Unless you’re some va-jedi warrior who bounds up on the exam table, shoves your feet in the stirrups, and looks your doctor straight in the eye, ordering, “Give me a papper with the works!”, then you, like all women, dread your annual visit to the gynecologist. That place is like a medieval torture chamber. Women are forced to endure more humiliation than a sorority pledge being hazed during hell week. However, the love of your cooka wins out, and you woman-up to face the horrors that await you. Here are some of the indignities women must suffer:
1. The Grooming
Knowing you will be naked in front of someone forces you to go into hyper-grooming mode. You logically know that doctors see naked people every day, and most of those people look far worse than you do on a bad day. Mentally, however, you cannot handle the thought of walking into the situation without putting your best foot… err, vagina forward. You begin your full body overhaul. Legs shaved… check. Armpits shaved… check. Pubes scaped… hmm… how much is appropriate for the doctor? If you go too bare down there, will your doctor think you’re a big ol’ hoochie, running a porn site out of your bedroom, resulting in a long drawn out sermon on sexual safety? If, however, you go au naturel, will your doctor think you’re a neglectful vagina owner and lecture you on the proper care for your lady bits? You decide to play it safe and go with the old standby landing strip. Once nary a hair is left untouched, next comes exfoliation. There’s something about being soft and smooth that makes you feel all slinky and confident, and you need all the empowerment you can muster to face the lady doctor.
2. The Waiting Room
You finally make it to your appointment and check-in with the receptionist only to be handed enough paperwork to write an autobiography. Not only do you have to give the history of your hoo-ha, but also the history of your mother’s, mother’s, mother’s hoo-ha. Besides hoo-ha information you must also provide any hospitalizations and surgeries you’ve had. You’re not exactly sure why your gynecologist needs to know the exact date you had your tonsils removed as a young child in order to give you a pelvic exam, but you do your best to check all of the correct boxes. Then you become aware of how little privacy you have. Sitting next to you is some creepy man who came with his pregnant wife, and he is blatantly reading your very private personal information. Then, in a loud stage whisper he says, “I had my tonsils out too, but they didn’t get it all. Now I get food stuck in them all the time. Do you wanna see?” He then proceeds to open his mouth right in your face, hitting you with the foulest shit-breath, and you swear can actually see a whole kernel of corn sitting where his tonsil should be. Although your eyes are watering from the sight and smell, his pregnant wife looks at you like you are trying to French kiss her nasty-ass husband right there in the waiting room.
3. The Nurse
After waiting half the day because your doctor had to go deliver a baby in the middle of office hours, the nurse finally calls your name. You’re ready to get the whole thing over with so you can go home, take a hot bath and scrub away the memory of this horrible day. You follow the nurse to what you think will be your exam room, but instead you are forced to step on a scale. Why do they need your weight? Are they afraid you will get so fat that you will suffocate your snatch? The nurse takes you into a different room to take your blood pressure (which must be extremely high at this point). Then she goes through your paperwork and begins a cross-examination that is a mixture of an SAT exam and a police investigation. Do you do monthly self-examinations on your breasts? When was the first day of your last menstrual cycle? How many sex partners do you have? When was the first day of your mother’s last menstrual cycle? You came in to make sure you weren’t growing cancer cells in deep dark places, not to take a test. If you hadn’t blocked out your last annual exam, you would have remembered to study. Yet somehow you are always caught off guard by these questions. Next you’re handed a tiny cup and asked to leave a urine sample. You go into the restroom and do a crazy yoga pose in order to pee into a tiny cup. Women are not built to urinate inside tiny cups. Instead you end up peeing all over your hand and hope the few drops that landed inside the cup is enough. You have to hobble to the sink with your pants around your ankles because you can’t touch your clothes with your pee hand. You wash up, do another crazy yoga pose to check for tiny pieces of cheap toilet paper stuck in your pubes, and then go out into the hallway to find the nurse.
4. The Exam Room
Here you are… the exam room. The nurse tells you to remove all your clothing and to drape yourself with the coverings on the exam table. You undress and wonder why you bothered wearing your extra pretty, matching bra and panties, no one else will see them, but you still hide them inside your folded clothes along with the last of your dignity. Then you contemplate whether you should wear your socks, or if that is somehow breaking the rules by not removing all of your clothing. Deciding to show off your freshly polished toenails, you go to the table to cover yourself. What you find is an oversized Kleenex and a paper vest. After covering yourself as best you can, you don’t know if you should go ahead and lie back on the table or if you should sit up while waiting for the doctor. You feel intimidated by the oven mitt covered stirrups and your butt crack is showing. So, you opt to lie down and stare at the ceiling, where you find a poster of a cat in a tree telling you to hang in there.
