I got my first mammogram today. As I walked down the radiology hallway to the machine room, wearing a table skirt around my shoulders, armpits damp from wet wipe I used to clean off all my deodorant (note to self: Always schedule mammograms AFTER errands/work/anything that requires good hygiene) I had time to reflect on what its really like to be a woman. All the little secrets that we live with and take for granted that men can’t even begin to fathom rolled through my mind as the tech just grabbed my boobs saying “I’m just gonna grab these and sort of show them who’s boss” and plopped one at a time down onto the base of the machine. It truly was not all that uncomfortable sensation-wise; it was just another one of those invasions of privacy women quickly learn is part of life.
Walking out of radiology, I began to imagine a man, standing where I was, wearing the table skirt around his waist, you know, to protect his dignity. The tech comes in and pulls the opening to the skirt aside, cups his testicles in her hand “I’m just gonna grab these and sort of show them who’s boss” (I’m sure at this point of my retelling there are men out there thinking, “yeah baby! You show ‘em who’s boss” but wait guys, there’s more!) Then she plops one of the testes onto the base and lets the other kind of hang off the side of the platform, brings down the top to hold it in place then cranks it down, nice and smooshed….and then the other one, then the machine turns ninety degrees and the testes get smooshed in the other direction. “Just relax” she’ll tell him, “don’t forget to breathe.” I smile at the idea.
Yeah, men have it pretty easy I’d say. They never had to do the anxiety walk where you literally feel your period flowing from your vagina while you are praying to God that your back side doesn’t look like a scene from Forensic Files. They don’t have to count the days off on the calendar wondering if their period is going to ruin their vacation, the swim party, their wedding night. And where would they keep their tampons? Can anyone even imagine a man dealing with a raging yeast infection? Please, it makes jock itch look like a mosquito bite! Or any pH imbalance, irritation, or vaginitis that leaves you feeling wet and squishy all day because if it’s not the infection itself, it’s the treatment cream. I’m not going to talk about the speculum and bimanual exams, there is no way I could even make a man begin to understand the scraping and prodding and smooth rubber gloved fingers pressing and poking at every centimeter of your inner sanctum. You laying there hoping he/she isn’t seeing anything weird or gross in there. Hoping you won’t turn in to some story told at the next gynecologist conference.
I can say that I doubt any man has ever worried himself through a blow job thinking “oh God, what if I smell funny, what if I taste funny? Am I taking too long?” Men know if they’re ready enough and it’s completely acceptable for them to “help themselves to get ready”. If it only took a few rubs to prep properly but no, we aren’t wired that way, are we girls? Our stupid make-up is not Wi-Fi; it’s a damn land line, dial up from the clit to the brain. “Do you want to mess around” he asks? And the dial up noises start and that weird fax machine noise screeches in the background as you frantically search your brain for a good fantasy that will work quick….and then what happens, ladies? The more frantic you search, the longer it takes, the longer it takes, the more frantic you get, the more frantic you get, the drier you get. The drier you get, the less able you are to think up a fantasy and on and on until you fake it because you are literally exhausted.
Well, I am now literally exhausted even thinking of all the inequalities of the care and keeping of our sexual organs. Guess I’ll go make some dinner, check on homework progress and pack lunches for tomorrow while my poor, hardworking husband naps. Thank God the inequalities end with the genitalia!