I’m going for a Mammogram next week. I thought I’d treat myself.
It’s just another one of those truly fun activities we women are subjected to in middle-age. Mammograms sit slightly above the pap test and just below the menopausal flush on the scale of public female humiliations.
I’ve never been particularly comfortable about flopping out my boobs to any Tom, Dick or Harry. When I was younger I worried that they were too inadequate to display publicly; now I am older, they are just too embarrassingly low-slung.
It defies belief now, but in my younger days I actually went through a phase of blatantly unleashing my (then) buoyant breasts on the beaches in France. They have since become awkwardly shy of publicity – age and responsibility have weighed them down.
These days I just want to hide and protect them from the world, rather like aged parents, lest they are looked on in pity.
Even though the feminist in me says that I should be proud of this part of my body that has nourished my children (no matter how they look aesthetically), the narcissist in me still envies pert breasts and would like to buy shares in Wonderbra.
It takes getting used to, this whole aging thing. There are constant reminders when you become ‘a certain age’, no matter how many products and fancy clothes you buy to disguise the ageing process.
That’s not to disparage these tests, of course – Mammograms and pap smears are vitally important in terms of early detection of women’s cancers – but it might actually be possible that mammograms are even more awkward than pap smears.
Why do we women have to endure these mortifyingly invasive procedures at a time when we no longer want to open our legs or get our tits out?
Couldn’t there be a simple blood or urine test, say?
Frankly, I would prefer to stick needles in my eyes than have to lift one lifeless breast after the other onto that cold plate and watch it get ironed to the density of a pancake.
But then again, what’s the choice?
Pap smears are just as bad now that my lady bits are no longer the shape God originally gave me – the results of being resculpted by childbirth.
The mere mention of the word ‘speculum’ brings me out in a rash. And it’s never warm, no matter what they promise.
But at least I have a meditative formula for coping with pap smears now – I lie back, think of England and simply pretend it’s not happening. Actually, after twenty years of marriage that formula could come in quite handy at other times too now….
One gyny threw me off guard once though, by making me face the wall while he took me from behind….which was awkward, to say the least.
How could you ever become blasé about a complete stranger, (albeit professional), saying to you, ‘now part your legs, please’, when you’re not aroused?
And you have to trim the garden in preparation.
I once went to a gynaecologist who had pretty pictures on the wall to take his patients minds off having a large cold metal instrument thrust up their vajayjays without any foreplay.
I reckon Theon had it easy in Game of Thrones in terms of medieval torture.
But retribution could be at hand, due to the increasing prevalence of testicular cancer. Maybe us women could help our fellow man out and design some form of early detection apparatus for them too – for purely medical reasons obviously – so we can catch the disease earlier and save more lives.
I’m thinking something along the lines of a nut cracker style device……