Beauty is on the Inside

Yesterday was the day “GYN” was written in my agenda. It would be my first Well-Woman exam in France. Callaghan and I got there on time, and the doctor called us in immediately. Shocking! This was a good sign. I was brimming with curiosity. How would this particular exam differ from those I’ve had in the States? All the medical exams I’ve had here so far have been different. We followed the doctor down the hall to his office. I was about to find out!

For starters, he couldn’t find my vagina.

Kidding! What really happened at first was that he couldn’t figure out why I was there, since I’d had everything removed except my vagina. Ovaries, tubes, uterus and cervix – the whole SHE-bang, gone. He had a good point. There’s nothing to find in a pelvic exam on a woman who’d evicted all of her reproductive organs from her pelvis. He asked a few questions for clarification purposes.

“My GYN in the States said I should still get a yearly check,” I explained.

The doctor gesticulated with his hands as he meandered through a long reply, but even with the sign language, I wasn’t sure I understood him.

“He says there’s nothing to do,” said Callaghan, cutting the response down to six words.

But the doctor got up and showed me to the examination area, anyway, while Callaghan remained seated in his plush green velvet 18th-century replica chair at the desk. The exam area was concealed behind an ornate Oriental screen. The doctor told me to undress completely, but he did not give me a paper gown. This omission flashed in my mind. What’s a pelvic exam without the crinkly, slippery paper gown? (Not that I missed it. I didn’t.) As I reposed on my back with my feet in the stirrups, I gazed above and bit my lip to keep from laughing as I recalled how a former GYN had tacked a poster of Tom Cruise on the ceiling above the exam table. It was supposed to help patients relax. I’m not making this up.

After the exam, I got dressed and joined Callaghan at the desk, wondering what the doctor would find to say about my non-existent girly parts.

“C’est bien,” he said. “Votre vagin est parfait.”

“Your vagina is perfect,” said Callaghan.

“That’s what I thought he said.”

“Well I already knew that your vagina was perfect.” He sounded like his intelligence had been insulted.

We burst out laughing. The doctor ignored us. He grabbed a large coffee-table book, set it down, spun it around, and opened it to display pictures of all kinds of vaginas, interior close-ups beautifully captured in gleaming full color. He enthusiastically used his pen to point out the different parts of vaginal anatomy. As he flipped through the vagina photographs, I suppressed the urge to ask him which one resembled mine. If mine is “perfect,” then why couldn’t it also be featured in a vagina photography book? There are models for all kinds of body parts (hand models, leg models, feet and teeth models). From what I understand, body-part modeling is lucrative, and the models take out insurance policies on said parts… celebrities too, sometimes, if they have a part that’s especially famous. Didn’t I read somewhere that Jennifer Lopez has an insurance policy out on her ass?

In any case, I have to say that this doctor was more thorough than any American one I’ve had, and the exam was only 34 euro (that’s without insurance). Girls, remember this if you ever visit France! You could squeeze in a Well-Woman appointment during your stay. It’ll probably be cheaper than going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, too.