A few weeks ago, I headed to the gynecologist for my annual lady tune-up. As I waited nearly 40 minutes naked (and yes, slightly afraid) in the exam room, I had plenty of time to study anatomical posters of the female reproductive system and really think about what my vagina has done.
My vagina had been a good girl. She had made good choices. So why, then, was she so nervous?
Well, I thought about it. (Remember, 40 minutes.) And my neurotic nethers determined it was because they had very specific diva needs that quite simply, weren’t being met.
Lift the sheet and take a peek at what my privates want their gynecologist to know:
1. Deadbolt the door. Then use a chain lock.
Once I’ve slipped into stirrups, that quick double knock/door open by your nurse sends my glitter into fight or flight mode. Please, let’s chat for a few moments until your nurse arrives. Or hey, I don’t know, don’t allow visitors. If help is what you need, just ask! I’m happy to take notes on my back or toss you a tube of lube. It’s easy, peasy, and private, too!
2. Think I’m funny. Please.
Gyno, if I’m open for business and throwing out my best stuff, just muster a fake giggle to help me diffuse this bush bomb. If we can laugh about what’s really going on here, I’d feel a whole lot better. If we’ve learned anything from The Mindy Project, it’s that there’s a place for humor in women’s health.
3. Respect my advanced degree from the University of Google.
I know I didn’t go to a fully licensed medical school. I know I don’t look at reproductive organs all day, but I am a woman with a nervous vagina, who, thanks to Google, has seen some shit. Some scary shit. Some scary shit I’m pretty sure I have, have had, or will one day have. So please, don’t be insulted by my “I read something on the Internet that said … ” questions and concerns.
4. Talk about menopause in theory.
I know I’m rounding 40. I know I just read that informative “Menopause and Me” pamphlet in the exam room. I also know pretending Baby Boomers have a monopoly on menopause is super comforting. So let’s talk menopause and perimenopause, but in an obscure, someday kind of way, much like we’d discuss retirement plans or senior living facilities.
5. Mood lighting.
My girl parts aren’t party girl parts. They’re timid and socially awkward. And nervous nethers like mine respond well to calm, dim lighting. But I’m sensitive to your needs, dear doctor. I know you need light to do your job. So no worries, I got you. You can totally borrow the flashlight on my phone. You’re so welcome.
6. Pamphlets I can really use:
A full bush is a happy bush: A case for leaving pubic hair alone
Middle age: It gets better
Facial hair: A beginner’s guide
Sex, shmex: Binge-watching is the new intimacy
7. To hear the phrases:
“Let me see what I can do about the temperature in here.”
“That’s the smartest question I’ve ever heard!”
“Your labia is Grade-A, 100% average; textbook even.”
“Your breasts are holding up quite nicely. Well done, you.”
“Cute toenail polish.”
“You’re the best patient I’ve ever had!”
8. An interesting ceiling.
I don’t need the Sistine Chapel or anything, just a few images on heavy cardstock tacked to the ceiling. I’m thinking pictures of flowering blossoms, for obvious reasons. Heck, even those teamwork motivational posters would do because you and me, we do make a team (Gooooooo Team Lady Garden!). I guess what I’m saying is that for those few uncomfortable minutes, I’d rather look at anything besides that questionable brown stain on your ceiling.
9. Fresh out-of-the-dryer socks.
For the last 22 years, I’ve told myself to bring wooly socks to the gynecologist. And for the last 20 years, I’ve forgotten. It would be nice — swell, even — if you could provide toasty socks for frigid tootsies, because it’s clinical cold in here and we want our mommies.
10. Chocolate on the exam table.
Just a little gourmet square for my troubles, you know? Like a hospitality thing. Whether or not you choose to include a little note that says, “How ‘sweet’ it is for you to trust us with your women’s healthcare needs,” is entirely up to you.
11. Your cell phone number.
I’m not kidding. Just knowing I have access to your wealth of female health knowledge would do my lady bits so much good. I might even stop Googling. MIGHT.
12. A sticker when I leave.
Hey, that “I voted!” sticker is one of the biggest reasons people vote. Doubt me? Take a poll. So sticker me good! Gimme a badge I can proudly display on Instagram. A few ideas: “I papped!” “My glitter is gold!” “Women’s health warrior!” (We can work on it.)More On