Discussion Topic

Gynecologists say the darndest things

Posted on 05/03/08, 09:30 am
Gynecologists say the darndest things
By Doree Shafrir

By now, everyone's heard the urban legend about the woman who tried to "freshen up" before going to the gynecologist by spritzing herself with what she thought was perfume (apparently a shower hadn't occurred to her) but turned out to be ... glitter body spray! And so when the gyno peered beneath the hood, he uttered a reverent cry of "Fancy!" (Cosmopolitan attempted to spin this well-worn tale as true as recently as a year ago.) Har, har. But ... so unprofessional! Gynecologists would never say such things!

Or maybe it's that no woman would actually be stupid enough to put glitter body spray in her nether regions. Because if she had, it's not unlikely that a gynecologist would say something in response! Something wacky! Gynecologists have been known to say some rather inappropriate things while their subjects are splayed out on the examination table, feet in stirrups, grimacing as the doctor inserts pointy metal objects into their vaginas. It's not exactly a time when women feel like carrying on a conversation ... much less hearing about, say, some positions they may find pleasurable during sex. Not okay.

We asked women around the country to share their tales of being the ultimate captive audience for aspiring comedians or just otherwise awkward practitioners of the vaginal arts. These are their stories.

"I once had a (female) doctor tell me my cervix was cute. Not sure what that means, but I took it as a compliment."
Kate, 28, Seattle

"My gynecologist recently told me I have an adorable uterus."
Sarah, 32, Brooklyn

"My gyno took a look and said, 'You know what? I'm going to use the baby speculum.' For a long time I thought it meant that I was special, but a few weeks ago a friend was telling me a story where her gyno said the same thing to her. I think it's just a gyno line. I'm not even sure that there are baby speculums, now that I think about it."
Ruth, 31, New York

"Looking at a vagina while you're getting an exam is like having a baby cow on display outside McDonald's right before you get your burger. No one needs to see a bunch of vaginas while the instruments are up there""At the gyno I go to, you are lying there and you look up and there is art overhead, like right where you stare up at the ceiling while cringing. It's African folk art of women spreading their legs with direct shots of the vaginas. Looking at a vagina while you're getting an exam is like having a baby cow on display outside McDonald's right before you get your burger. No one needs to see a bunch of vaginas while the instruments are up there."
Karen, 24, Miami

"I was in the stirrups and I had a big long scratch on my thigh from my cat. My gyno said, 'What happened here?' I said, 'My cat scratched me.' And he said, 'Riiiiiight.'"
Zoe, 25, Chicago

"He was 'down there' and casually started telling me how, in his job, you get used to all sorts of stuff squirting on you (poo/pee/fluids)."
Kristin, 29, Brooklyn

"It was maybe my second visit to the gyno. I didn't know how to communicate to the woman that I was still really uncomfortable with the whole process, so when she tried to insert the speculum I was having trouble keeping my legs open and I was really tense. She got frustrated and then told me that my muscles were unusually tight. In fact, she said she had never seen such strong muscles, and she felt that they needed to be loosened or I would feel pain during sex. So she told me that she was going to prescribe a 'dilator,' which I would use to help relieve the problem. She made a follow-up appointment with me for the next week so she could give me more details. However, I decided not to pursue this course of action because I just couldn't imagine using some weird medical device to stretch out my vagina.

"I told the next doctor that I went to what she had said, and my new doctor seemed baffled and told me that I seemed normal to her and I must have just been really nervous."
Alissa, 29, Brooklyn

"In college, I went to the gyno and told her it hurt sometimes when I had sex. My gyno (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Felicity Huffman) told me I was experiencing discomfort because of my tilted uterus and added, 'You might want to try doing it doggy style. I think you might find that ... pleasurable.' And then I nodded uncomfortably and let her change the subject."
Jessica, 26, Brooklyn

"My former gyno in California didn't say anything specific, but she did stick her finger in my ass without telling me she was going to beforehand. I usually prefer being asked politely before any sort of anal play, so I promptly switched gynos and laid down some very specific ground rules before depantsing myself again."
Heather, 24, New York

"I went to a gyno in L.A. who was Persian (there are lots of Persian Jews in Beverly Hills). He told me I had more of Persian vagina/hair layout than Ashkenaziâ??I guess because I hadn't waxed?"
Caroline, 30, New York

"The doctor was an old Iranian manâ??I picked the name out of my insurance provider's list, not having any idea about the gender. I just wanted an appointment on the quick. He told me I had a 'nice, long cervix.' I never went back."
Julie, 29, New York

"I got a 'That's weird' once from a guy gyno. It was regarding an irregular period. It probably doesn't need to be said that I would have preferred a more clinical opinion than that."
Claire, 29, Chicago

"I got 'fitted' for a diaphragm once and it was pretty weird. The assistant had me practice putting it in and taking it out ... in front of her. She told me to fold it like a dumpling (which it did look like). It was ridiculously embarrassing."
Lisa, 31, New York

"I went to this Chinese lady in Tribeca. She told me I was heavy and that I needed to walk more."
Harriet, 30, New York

"I think that the standard questions they ask you are embarrassing enough. Are you still with your same partner since your last visit? No? Are you with someone now? Oh? How many? So, how many partners have there been since I last saw you? And have you used protection?"
Lisa, 24, Jersey City

"I had an appointment recently and agreed to let a nursing student who was shadowing the nurse practitioner who sees me sit in on the exam. The NP was going through my sexual history and asked how many partners I'd had in the past six months.

