Well, there goes my male readership.
I got a letter this morning informing me that I am the lucky recipient of a smear test appointment! HURRAH!
One thing is guaranteed during a smear test appointment: someone is going to insert something somewhere, and not in a nice way – but I’m sure every woman has a different experience. Some may be calm and collected, swanning in and out as though it’s a mere inconvenience; some may be jittery and frightened, and some may block out the whole terrible experience by thinking very hard about daffodils, or chocolate, or David Hasselhoff.
I make a tit of myself.
I was 19 when I first had one. I was a monstrous hypochondriac at this time, and was phoning my university GP surgery so often that it got to this stage:
Receptionist: Hello, GP surgery.
Me: Hi, I’d like to make an appointment with a doctor for as soon as possible please.
Receptionist: Okay. Is that Rebecca?
So, unsurprisingly, I became quite friendly with the doctor I saw most often, a matronly, buxom, fluffy aunt-type, the sort who’d give you huge booby hugs and feed you lemon slices and take you to National Trust gardens if she really was your aunt.
So when I had to have a smear test with her, it was all rather awkward.
I was nervous. Very, very nervous. Mainly because I’d heard it was the
WORST EXPERIENCE YOU WILL EVER HAVE IN YOUR WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE EVER.
It didn’t help AT ALL that when I got there Auntie Doctor said ‘We’ve got a student nurse here with us today, do you mind if she sits in on the examination?’
Of course I mind. I can literally not think of anything I would mind more than having a 20 year-old student peer into my vagina and make notes on her clipboard.
‘No, that’s absolutely fine.’ WEAK.
So I ‘popped’ up on the bed, did as I was told, got into the necessary HIDEOUS position* (more about this below), Auntie Doctor put a shining metal instrument into a bowl of warm water ‘So it’s not quite so much of a shock’; Student Doctor lurked by my feet and peered intently at the wall, and then, as quietness descended and the only sound that remained was the squeak squeak of the metal instrument being slowly opened up inside me, I couldn’t take it anymore, I couldn’t handle the supreme awkwardness of the situation, a voice yelled in my head
SAY SOMETHING TO FILL THE SILENCE JUST SAY ANYTHING BECK, ANYTHING AT ALL….
So I said
“Well this is quite weird and awkward because it’s like you’re my aunt hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.”
Auntie Doctor just peered at me curiously from between my legs, nodded slightly, and went back to her work, while I turned my head to the wall and died a million horrendous deaths.
The second time I had a smear test I was less nervous. I was a pro now – I knew I wouldn’t say anything stupid. The nurse tried to make the whole experience more jolly by telling me to ‘pop’ up on the bed and to ‘pop’ my legs open (which incidentally makes no sense), and I was doing fine until that squeak squeak noise started again and it was all too much and I just had to say something to lighten the situation, to show her that I was absolutely fine with her poking around down there, so I said ‘You should put a TV on the ceiling so we can watch it while we lie here hahahahahahaha.’
And her response to my fair, innocuous comment, was to look up at me from between my legs like I was a piece of shit on her shoe, and say, in the most annoyed tone EVER, ‘You have no idea how many people say that’.
Once again, I was left to turn my face to the wall, bite my lip, and mentally strangle this woman to death for not being able to scrape together the shreds of a sense of humour in order to alleviate the pain of an awkward 22 year-old with a metal clamp in her lady parts.
So this time, I vow to not make one ounce of small talk. Just pop in, pop up, pop open, and pop out again.
* The most hideous position ever. If there are any men left reading this, I’d like you to do this for me: lie on your back with your legs propped up and your feet and knees together. Now open your knees but keep your feet together. If that is not the most hideous, awful position anyone can ever be asked to assume, then I just don’t know what is.