Saturday, 31 March 2012

Wizard's Sleeve.

“You are so lucky”, I said to Hubby after I’d returned from the nurse’s couch.
“Of that I don’t doubt”, he replied, emptying the Morrison’s carrier bags that I’d left strewn on the kitchen floor, “Buying the absolute essentials again I see?” he added, holding aloft a tub of Crème Egg ice-cream.
“It was on special offer”, I responded quickly, attempting to brush him off before he found other ‘bargains’ in the bags, “Well, aren’t you in the slightest bit intrigued as to why I think you are so lucky?”
“You’ll probably tell me it’s because I’m married to you”.
“Well obviously, that goes without saying…”
“And that I have my health and my gorgeous children etc, etc,?”
“And don’t you forget it. No, whilst all of the above do most certainly provide you with an unfair share of life’s advantages, the fact that you do not have a cervix, is my particular grievance this afternoon.”
“Alice for God’s sake!”, he expostulated as though I’d just articulated the filthiest word in the English language”.
“Oh don’t be so squeamish. What on earth do you want me to call it then?”
“I don’t see that you need to call it anything. Do I need to hear it referred to at all?”
“Yes, given that I go and check it out to ensure its health and wellbeing and thus go on providing you with a beloved wife and cherished mother to your myriad children”.
“You’re not the only one. I have check-ups too” replied Hubby a little petulantly.
“Really? The occasional cough whilst the doctor cups your family jewels cannot, on any level, be compared with surgical instruments invading your ‘lady garden’as you find the word cervix so abhorrent.” Hubby blanched.
“Oh God, I can tell that whatever it is you are going to enlighten me with is going to be excruciatingly candid” said Hubby, surrendering to a nearby kitchen stool.
“Excruciatingly candid? My experience was definitely excruciating, but not for its candidness I can assure you”.
Our son walked into the kitchen.
“Bloody hell dad? Are you ok? You look like sh…”
“Shouldn’t you knock?” I asked him. Our son looked around him quizzically.
“Er, since when have we had a door to the kitchen?”
“I was speaking metaphorically”.
“Oh right”, he answered, shrugging his shoulders in a ‘whatever’ kind of way as though he’d never had a seven year grammar school education and access to the term , metaphor, “What’s wrong with dad?”, he continued, peering into the bread bin.
“I was trying to tell him about my cervical smear”. My son winced.
“Do you have to use the word ‘smear’ mum? It sounds so, well, unsanitary”.
“I very much doubt the term was coined by a woman. In fact you’ve brought up a good point, why are female medical procedures which involve their reproductive bits and pieces, referred to in such a manner that one would expect the doctor involved to have a Dettol spray gun handy? You’re right; the word smear evokes images of something nasty, greasy and dirty. It most certainly isn’t a positive image.”
“England are playing tonight Dad”.
“Yes, son. Shall we watch it at home or go down the pub?” replied his father. I ignored them,
“I’ve started so I’ll finish”, I said.
“Bwm, ba-pa, bwm, berapa…”, my son hummed the Mastermind theme tune under his breath. I clipped his ear.
“Don’t be flippant”, I chastised, “So, as I was saying, the conceit of dirty and clean regarding women has been used throughout history, every since Eve the dirty girl, was the original seductress.”
My husband and son looked back at me with gormless expressions. I tried to make my point clearer.
“Look, men have blokey, medical sounding vasectomies right? A similar procedure for women conversely, the original sinners and cause of the Fall of Man, is known as, a sterilisation. Get my point?” They nodded and my son shuddered.
“Anyway Dad, I’ll see you later ok?” and he tore off the end of a fresh tiger bread crust and ski-daddled out of the kitchen.
“Shall I assume, given your feminist rant, that all didn’t go well on the couch then?” asked Hubby.
“Not exactly, no”. I could see Hubby gird his loins.
“Dare I ask why?”
“It was the most humiliating moment of my life”.
“But darling, you’ve had four children and countless procedures ‘down there’”. It was evident that he was still finding it hard to come to terms with articulating the word cervix.
“I have received dozens of insults in my life, but this one took the biscuit”. Hubby scratched his head; I could see that he was desperately trying to work out why this ‘smear’ had been so much worse than any previous one.
I buried my head in his shoulder, “It didn’t fit”, I said quietly.
“Come again?”
“There I was, lying in one of the most vulnerable and mortifying and intimate positions a woman could be in, legs akimbo and being brave and awaiting the cold speculum. Anyway, in it went and the nurse fumbled around…” I took a deep breath. Hubby hugged me tighter; he had no idea where this story was going.
“Well, she suddenly stopped and was most apologetic”.
“What on earth happened Alice?” Hubby asked, trying to peel me away but I stayed buried in his shoulder, I couldn’t look him in the eye.
“She said, “I’m sorry Mrs Band, this speculum is too small, I’m going to have to get the extra large one”. Hubby tried to muffle a snigger.
“I mean, I’m used to extra large knickers and tights and size 16 skirts and commodious tops but I honestly thought that one’s vagina was much like a poncho. One size fits all”.
I’ve just about accepted that having four kids has ruined my figure, I just hadn’t quite realised the extent of the ruination.

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