Gynecological exams teach one interesting things about one’s reactions to pain. Apparently, my default curse word is “shit;” once I get started, I do not feel the urge break up my rhythm with other, less-privileged terms; and when the source of pain disappears, I start giggling.
Nurse M clearly finds my low threshold of pain worrying. Doctor C is merely very deadpan. She holds the implements where I can’t see them and asks when my sisters are going to be coming in for their HPV vaccinations.
The past year or so, I have acquired a slight facial hair problem. To be extremely precise, I have acquired a goatee. It is a pretty respectable little goatee if I don’t shave it – all I need is a flannel shirt and a disgusted expression and I can major in cinema. My goatee was the main reason I went to the gynecologist. My testosterone levels have always been off a little, and this seemed like it might be turning into more than a little.
Doctor C didn’t think it was significant; she talked about someone who’d come in the other day with “worse hair than you,” and gave me a prescription for some cream. This is fascinating. Are there lots of female goatees out there? Should I leave it in place for some kind of empowerment purposes? Well, no, because I don’t like it and I’m breaking out underneath. But it’s useful information. I bet I can use it to make people I dislike uncomfortable.
I went online to research the cream when I got home – it’s called Vaniqa, though Doctor C’s handwriting is so bad I had to type a couple variations into Google to get what I wanted. Apparently the drug’s manufacturer at one point ceased production because its main use is in curing sleeping sickness, which mostly affects people without any money. People in Africa, specifically. But then, a miracle occurred, and it was discovered that it could be used in topical form to retard hair growth! And thus they restarted manufacturing. Us rich white women have saved Africa again.
I’m feeling kind of ambivalent about this.