The Unkindest Prod of All

My doctor is young. Really young. He looks like he’s maybe in college. And yesterday, Doogie (not his real name) changed my life forever.

In the air of his examining room yesterday I felt something between Doogie and me shift the moment he snapped on a blue latex glove, hauled out from a drawer a tube of lubricant that would fit into a caulking gun, and said, “Go ahead and put your elbows on the table here.”

“Excuse me?” I replied. Perhaps he had forgotten how earlier, smiling to hide the unease within me, I had acquiesced to his request that I make myself naked beneath the flowered, undersized blue gown that it was apparently his desire to see me wear.

He tapped the strip of white paper running down the center of the padded orange-yellow exam table. “Just put your elbows right here.”

“But … but [Doogie],” I said, a slight quiver in my voice. “Are you sure that’s what you want? Can’t we at least talk some more, get to know each other a little better? I’ve only been here a few minutes.”

“Hey, it’s gotta happen.” In his voice I detected an unsettling note of cold resolve.

I knew I sounded too emotional, but I couldn’t help it. “But couldn’t you at least … I don’t know … maybe pour me a drink of some sort? Play a little Barry White, maybe? Or even just dim the lights a little?”

“I like to do it with the lights on.”

So young. So jaded.

“So this is what our relationship has finally come down to,” I said, hoping I sounded brave. “This is all that we are now.”

“‘Fraid so,” he said, unscrewing the top from the tube. “Let’s do this.”

I turned my face away from him, not wanting him to see how his words had stung me. This resulted in my presenting to him the only part of me in which he apparently had any real interest at all.

“At least promise me you’ll be gentle,” I said.

“I will. Just relax. This won’t hurt a bit.”

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and awaited my fate.

Friends of mine have experienced what was I was about to. Each has assured me that it was fine. “It ain’t that big a deal,” said one. “It’s nothing,” said another. “It’s over in a second.”

This morning I have made a list of every acquaintance of mine who has ever told me that a rectal exam is not a profoundly unpleasant experience. It might not happen today. I might not happen tomorrow. But sooner or later I am going to kill them all.

The instant my sphincter became a friendship ring, I locked my arms straight and said, “Whoa whoa whoa whoa!” I also danced on my tippy-toes like I was doing a manic “Calves of Steel” workout.

“Holy Christ!” I cried out. I know you’re not supposed to take the Lord’s name in vain. But I’m confident that Jesus, being in every last way human, will not only understand, but sympathize.

“See?” said Dr. Bratwurstfingers. “Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?”

At first I was too traumatized to respond. Finally, with my eyes on the floor, I murmured bitterly, “All I can say is that I hope that was good for you.”

I will now do my best to try and put my life back together again. The first thing I’ve got to do, or course, is plan five of six murders. Immediately afterward I will seek professional help. I will certainly see a mental health therapist. Perhaps also a hypnotist. Maybe an acupuncturist. A Pilates instructor. I don’t know. I’ll just take it one day at a time.

And Doogie?If you’re out there, somewhere, reading this, all I ask is that when you think of me—and you will—think of me kindly. I would like to pretend that I can forget you, but we both know that’s not possible. Although, God knows, I will try.

But I’m afraid that my thoughts will always wander back to you, in the end.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Latoya

    eeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwww!!!

  • http://www.accidental-artist.com Dani

    Re: Previous Two Comments — whaaat? I laughed the entire way through this. What's not to love about a man opening up after such an ordeal? (no pun intended or anything, John) Wow.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Dani: Whew. Thanks.

  • Mark Lattimore

    Um. OK, I'm going to bare (so to speak) some of myself here, John. I went through a similar ordeal, only my doctor was a woman. I admit to being a little uncomfortable (OK, mortified) with the whole idea of being probed by anyone, much less by an attractive blond who was about to see me, not in a silk suit with coordinating tie and polished shoes, but rather grabbing a table white-knuckled bent at a 90 degree angle displaying all the glory beneath my gown. Then she said those two magic words which changed my opinion of female urologists forever: smaller fingers. My advice — find a new doctor who was born without a prostate.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    "Just to be sure" I had this done a few years ago.

    The doctor looked at me later and said I looked like I was going to pass out. Or throw up.

    I told him I wasn't ruling out either at that point. That was nearly ten minutes after, by the way.

    Anyone who tells you that it isn't an utterly miserable experience is lying and really should be killed. Very sadistic methods seem appropriate.

  • DGollahon

    John, you'll someday forget about this experience, at least once you go on to the next stage. You know, the one with the reaaalllly looonnnnggg finger. Fully exploring the caverns and taking pictures as it goes, looking for all the parties taking place where the sun never shines. And then it removes any un-invited guests along the way. You will be thrilled to know, if these guests are discovered, that the "bouncers" will schedule periodic return visits until these pests get the picture and no longer show up. One day you may find yourself requesting framed versions of these works of art to hang over your mantle. Last time I had one I actually asked if they could record the trip on DVD for me so I could show the family. Too bad they have not added that technology to the system yet. At least for the first one I had they kept me awake enough to watch it live on TV.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Mark: Good advice! Too funny.

    Wickle: Yes! Righto.

    DGoll: I, too, have had the "Smile! You're on Intrusive Candid Camera!" experience. Twice, actually! (I watched me first one on live TV, too! Not exactly prime time.) But with that, they give you serious drugs. And though, when Doogie looked away, I TRIED drinking enough of his sterilizing alcohol to make our engagement go better, he caught me too soon.

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty

    Bum…. mer.

  • http://Barach.com David Barach

    When I had my elbows on the table a couple of years ago I mumbled, "I hate this part."

    "That's good," the doctor replied. "When a patient says he likes it, I tell him it's time to find a new doctor."

  • Judy

    - I laughed out loud.

    - Too much information.

