Just like the dull agony of the menstrual cycle or the excruciating pain of tweezing your eyebrows, awkward appointments at the gynecologist are something that womenfolk must endure in their every day lives.
It cannot be denied that these caretakers of our lady bits are incredibly important. From the sacred gift of the prescription for birth control to the occasional terrifying STD test, they are our guide, helping us to safely navigate the treacherous jungle that is sexuality and the female anatomy. This does not make our visits to the gynecologist any less awkward, however. I’ve been seeing a gynecologist since I was a virgin fourteen year old with fainting spells and, even now, as a sexually liberal twenty-something I have not gotten any better at handling these crucial appointments. And I know I’m not alone.
1. All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go
It’s entirely possible that I’m the only person who does this, but I honestly feel that sometimes I prepare more thoroughly for an appointment to my lady doctor than I do for a hot date (the kind that ends in wild, jungle sex). I’m impeccably groomed, I select the cutest Victoria’s Secret set I own, and sometimes I go the extra mile and apply some soothing bikini line lotion. I just can’t seem to get past the idea that my gynecologist sees hundreds of vaginas on the daily and I do not want my doctor going home and saying, “That Caity. She really needs to up her vagina game. That was just sad.” And if my underwear are gonna be displayed on the little chair in the corner, they will, at least, be fashionable.
2. The Waiting (Room) Game
The waiting room at a gynecologist’s office is truly a fascinating place. You’ve got your middle schooler, waiting with her mom, about to embark on her first check-up. She has no idea what’s coming. You’ve got the couples that are checking fertility. The single ladies who could be doing any number of things. This isn’t the awkward part. The awkward part is that we’re all looking at each other, trying to figure out why the other is here. Is that woman pregnant? Is that middle schooler pregnant? Why is that dude just sitting there? Which one of you is the biggest slut in the sluthouse?
3. When They Sort of Judge You, But Not Really
I will never forget this experience: I had been seeing my lady doctor since I was fourteen (for fainting spells, remember) and she put me on birth control. But I was still a virgin and for several appointments, when I was asked about my sexual activity I always answered none. This earned me a smile and an approving nod. Then I hit fifteen and had sex for the first time with my long-term boyfriend at the time. I go to my annual appointment, “So, Caity. Still no sexual partners?”… “Umm. Well, actually, yes. I have one partner.”… “Oh…” And she frowned and made a note on her computer. I think this was the beginning of my becoming a raging feminist. I remember being so offended! I’ve gotten older and the amount of sex I have and my number of sexual partners has grown and I’m proud of the sex positive, empowered woman I am… but there’s always that little twinge when my doctor asks me the details of my sex life and I remember that feeling of judgment from when I was young.
4. The Exam
“Okay, just scoot to the edge of the table and get your feet up in the stirrups.” This is what it must feel like to be abducted by aliens. I bet every mother ship has a table with stirrups. “Okay, just relax…” Okay, deep breath. No big deal. Think relaxed thoughts. This is not an invasion. This is medicine. Ocean breezes. Sunlit meadows. “I’m gonna need you to really relax and loosen up.” Calming thoughts aren’t cutting it. Think sexy thoughts. Ryan Reynolds is my gynecologist. Yeah. I can roll with that. But what if I get into it and my doctor thinks I’m some sort of sex maniac? Do I keep thinking about Ryan Reynolds? Oh crap. Now I can’t stop thinking about Ryan Reynolds!! “Alright. Everything looks good, we’re done here.” Oh, thank god.