“How’s that baby?” he asked.
Oh, right! The baby.
Those visits with Dr. P became the highlight of my social calendar. The morning of our appointments, I’d bust out my flat-iron. When I knew he had to do a pelvic exam, I’d have a Brazilian bikini wax, even when I was at the end of my pregnancy and could hardly get up on the table.
In years past, I’d be nervous that I’d appear “too eager” for an internal, but at my thirty-week visit, I was more worried about Dr. P not thinking I was cute.
“I think I might have elephantitis of the vagina,” I said, trying to sound carefree about what I’m sure was the worst case of pregnancy-induced varicose veins he’d ever seen. “Waxing is definitely a killer now.”
Shaking his head, he gently scolded me: “You know you shouldn’t be doing that anymore.” I pretended to be ashamed and hoped he would rap my knuckles.
But it wasn’t only Dr. P.’s bedside manner that had me smitten. It was his gentleness, his ability to spout off statistics when I asked him about worst-case scenarios (occasionally in his office, I did worry about the baby rather than my hair frizzing), and the way he smelled. Later in the day, I smiled when I noticed how his cologne lingered in my hair. What a wonderful thing we had together. At least once a month, I got intimate physical contact and an emotional connection with a handsome man – and it was all the medical establishment’s idea! My husband even approved!
“If you ever feel that something is wrong, call me. I don’t want you suffering with any unnecessary stress,” Dr. P told me. “Even if you don’t have an appointment, just come in. I’ll always sneak you in,” he promised. No one, not even my husband, was as accessible to me as he was. It wasn’t only Dr. P’s bedside manner that had me smitten.
I couldn’t get Dr. P out of my head. In every situation, I wondered, What Dr. P Would Do? One day, I confessed my crush to a friend. She surprised me by saying that she, too, had a crush on her OB/GYN. She’d had a scary experience with pre-term labor. After hours of being hooked up to a drip of Magnesium Sulfate, her doctor woke her up to get her vitals. She was completely flustered because she had morning breath. “Of all the things to be concerned about,” she shamefully admitted.
And when I started talking about it, I found out we were far from alone. Another woman I know confessed to a crush on her OB, who also happens to be a Mohel, the same one who circumcised her sons. “Everyone wanted an invite to the bris to see the holy hottie,” she joked.
But neither Dr. P. nor my friend’s doctors were drop-dead gorgeous. None would make the cast of Grey’s Anatomy. They were attractive to us because they were tender and competent when trusted with our most intimate body parts and our very children.
Pediatricians, too, are prime for this kind of projection. My best friend lusts after her children’s physician, who she swears looks like Anderson Cooper. She has him dubbed Dr. Sax-y and says she longs to run her hands through his silvery hair.
My own mother confessed to a crush on my childhood doctor: “When you’d come down with the flu, I’d put on a full face of makeup and travel forty minutes to see Dr. M,” she gushed, as if it was yesterday and not thirty years ago. Why? Because he made her feel special, which wasn’t difficult, considering my father was more concerned with expanding his business than he was with the various maladies of his five children.