    - I do not feel one bit sorry for you. Women have much worse to go through and more often.

    - Have a drink. It'll be okay. :-)

  • http://myspacearchive.wordpress.com Bethany

    I haven’t even read 1/3 of this and I’m already mad at you.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    David: That's such a great line.

    Judy: Oh, THAT old canard. (I know it's true. I just like using the word "canard.")

  • textjunkie

    Hah!! Such drama, such angst… ::chuckle:: When he whips out a set of metal prongs to make the opening bigger, you'll get some sympathy from the women readers, but not before. ;)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Text: WHAT? Okay, that's it. I've had it with the "Hey, at least you're not a woman" response. Unfair!

    Okay, not unfair. Still. I may have to … well, blog about this.

    I blame you.

  • http://heckledtrio.wordpress.com HK

    LOL, ditto a dozen times to the readers who said "women have it worse". Be grateful you don't have to give birth, either ;-)

  • http://jem-musings.blogspot.com/ Jeannie

    Gotta echo the ladies, John. I could say a lot more because I have given birth more than once and had a lot of complications with my pregannacies and births. BUT, I will spare everyone the details. Still, you took a very routine exam and made it very funny.

  • http://www.goshenchristianmontessori.com Tricia Blosser

    For what it's worth, I laughed out loud. Thanks for sharing John. That seems like an intensely uncomfortable experience. What is it about humankind that so often finds great humor in others' calamity? (And yes, I just really wanted to use the word "calamity" today)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Again with "Shut-up, Whiney-boy. Come complaining to us next time you have OVARIES!"

    I'm already planning my next post, which WILL address this obvious hot-button ….

    Wait. What were we talking about?

    Anyway, you just wait.

    Tricia: It means a LOT to me that you laughed out loud reading this. That's … what I'm trying to get. Sweet. Thanks.

  • http://facebook.com/missmgmnt Shannon

    Hahaha – hysterical! I laughed out loud several times while reading this… I'll never think of a friendship ring the same way though so I'm a little disturbed by that one but nonetheless very funny! :-D

  • onemansbeliefs

    Funny, Funny, Funny…

    The prostate is an odd little creature. In the confines of the doctor's office the mere thought of contact can cause anxiety, pain and suffering. In the act of a loving relationship it can take a beating like a punching bag and leave you smiling :)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    WHOA there, Smiley. Was that WAY too much information for you to be sharing, or … well, I can't think of an "or."

    So. As part of your sex-play, you enjoy prolonged, direct prostrate manipulation. Good to know.

    I'll never eat or sleep again. But good to know. Thanks for writing!

  • onemansbeliefs

    Me? Did I say me? Ahh… Not me. See, I, uh, I got this friend. He told me.

    Next time I'll let him know this info is not for public consumption. My humble apologies. For my friend, I mean.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    My doctor, while donning his right latex glove, said, "It may be the digital age but in the end, it still comes down to just one digit." Then he flexes his right index finger/digit.

    His smile fades as I must have looked dumbfounded. or horrified. i really can't remember. its all a blur.

    So then he says, "hmmmph! that usually gets at least a chuckle!"

    I was thinking its a good thing he gave up on his comedic dreams and stayed in med school.

  • http://www.aelc.edu.au/the-naked-ape-blog/index.html Nathan

    LOL. Another belly laugh. Yet my first was almost the same experience.

    Seriously: my partner's father died from prostrate cancer. Such a needless and avoidable death! God on you for taking it seriously…In a manner of speaking.

  • ShyAsrai

    time for you to go hug your wife – really really hard – for all these years you had no inkling of what women go through, and never cared about it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Whoa, Shy. First of all, wrong screen name. Secondly, don’t presume to tell me what I have and haven’t known or cared about relative to my wife’s health. Who in the hell do you think you are?

  • http://namesake.wordpress.com Dale

    LOL! Thanks, John. That was funny.

  • Jasun Mark

    If you’ve gone to the trouble of Googling my name, you’ll know what I do for a living and I therefore have more experience talking men through the first time they have something.. um… go in there.

    I always say “Just remember most of all, Relax…. Breathe in… Gently push out.”

    The muscles will get the message there’s… uh… something in there and they’ll open up, thus allowing the experience to be less.. obtrusive.

    I’m not a fan of it either, but sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

  • Lisa

    “But couldn’t you at least … I don’t know … maybe pour me a drink of some sort? You could play a little Barry White, perhaps. Or even just dim the lights a little?”

    “I like to do it with the lights on.”

    Dr. Bratwurstfingers.

    LMAO…you are hilarious!

    btw.. I like how you put "Shy" in place.

  • chris

    come-on, I get the whole ‘omg women have it so much worse’, ‘men are pathetic, if they had to go what we went through they’d die’…. So tired of the BS, 1. a woman’s vagina is designed to stretch, 2. feel more sorry for the doc that has to examine crotch all day cause they see crap like blue waffles and put there face near it with there hands in it while smiling and saying ‘oh no its not that bad’, 3. the stigma and trepidation with the penetration of male orifices has only built men up to be dramatic and possess an ‘all of sudden’ mixed with a ‘i never thought it would happen to me’ feeling. You gals are raised with the acknowledgment it is going to have and are prepared for it, not to mention the vagina is made to stretch upon entry and exit, 4. lastly all this crap that women give men about holding pregnancy over their mans head is so full of shiiit. Females possess the amazing ability to incubate, grow and raise children, yet half of them see no honor or purpose in it. Which is why most guys will treat all those trash talking hoes like a sperm bank with terrible customer service. Ladies should remember what there first time to the gyno was like and realize that is what men go through, but with thought that they could be signs of cancer. I respect women and all they go through , just not the feminist spin on an article that is funny as hell until you read the comments from women like ShyAsrai.


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