5. The Doctor
After waiting in the exam room for approximately another hour, your doctor finally walks in and asks how you are doing. You break the “always be honest with your doctor” rule and tell him you’re fine. Before beginning the exam the doctor asks the same questions the nurse just asked you an hour ago. It’s like they’re trying to catch you in a lie or something. You watch all of those detective shows, so you know good nurse, bad doctor when you see it. You ultimately buckle under the pressure and admit that you totally guessed on the exact date of the first day of your last menstrual cycle question.
6. The Breast Exam
After the interrogation questions, your doctor walks over to the table to examine your breasts. You lie there with your hands behind your head, doing your best to not make eye contact or slap your doctor in the face. When you do a self-examination at home, you feel around a bit, maybe get a little distracted and turn it into a fun time in the shower. Your gynecologist, however, really gets in there and starts kneading your girls like tough dough. Then he ends the whole thing with some sort of a nipple pinching titty-twister move. What the hell is up with that?
7. The Pelvic Exam
The opening act is complete and it’s time for the main event to begin. You know this because just like at the theater a spotlight is involved and your kitty cat is the star of the show. As the heat from the light hits your crotch, you second guess the broccoli you ate for lunch and pray you don’t fart in your doctor’s face during the exam. Then you hear the dreaded words, “Please place your feet in the stirrups and scoot down to the end of the table… a little more… a little more… all the way to the end… just a little more.” The image of a dog scooting its butt across the carpet gets pushed out of your mind as your doctor starts trying to have small talk with you while his face is approximately three inches from your muff. Not only is your doctor’s attempt to put you at ease not working, you are slightly disturbed by the vaginal acoustics coming from your crotch.
8. The Speculum
Then out comes the speculum, the duck-billed torture device used to hold open the walls of your va-jay-jay so the doctor can see your cervix. After slathering on a handful of lube, your doc shoves the cold blades of steel into your holiest of holies. Then he cranks it open, making you feel like a car getting an oil change or some shit. Next, out comes the giant Q-tip that looks more like a skewer with a tiny bit of cotton on the end. Your doc tells you, “We’re going to do the Pap smear now. You may feel a little discomfort.” What a giant crock of shit. You felt a little discomfort just walking in the door. Having a foot long wooden stick hollowing out your most delicate special place will cause you to go into a mental fetal position somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind, just so you don’t use your well pedicured foot to rearrange your doc’s face.
9. The Doc Gets Hands-y
Once the cooter plowing is complete and the silver carriage is removed from your princess labia, the doctor will turn you into a hand puppet. You will hear, “I’m going to insert my fingers and palpate your abdomen now.” After causing an open wound inside your tunnel of love, using fingers to rub and irritate said wound doesn’t seem medically sound. However, as you are still mentally far, far away from the exam room, you don’t think to question it. Your doctor proceeds to go elbow-deep inside your crotch while smashing your belly. You are then yanked back to reality by the invasion of your doc’s finger inside your ass. At least you hope it’s a finger, because he already has one hand shoved up your vagina and the other crushing your ovaries. You begin to protest at being turned into a human bowling ball when the doctor stands up, snaps off the rubber gloves, and announces that your lady flower has passed inspection. You fully expect to have an “inspected by” tag shoved up your cooch, or a rubber stamp to appear and the word “approved” or “passed” embossed onto your inner thigh.
10. The Awkward Exit
The worst is over, and you are more than ready to get dressed and run screaming from the building. You feel like you have a slip-and-slide between your legs and not in a good way. So you look around the exam room for something to wipe away the lube and shame. However, all you can find is a box of tissues. You contemplate using the oversized Kleenex you used to “cover” yourself, but the paper looks a bit too harsh for your violated Miss Snuffleupapuss. After cleaning yourself with the entire box of tissues, you save one to create a make-shift liner to protect your pretty panties, and hope it doesn’t slip and fall down your pants leg before you get home. You curse yourself for not bringing a bigger purse, because now you have to carry a paper lunch bag overflowing with free contraceptives samples. As you walk through the building and out to your car you pray you don’t run into your boyfriend’s mother, or someone equally embarrassing.
Finally, you make it back home and crawl into a hot bath. You know your vagina will not be monologuing anytime soon because she is currently not speaking to you. So, you call your girlfriends to commensurate over the miseries of womanhood. You take joy in the knowledge that you can relax for another year… until you must go back and do it all again.