I came across a video on YouTube a few months ago. It was Sir Patrick Stewart telling Graham Norton how he’d found out, at age 75, that he actually was not circumcised, as he’d always believed.
Now, the idea that a man could reach 75 before realizing that he is or isn’t missing a third of his penis, doesn’t actually surprise me. As far as I can tell, a man’s relationship with his dick is kind of like a dog’s relationship with a squeak toy: As long as it works, they’re happy.
But I got to thinking about what it must be like for the doctor who has to look at the penis of someone like Patrick Stewart, who isn’t exactly Joe Nobody, and tell him, “You’re not circumcised.” That’s gotta be awkward. Can you imagine being the doctor who orders a mammogram for Amy Adams? Or the doctor who does a colonoscopy on Bob Barker?
There’s only one type of doctor I can imagine who doesn’t get weirded out by being a doctor to the stars, at least a little bit, and that is a gynecologist. Anyone with a vagina knows why. It’s the exam table. Or it is for me, at any rate, because I am on the borderline of “short” and “might have a condition”. (For future reference, I’m just short. My mom is 5‘2”, and my bio-dad is, like, 5‘2.5”. Let’s hear it for genetics! Boo, hiss!) The exam table in a gynecologist’s office is where dignity goes to die.
So, here’s how it happens. About once every three years, I start to think, “You know, I might actually be cool.” I take inventory: I’ve picked out a signature scent (Chanel No. 5 L’eau, because, as the saleslady at Carson Pirie Scott told me, mere weeks after my 29th birthday, “Honey, you’re not old enough for regular Chanel No. 5. I’m seventy-five, and I’m not old enough for it!”). I’ve figured out how to dress and do my hair. I’ve finally mastered eyeliner. I’ve even learned how to pluck my bushy eyebrows, in a way that leaves them too full for brow fillers and lining various Kardashian pockets, but still looking like the eyebrows of a semi-civilized, thirtysomething, vaguely career-oriented woman. And right as I’m starting to reach the conclusion that, yes, I am cool, I get The Call.
“Hi, this is Dr. Vagina-Prodder, and I’m calling for Carrie. This is a reminder that you’re due for a pelvic exam and Pap smear. If you could give us a call back and set up the appointment…”
But I set up the appointment; after all, I have to make sure my junk is healthy, right? And I had HPV in my early twenties, so, gotta make sure that isn’t going from “well, the last Pap came back normal” to “congratulations! you have cervical cancer!” I grit my teeth and think, this time, it won’t be so bad. After all, I know what’s coming.
Oh, how wrong I am. How wrong I always am.
Check-in goes smoothly, I get to the room, I tell the nurse practitioner if anything new has come up, and then I’m left to either put on the ridiculous, back-tying gown that goes all the way down to my ankles, or just take off my jeans and underwear. In a desperate and ultimately futile attempt to save a small shred of my dignity, I opt for removing my jeans and skivvies.
My gyno comes in, making small talk, as if we both don’t know what’s about to happen. When she tells me, I assume the position: Feet in stirrups, ready for the speculum. And then it happens.
I feel the need to point out something about my build, here. In spite of my near-freakish lack of height, I was not also given a petite build. I was not graced with delicate curves that accentuate my tinyness. No, I was given broad shoulders, a vaguely barrel-ish ribcage, a large, flat ass, and anime titties. My build brings to mind the image of Dr. Victor Frankenstein getting fucked up on opium, deciding to build a woman from spare parts, and thinking to himself, “I must create a being not only in defiance of God, but physics and the limits of the human spinal cord.”
Or, as an acquaintance from high school once told me, “You enter rooms boobs-first.”
But of course, the mammaries are not what’s causing the issue when I’m on the exam table, feet in stirrups, waiting my doctor to tell me if my junk is healthy. So I hear, from somewhere between my legs, “Scoot your butt up.”
Every time. Every. Single. Time. “Scoot your butt up.” I scoot. “Further.” I keep scooting. “Almost.” I scoot, until I’m pretty sure the only thing holding the lower half of my body on the table is prayer and my resolute upper-body strength. I scoot until I am sure -not being able to see, but I sincerely hope this isn’t the case- that my doctor’s mouth is perilously close to my labia.
When she finally says, “All right, there we go,” I feel the last, tiny shred of my dignity wither and die. After the butt-scooting, the cold, unforgiving speculum almost leaves no impression.
This is, apparently, the price I pay for having been born with a vagina. This is also how I humiliate myself, in the pursuit of knowledge that my bitch canal is, in fact, healthy… For now. Until the HPV decides it must take my cervix.
My point is, gynecologists are the only doctors who aren’t weirded out by having famous patients, because, in some small way, them humiliating their patients is just part of the job.
Last updated September 03, 2020