A Good Sport
Every year around this time, I scheme some way to freak out my gynecologist at my annual pelvic exam. This has been my strategy for not hating Pap smears. (Another nifty strategy has been to call them “pelvic exams“ instead of “Pap smears.” I don't want to smear any Pap, thanks!)
This year, I decided to try a less frivolous way to get pumped for the pelvic exam, mainly because I didn't have the energy to shave myself bare and apply removable skull-and-snake tattoos to my pubic mound, or create any other pubic art. Instead, I decided to bring my own flannel sheet and see if it made me feel better than wearing paper.
I definitely recommend bringing your own blanket to gynecological exams if your clinic doesn't supply nice ones! I found it made me feel cozy and in-charge, and gave the doctor something to talk to me about so that we could have a friendlier interaction. A bedsheet was overkill though; something like a sarong would be ideal. You might also try the knitted cozies for exam stirrups from the Arts & Crafts issue.
It turned out that a friend of mine was doing her volunteer orientation at the clinic today, and ended up looking at my cervix to see what cervixes are like. I also had a gander, by way of a mirror that the staff hunted up for me. The volunteer that my friend was working with also had a peek, and of course the doctor. It was a real cervix party. The doctor thanked me for being “a good sport!”
This whole encounter would have been rather surreal if I had gone for the snake tattoos. I was briefly worried that it might be weird even with my muff intact, and I could have opted out, but I decided to be brave to see if it was fun to treat cervical exposure as completely normal in social situations. Verdict: fun. That was possibly the most normal I've ever felt during a pelvic exam. I suspect that bringing any buddy into the room with me would be normalizing, even if they didn't look at my inner workings.
This is the second time lately that potentially strange vaginal situations have turned out fine (see also wine buffs sampling vaginal odors donated by my friends in the Food & Cuisine issue). This kind of thing would convince me that most people have got their positive attitudes on straight, if I wasn't dealing with total crap from the government in my efforts to bring you fine All About My Vagina merchandise. The merchandise will prevail eventually. Never fear.
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