A BLOG IN WHICH I TALK FAR TOO MUCH ABOUT MY VAGINA AND WONKY CERVIX: AKA, AN ODE TO PAP SMEARS AND THE KICK ASS WOMEN WHO EXECUTE THEM

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Yesterday, I went to the doctor. I love my doctor. She is beautiful and brilliant and kind, and she remembers my entire life story even when she hasn’t seen me in a year. I also love her new assistant, or whatever you call the nurse who stands there smiling, wielding giant Q-tips in both fists, while the doctor digs around in your lady parts, searching for abnormalities and suspicious behavior.

How does your doctor know when your hoochie is behaving suspiciously? Does it get shifty eyes? Granted, my viewing angle isn’t ideal, but from what I’ve seen, that area is pretty much a train wreck 24/7. I know vaginas are supposed to be beautiful, and enlightened feminists like me are supposed to stare at their own genitalia lovingly in the mirror and be impressed because it can make babies, but I’ll tell you what, no matter how much I squint, it looks like a not-necessarily-benevolent creature from a particularly upsetting episode of Lost in Space. It could sprout a third set of labia, and I’d just think it was a premenstrual side effect. Hell, it could sprout a head, and I wouldn’t be 100% sure it was abnormal. This shit happens. The hoochie works in mysterious ways.

So anyway, I wasn’t really going to talk about my vagina very much in this blog. It was going to be a tasteful post that alluded to the fact that I’d had a pap smear, without necessarily going into graphic detail. At the outset, I envisioned a sort of educational PSA, so that men could get a feel for what a pap smear looks like, and young women just entering pap smear territory could understand that getting a piece of your goddamned cervix chopped off after a gloved woman pries you open with the jaws of life and inserts her entire arm into your hoo hoo isn’t nearly as bad as it looks on paper. It can be FUN, kids!! Trust me on this! (Apparently, I am as good at adhering to the “keep the blog tasteful” resolution as I am at following the “only one glass of wine at the party” rule.)

But the part about my pap smear being fun was true. Before I removed my clothes, the assistant told me how beautiful I was. She acted shocked when she saw my age on my chart, and when I mentioned I taught writing classes, she told me if I were her teacher, she’d hit on me. Whaaaaa????? I’m sure she says that to all the girls, but no matter. Compliment me, and I love you. So it became quickly official. I loved this woman. We then moved on to talking about working out and men (or lack thereof) and makeup. Suffice it to say, by the time I plopped my feet into the stirrups, we were sistas. (A sista is different than a sister. Sista has a cool edge to it. You’d help your sister pay her car payment, but you’d do shots of whiskey with your sista until you both blacked out.)

So then, my doctor came in, and while she lubed up and inserted the proverbial jaws of life, I told her about my recent trip to France. “Oh, my God. I’m jealous! Did you see the Eiffel Tower?” she asked, cranking the jaws open to their maximum capacity, which is roughly the width of a football stadium. I won’t say it didn’t hurt, but I was too hopped up on bonding endorphins to care. I was making friends! Me! The girl who has spent the past months sequestered on a deserted New Mexico mountain, lying on rocks and staring at stars, was making FRIENDS! (Human friends, not tree friends.)

As my doctor continued to wrestle with my apparently unwieldy genitalia (who knew?), the assistant commented on the beauty of my pedicure. (Not to brag, but the sparkly purple polish did look particularly fetching, contrasted with the light blue stirrups in the glaring fluorescent light.) We all went wild with excitement, discussing pedicure habits, toenail polish tips, particularly effective callus busting ointments. I barely noticed that I was being viciously violated by a plastic instrument (which is a kinder gentler version of the metal jaws that were common in my youth).

I learned so much as we three sistas bonded. One of the things I learned is that my cervix is abnormally tilted. What a fascinating tidbit! How did I make it through 40+ years of life without knowing this about myself? I filed it away for future reference, an interesting topic to bring up at my next cocktail party. (Something tells me all this alone time in the mountains is taking the sheen off my social finesse.)

The fact that my cervix is “wonky” (doctor’s word) makes it really difficult to find, which means the jaws of life had to dig around extra long, doing all sorts of contortions, to gain access to the coveted bit of cervical tissue. By the time we finally chopped off a piece of my cervix, we were ecstatic. We cheered like our team had just scored a touchdown. I kid you not, the assistant fist bumped me. I blushed and giggled, feeling like I’d accomplished something huge, won a contest or sold a book or made it through a party with only one glass of wine. I left the office with blood dripping from my battered cervix, wondering if my hoochie would ever be the same, but also elated. I had friends!

It was only in retrospect that it dawned on me–I mean really hit me–that the focal point of my latest feminine bonding session had not been glasses of wine or culinary delights or an Oscar nominated movie. No, it had been my hoo hoo. And maybe it hadn’t been as fun for the sistas who were staring up the business end of my hoochie as it was for me. Because come on, if the thing looks like an alien from the outside, WTF does it look like inside, being presided over, as it is, by a reticent, bleeding cervix?

Anyway, I was starting to deflate, thinking that maybe I need to get out more because when having a pap smear is the most fun you’ve had in months, you’re probably verging on pathetic. But then the phone rang, and it was my doctor (sista).

Kids, I’m scheduled for a mammogram in a few days. Can you imagine the fun I’ll have?  I’m thinking of wearing my sparkly pink bra. And maybe a little glitter in my cleavage, to provide a conversation piece/ really make it pop.

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To offset the impropriety of this post, I’m adding a picture of a lovely gate, which I passed while hiking through the countryside in the South of France. If you find a vagina metaphor here, that’s entirely on you. I take absolutely no responsibility for your dirty mind.

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