“Maybe he’ll do a good job,” she says.
“Ow,” I say. “Ow, ow, ow, ow…”
“You’re tensing,” she says.
The woman with the speculum is dangerously close to defending Donald Trump. No one has ever said anything so right wing directly into my vagina.
On a purely personal level, it’s about as darkly surreal as the Trump presidency itself. In this new world of alternative facts and orange bearers of the nuclear apocalypse, Donald J Trump has made his way into my smear test.
In all fairness, the nurse didn’t open with Trump. The first time I tensed up (something over which I have absolutely no control) she asked me if I’m going anywhere on holiday. When I replied with, “ARGH JESUS, I DON’T KNOW, AHHHHH”, she changed the subject to…
“What do you do?”
“I’m a journalist,” I say, through various futile breathing exercises.
“Ahh,” she says. “You must know all about what’s happening in America.”
“ARGH,” I say.
“You’re tensing, you’re tensing, you’re tensing, you’re tensing.”
“I can’t help it.”
“You know,” she says. “The American media – they control the world.”
Through the pain, I manage to wonder if this is about to take an antisemitic turn. I’m used to the words “media” and “control” landing at least a little bit close to the word “Jews”.
“I don’t know,” I say. “Either way – ARGHH – I’m – ah, ah – not holding out much hope for President Trump.”
I wonder if I should tell her that I’m gay, and that having sex with men, before I came out, is probably the reason I shut down below the waist every time I so much as hear the word “speculum”.
Oh, and that deciding whether to explain – to somebody trying to tool their way to my cervix – why the man about to (on top of so many other god-awful things) undo decades of hard-won LGBTQ rights legislation probably isn’t going to do a “good job” (Unless, of course, your definition of “good job” is “implementing a new world order in which not being a straight white man matters more than ever”) is hardly easing the tension.
And, once again: what, in the name of all that is holy, is Donald Trump doing in this comfortably sterile examination room?
“The more you tense, the longer this is going to take,” says the nurse.
“I know,” I say, continuing to tense like an absolute pro.
“So are you going anywhere on holiday?” she asks again, because she can only do holidays and world politics.
“I’m going to New York,” I say. “My sister lives there.”
America again. Really? Why didn’t I just make up something innocuous about Spain? Although maybe that would’ve triggered a Brexit conversation. The last thing I want, at this point, is speculum-driven Article 50 banter.
“OK, you’re done love,” she says, shutting down the world’s most alt-right smear test.
“Oh really?” I say, almost expecting her to come back with, “Nah, just kidding,” before jamming the speculum back into my lefty-liberal BS reproductive system.
“We got there in the end,” she actually says, in that genuinely quite wonderful NHS way.
She draws that “modesty curtain” thing, which seems redundant in the presence of someone who has just stared you in the cervix. I put on my jeans and wonder if I’ll ever be coaxed into a Trump debate somewhere more incongruous than this. On a nudist beach? On a crashing plane? At Pride?
What a tremendously yuuuuge pain in the c**t.