Paying for sex
I recently visited a health clinic. Never mind why. Thank goodness I had an ap- pointment. That cut the wait to only 21⁄2 hours. I was just waking up after the second time I dozed off when a young woman in a lab coat called my name.
“This way,” she said. I was a little groggy but it seemed likely she worked there, so I followed her into an exam room. “We’ll need to answer some questions.” Age, height, weight, she went down the list. I was reeling off my measurements when she threw me a curve. “What age did you first have sex?” That woke me up.
“Sex. How old the first time?”
This seemed a little impertinent, but I decided to play along. “Well, my generation the motto was, ‘Drugs, sex, rock and roll.’” Deep breath. “There were lots of drugs and rock and roll.” I waited. She looked at me. “Lots and lots of drugs and rock and roll.” I tried a little laugh. It sounded more like a squeak.
“So ... ?” she continued. I told her. I think I saw a little smirk. She ticked something off her list. “How many sexual partners have you had?”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
She flipped a page on her clipboard. “You are here for ... tests?”
“Still ... ,” I protested.
“It’s important. Don't worry we've had people with dozens of partners.”
“Oh, yes. Sometimes more than dozens.”
“There’s more than dozens?”
She nodded. “Sometimes dozens and dozens.”
I opened my mouth but nothing came out.
She gave a little shrug. “There's nothing to be ashamed of."
“That's not why I'm ashamed.”
“And the number ... ?”
I told her. This time it was a little shake of the head.
“Have you ever paid for sex?”
“Have you ever paid for sex? We need to know that.”
“Listen, missy, I'm an aging male trying to date women in America. You pay for sex alright. You always pay for sex. You pay and pay and pay for sex. Sometimes, months later, they make you pay again. Do you pay for sex? What a dumb question.” This time she scribbled longer than seemed necessary.
“Do you practice unprotected sex?”
“Unprotected sex. Sex without a condom.”
“Who does that?”
She blinked. “I'll put ‘No.’”
“Are we about done?” I asked.
“I need to ask about your sexual practices.”
“With me it’s mostly practice. Practice, practice, practice. I’m on the practice squad. If they ever bring me up, it’s for one game only. Then they send me right back down.”
“We need to know the gender of your partners. Male or female,” she asked. “Look here ... ,” I practically spluttered.
“I’ll be asking where and what with which part.”
“Part?” I said.
“Of the anatomy. What you do and have done to you. Are you pitching or catching?” She arched her eyebrows. “It’s all perfectly normal, right?” She’s sitting there smiling, all chummy, like I’m part of the team.
“Sheeesh ... Can I ask you the same questions?”
“What??!!! Absolutely not! That would be highly inappropriate.” Now she’s got a tone.
“Inappropriate? You want to talk about inappropriate? My sex life would be inappropriate for a dung beetle. Not exactly batting a thousand here.”
“About your partners ... .”
“Is it hot in here?”
“Just a few more minutes and we’ll have you in an exam gown. Your partners?” She searched my face, her pencil poised, ready.
“Exam gown?” I asked.
She nodded. “Oh, yes,” she said, “A thorough exam.”
“OK! OK! Twice is all we did it. Three times maybe. Well, once messing around in the car. This was last year, right? And I’m still hearing what a jerk I am. She’s the one broke it off. Then totally cut me off. Zilch, nada, nothing. Which would be OK, I guess, if she’d ever turn loose of it. But does she get over it? Oh, no. What does she want from me? When is my debt going to be up? Plus, not to mention, now I’m in here. You want to know if I pay for sex?”
“Mr. Becay, please.”
After a minute I calmed. I took a few more ragged breaths. I may have stifled a sob. “Let’s get it over with.”
We got through it. I noticed she wasn’t making eye contact anymore.
Finally, she uttered the words I was longing to hear. “That about wraps it up.”
“My sexual history is pretty sad,” I offered.
“Well, history is written by the winners. There’s your gown. The doctor will be in in a minute.”
“Uh,” I ventured. She stopped, one hand on the door knob. “I’ve got two tickets for the Charity Ball Saturday evening ... ?”
This time it wasn’t a smirk, it was a sneer. And it wasn’t little. Clinics can be so humiliating.