Shhh! We aren't supposed to discuss this subject, at least that's how it used to be, back in the old days, when the specula's looked like serrated Medieval torture devices. Frozen serrated Medieval torture devices. I remember the very first gynecologist I visited, he drove the thirteenth buggy from the front, traveling with our wagon train as we made our way into the wilderness that was Illinois. This was in the mid 1800's. Or, maybe not.
Anyway, his name was O'Brien or O'Connor or something like that. I was just eighteen or so and untouched before this. I tell you it was different world. Women wore BATHING CAPS at the beach and GARTER BELTS were a necessity, not a sexy turn on. Or, maybe they were. Who knew, certainly not me.
I was mortified when he screamed out to his nurse that he needed the baby specula and if they didn't have any small enough did they have any old Popsicle sticks laying around. I never went back.
My next gynecologist was Dr. Loeff in Chicago. He seemed very nice. A little guy (why are most male gynecologists short, I wonder? Could be they've been to base of the mountain top, looked up and saw there was no need to go any further. Everything worth seeing was right there in front of them.) But I digress...
Anyway, Dr. Loeff would check my breasts as if he was popping those bubble wrap sheets. He'd go on and on, his head bent in deep concentration, his jaw set firmly, his eyes closed. It was rather disconcerting, all that intense physical attention with no speaking, murmuring. Just silence.
Finally, I remember saying, "You sure take a long time. You're starting to scare me." He didn't even raise his head in acknowledgement. "You want me to do a thorough job don't you?" he grumbled. Later we would lean back, share a cigarette and a glass of wine. Just kidding.
One day he was in his magic fingers position, head bent, eyes closed, jaw locked, when the door swung wide open (I kid you not) and his nurse, Eva Braun, stood on the threshold, eyes popped open. "Oh!" she shrieked. "You are giving ze examination?!?"
I could feel his hands shake on my breasts - that was the first sign; then I heard this odd grumble, rumble sound, suddenly his head rested on the exam table and he started to wail with laughter. Remember, I was laying there, exposed to the world, my doctor's tiny hands truly the only thing between me and a career in porno. He laughed so hard I thought he was going to faint. "I better be," he finally screamed in laughter. No. I didn't think it was that funny either. I never went back.
I was through with men, at least in the professional gynecological area, and I set out to find me a good female gynecologist. I hit the jackpot right off. Dr. Cislak, located in Evanston, Illinois; and, what a difference a female doctor makes, a completely different dynamic. Of course I was older now (although still pathetically naive), less humiliated, a 'career' woman (if you count being a secretary a career). For the first time a doctor was my age, female and adored all the same singers and actors I adored. Actually, she looked a lot younger than her years, kind of like that little kid in Fatal Attraction whose bunny ended up in the pot. Punky Brewster was my OB/gyne.
She was my doctor for years, my confidante, and the person to whom I could ask questions. I heard about all her kids, she heard about all my crushes. It was very nice, but then I got engaged and thought I was big stuff, thought perhaps I should have a fancy Gyne located in the loop somewhere (that's Downtown Chicago to you Lithuanians) I found a woman with an office in the most expensive, most exclusive, most pretentious medical building downtown. It was beautiful, brass and glass, girlie colors, soft, very rich looking. I figured I deserved it. I was going to be a WIFE. As we settled into the usual positions she asked me which physician I had been seeing before. I told her, "Dr. Cislak in Evanston." She looked at me, up there between my knees, her big blue eyes peeking just over the drop cloth, in that adorable way gyne's have. She was enraptured, she looked worshipful, like I was something holy. I must look pretty damn good, I thought.
"Dr. Cislak!?" she repeated. I nodded. She became teary eyed. "She's my ideal, the reason I went into Gynecology! I love her! She is the most amazing doctor in the world."
Well, that was really interesting. Why the hell am I seeing you then? I thought. I didn't say it, but I sure as hell thought it. I never went back.
Now I see Dr. Cislak less frequently. We live in Florida and I've found a great doctor here. Dr. Liebert. She's one of the very kindest, nicest people I've ever met and she truly loves medicine. Recently she had to do a BIOPSY on something she noticed in a nonmentionable area. To me the word BIOPSY is latin for Order the Hearse, so I freaked. But it turned out to be nothing. She asked me if I wanted to see what she cut off. I declined politely. She said "Now when you look down here..." I said I wouldn't be looking there in the foreseeable future, thank you very much. She said, "But if you do, position a mirror here..." That's all I need, the touring company of the Vagina Monologues. In Florida, God's Waiting Room, it is not an appealing idea. I could tell she still didn't understand my disinterest in that particular part of my anatomy. "See," she said, "I just lopped this bit of flesh off. It's really small." She showed me the vial with the little snippet in it anyway. "Isn't that interesting?" she asked me just moments before I passed out. And she was serious.
Gynecologists - you can't kill them and you can't live without them.