Me: 'Four.'
NP: 'And how many have you had in the past two years?'
Me: 'Four.'
Nursing student: [Blinking furiously.] 'Wait. How does that happen?'"
Julie, 31, Boston

"My gynecologist is a very nice man with a ponytail. One time I was there seeing him for nothing seriousâ??I told him I had some discomfort and he gave me some medication. He said to take it for a week, and then told me that I should be able to have sexual activity again by next weekend. I said, 'I don't think I'll be having sexual activity again next weekend.' He said, 'I dunno, you might get lucky.'"
Jessica, 28, New York

"My friend recommended her gynecologist, but when I called they said she had an insanely long waiting list. But they said they could fit me right in with her partner, who I found out later had a reputation of being a mean, gruff guy. So I'm literally in the stirrups when his cell phone rings. It's his wife and he gets in a fight with her. It was clearly a fight that they have all the time. The nurses there were like, whatever. It was clear that they talked about him and they hated him. Also, it was the most painful examination I've ever had."
Courtney, 31, New York

"My gyno: 'Have you ever looked at your cervix? You never have? Come on, it's really neat! Hold this. [She hands me a mirror.] See? Isn't that interesting?'"
Jessica, 28, Brooklyn

"Mine once said, 'Here's a mirrorâ??wanna have a look?'"
Rachel, 35, New York

"A friend of mine went to our college's health center to get a Pap smear. Her first Pap smear, as I recall. When she came back from her appointment, a few of us were milling about the dorm and, being obnoxious, asked her, 'How'd it go?'

"She said, 'Oh, it was fine. But the anal pap smear* part was a little weird.'

"At this point all of us just stared at her in disbelief because a) we'd never heard of an 'anal pap smear,' and b) the nonchalant way she brought it up indicated it was presented to her as 'just another part' of the lady visit.

"She said after the traditional exam was done, the (male) doc just asked her to flip over so he could proceed with the 'anal pap.' Needless to say, we found this all hilarious. She found it vaguely disturbing. The word 'violated' may have been thrown around. She did not go back to that doctor and, to this day (to my knowledge), she has not received another 'anal pap smear.' But really, how is that even a worthwhile prank for someone?"
Pauline, 26, New York

*They actually do exist.


Showing 7 Replies
  • Reply #1 05/03/08  10:34am
    anal papsmear?! oh my.
  • Reply #2 05/03/08  1:10pm
    I've never been comfortable with a male Gyno. I purposely search for female Drs, but just because they're women doesn't necessarily mean they're any more gentle. Many years ago,I went to an Iranian Gyno once who was a woman. I thought I'd be fine, but she turned out to be rather brusque about the whole exam. She barked at me to "relax!" when she was about to insert the speculum, then ended up jamming that puppy home with what *I* considered too much force. I yelped and she said, "I *told* you to relax!"

    I tried talking to someone at the office, but they said that it's basically "luck of the draw" as to which Dr you see when you make an appointment (this was Kaiser Permanente). I told the lady to make a note on my file, in BIG red letters, that I was NOT to see said "doctor" again. Afterwards, I complained to my insurance co., the state medical board and told the ladies at work to avoid this Dr like the plague!

    People need to know that doctors are NOT gods!
  • Reply #3 05/03/08  4:32pm
    I've only gone to women gynos---just a thing I have. One of my newest docs is hularious!!!!! She tells me jokes, and complains about her husband, and it makes me at ease during the visit. Plus, I can ask her anything, which is nice...

    If I were the last girl---I'd give that doctor an anal-pap of my own! With my foot!!!
  • Reply #4 05/03/08  9:28pm
    I have had both male and female docs and came to the conclusion that there are bad eggs on both sides, and good ones on both sides. When I had my son I was 16 so I went to the only female doc in the area. When she wanted to check my cervix in labor she would slap the inside of my thigh, hard enough to leave a welt. She was always rude. When the nurse was teaching me to breastfeed the doc says " I dont know why you are bothering with that, shes 16. CPS will have that baby in a week"

    My next doc was male, and he was just my family practice guy. I loved him. He was very respectful, and always respected my opinion. When I had my daughter he pissed off the nurses by not letting them give an IV that I didnt want. He was wonderful. I cried when he moved away.
  • Reply #5 05/03/08  9:56pm
    I am sorry that she did that to you during labor Corbin. It is such a special moment in life and to have a memory like that is terrible.
  • Reply #6 05/03/08  10:02pm
    Corbin---doctors feel degrees make them intelligent---but sometimes they are just assholes. One of my students is 17, and pregnant, and she has been treated the same way. But, b/c she has no insurance, and is on public aid, she takes the doc. that they give to her....

    It's sad. I thought about going to an appointment with her once---just to tell the doc. what I think of him.
  • Reply #7 05/03/08  11:12pm
    Believe me when I tell you I had the best money could buy in the way of medical care when the home birth went wrong.. I had been treated by this Dr before just in case.. My Mother insisted on it.. He was working out of stanford.. He was a complete idiot and I believe drunk when he delivered my first son crude and unbalanced.. I think he was angry that my first pref was home birth.. I will never forget his bright blue eyes under the mask during the c section. Drunk.. I know he was..It frightens me to this day to think about it.. And BtW the incision was awful.. After the birth of my second (with a diffrent DR. ) I had it fixed..Thank god my child was perfect...


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