Remember when I wrote that disgusting yet kind of funny piece about the foul smell in the office that turned out to be my vagina? Oh what good times those were. Same day I met Peter Dinklage, too. Anywho.
During that time I also developed an Almost Boyfriend. We had sex a few times. It was good.
I noticed that I kept spotting after sex. And I felt gross. I smelled gross. Especially after sex.
When I finally got into see an ob/gyn early last week, I met my new doctor, told her my symptoms, said hello to the young female Cornell med student there to observe, and I lay down on the table. After my doctor took a quick glance inside me using her vaginal mystery-solving flashlight, she called up to me with the good news from below.
"Well, I've figured out your problem," the doctor announced. "You've had a tampon stuck inside you. Way up inside. It's really far up there. Here, let me get it out. You're going to feel a lot better really soon."
My face went ashen at the news of what I had done to my poor vagina. I was horrified. Hor-rif-ied.
"Holy crap, what the hell is wrong with me?" I asked. "I mean, seriously. What. Is. Wrong. With. Me."
My doctor chuckled. "Oh, it's quite common. I see this all the time."
"No, no, no," I said, "Like, I'm sober now. I mean I had a tampon fucked inside me once when I was blackout drunk before I quit drinking by a guy who was a producer for Conan and he might have punched me in the face because we kept joking about people getting punched in the face and it was kind of a weird dark time, but, like, Jesus Christ, how could I let that happen now?"
The doctor smiled brightly. She nodded with a smile. "Mmm-hmm! Well, then."
The blond Cornell medical student took her cue from the doctor, and repeated the soothing words from earlier. "Yeah," she agreed. "It really does happen a lot. More often than you'd think."
"To you?" I asked. "Has it happened to either of you?"
Awkward pause. They shook their heads politely no.
"Yeah that's what I thought," I said, groaning. "Well, I guess I was just tired and spacey, and I was having such a heavy period, I must have put another one in and--" I covered my face.
"Do you mind," the Cornell medical student asked timidly, approaching the vagina workbench, "I'm really interested in women's health. Is it OK if I watch?"
"Yeah, go fucking nuts," I said, and closed my eyes. "Mi vagina es su vagina."
Just a minute later, and my crack medical duo saved me from the potential horror movie unfolding in my ladyparts down below ("Nightmare on Snatch Street"? Calling dibs on the movie option now).
"And...there we go!" my doctor said, holding the Thing up like a trophy of unfuckability. I looked at it with revulsion, nearly fainted and choked out, "Can you please. Just. Like. Get rid of it."
The two of them smiled comfortingly at me.
"Like, I don't need to keep it," I sputtered. "I don't want it for my memory book or anything."
The doctor and the student laughed uncomfortably. "No problem," she said, and with that, she tossed Tamponstein into the metallic receptacle of doom.
"So! That's taken care of. And now I'm going to begin the actual gynecological exam," my doctor said, inserting the speculum gingerly up inside my, to use a medical term, "TTP" (tampon-traumatized pussy).
And right then -- my phone rang. Like, right then.
It was the Comedian calling.
Yes, you may also know him as the Almost Boyfriend. We had just had a fight the night before, and I sent him an email in the morning saying I thought we were better off as friends. The gesture was totally said and done with love and appreciation and respect.
This time I really meant it. The age difference just felt too acute. A 29-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman. These things can work, no doubt, but while I may be too much of a fuck-up to realize I was on the verge of giving myself toxic fucking shock syndrome, my gut when it comes to romance in these past few years has usually served me well in matters of long-term compatibility. I stared at my ringing phone as the speculum went deeper inside me. Fuck it. I pressed answer.
"Hell--ow," I answered.
"Oh, hey," the Comedian said.
"So, hi. Yeah. I'm in the middle of my pap smear," I said, giving a thumbs up to the doctor and the student. "Like. Right now. They're, um, inside me. Can I call you later?"
"Ha," the Comedian said. "Yeah, sure. Of course."
The doctor smiled brightly at me.
"So are you working on any fun stories for your job right now?"
"Let's see," I said, "today I had a story about how when I look at porn sites I Google things like 'daddy' and 'rape.'"
She looked at me politely.
"OK, so," the lady doctor said, smiling at the Cornell medical student reassuringly. "I suppose it takes all kinds."
I nodded. "Yeah. I hear that a lot."
The two of them then assured me several times I had nothing to worry about (and my tests results were healthy as a nun, so go me!), but I was still pretty goddamn revolted that I had a dying tampon alien living inside me for almost a month. Like, seriously. Get a fucking grip, Stadtmiller.
I think that's about how I phrased it when I spoke to the Comedian later that day. Before we talked about our Almost Relationship, that is, I decided to "lead" with the exciting news of the vaginal treasure hunt earlier that day.
"Jesus," he said. "Are you OK?"
"Yeah," I said. "Just kind of horrified with myself."
And then we talked.
"Dude, I like you so much," I said. "But sometimes our relationship reminds me of how much I liked my ex-husband. We had such a great time together, but we got on each other's nerves, the same way you and I get on each other's nerves. I haven't talked to my ex in years and years, and I still miss him sometimes as a friend. I want to be friends with you for a long time, and I think that will be easier if we do it now."
"I understand that," he said. "And I like you so much, too."
"I'm glad, man," I said. "I love hanging out with you."
Then we talked for a while. I felt good. I think the old me would have stuck it out even when I didn't feel like it was a match.
The new me Facetimed with my friends and got a grip. I hugged my dog Sam a little tighter, and I said in a high-pitched voice, "I had a rotting tampon inside me, babydog, isn't that the grossest thing you've ever heard?"
Sam just panted happily and licked my hand.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.