy.
(I mean, really Daisy? What is my problem? It’s like I just can’t help myself and, for that, I apologize. Also: NOTHING WAS OR EVER HAS BEEN FISHY. MY VAGINA IS AMAZING AND SMELLS LIKE COOKIES.)
I walked into that office prepared for everything. I was resolute and determined. This doctor was only going to get the absolute essentials. I even refused to let the nurse weigh me, which is my new favorite thing to do ever since Lesley taught me that it’s an option. Of course, the point was sort of defeated when he made me tell him how much I thought I weighed, but still. Standing my ground! While not standing on the scale!
I didn’t care what this doctor threw at me; she was getting minimum vaginal discourse. No offense to her, of course, I just prefer discussing my vagina in large groups over cocktails using my outside voice. Nine am on a Monday morning? I hadn’t even had my first sip of vodka!
So yeah. I was armed and ready. Or as armed and ready as one can be when she is butt nekkid in a decidedly un-swanky Kaiser examining room swaddled in a sticky paper sheet.
But here’s the thing. My doctor came in -- and though she was perfectly pleasant -- she did not give a shit about my vagina. Or my sex life. Or the fact that my child bearing years are in a race to the finish line. And not even like a marathon finish line. More like a kindergarten fun run finish line. Possibly even a 50-yard-dash finish line.
She didn’t ask how many times a week I exercise or whether I smoke. Not about my diet or how much alcohol I drink. Considering I was once asked in a job interview what my relationship with my mother was like, I at least expect my doctor who society has given meddlesome carte blanche to try to get some dirt out of me.
Nope, the only thing she did was, while kneading my boobs, happily announce, “Your breasts feel like they’re full of oatmeal!”
“That’s a good thing!”
I was so in shock that when she asked me if I give myself monthly breast self-examinations, I almost told the truth. But then I caught myself and lied. After all, the only thing worse than getting a lecture from your doctor is getting a lecture from your doctor who just compared your awesome boobs to a hot cereal associated with a white-haired Quaker dude.
That’s right: I don’t give myself monthly breast self-exams, but thanks to my doctor, that won’t matter anymore. You can be certain that from here on out, I’ll be asking anyone and everyone I can to feel my boobs and tell me if they really feel like ground oat groats.
I’m sure one of them will let me know if they come across anything. After all, no one likes lumpy oatmeal.