At this time of year, I think a lot about boy parts and girl parts–which is not as much fun as it sounds. You see, it’s during the summer months when three major health-related events converge: my yearly physical, my pap test, and my mammogram. I call it The Perfect Storm.
I know that only the physical is an experience shared by both genders; the other two procedures are all about the girls. So why are boy parts on my mind? Well, spending my afternoons in a doctor’s waiting room allows me time to ponder this postulate:
Every part of a girl’s body has a job to do and requires a lifetime of upkeep and maintenance. Every part of a boy’s body is just one more thing for him to play with.
Having only first-hand experience at being a girl, I am limited to making observations. But it is my observation that from the time a boy learns how to pee standing up, his remaining years are one long quest to discover what else it can do. While the female body seems determined to develop suspicious lumps, secretions, and glitches, the male body romps through life carefree and giddy with its own impressive repertoire of party tricks.
Yes, guys, I know you have that whole prostate thing lurking in the shadows. But until you’ve experienced the sensation of cold speculum against warm flesh, unless you’ve feigned indifference while another human being palpates your cervix as though choosing a ripe avocado, I just don’t want to hear it.
In a few weeks I’ll report for my yearly mammogram, and I know exactly how it will be. The mammography room of our local hospital is designed to make a woman feel comfortable and comforted. The decor is muted tones, all peachy and rosy. A delicate floral border and attractive art prints serve to draw one’s attention away from the scary machine that dominates the room’s center. The attending technician will smile pleasantly and speak softly as she asks a series of personal quesions: Are you, or could you be, pregnant? Do you have breast implants? Have you been performing monthly self exams? She will calmly explain every single step of the procedure, apologize for the coldness of her hands as she arranges me in unnatural positions against hard glass plates. I will be reassured and complimented on the amount of discomfort I can stand–because as we both know, mammograms are a “no pain, no gain” kind of a deal. And thirty minutes later I’ll leave for home feeling as though I’m smuggling matzah in my brassiere, but satisfied that I’ve taken an important step in safeguarding my health.
In my mind’s eye I can see the male counterpart–let’s call it a testography. The testography lab is sparse and set up for both a quick entrance and a quick exit. No time for formalities or delicacies–after all, the testographer doesn’t want to be there any more than his patient does. Instead of artwork, there is a single sign on the wall announcing that happens in the testography lab stays in the testography lab. Eye contact is avoided, as is physical contact of any kind. No need to apologize for cold hands here–the patient will position his own misters between the plates of glass, thank you very much. And when the procedure ends, he can soothe himself in an anteroom where hot wings are served and gigantic tv monitors alternate Great Moments in Sports and classic Three Stooges reels.
Or perhaps the thought of spending my summer being poked, flattened, and scraped within an inch of my life has me just a bit touchy. Man might have been created in God’s own image, but at least Mother Nature was wise enough to tuck my girly parts safely inside my body. And that might be an even trade for not being able to do that cool standing up to pee thing.