I am not a swinger, but I always thought if a woman veered anywhere near my wife’s lady parts, it would, at the very least, be interesting. Witnessing my very first papsmear was the exact opposite. It was, well, gross.
It wasn’t the doctor. She was an attractive lady–even in her scrubs. She was probably in her mid-to-late 30s, a triathlete, peppy with a hint of nuevo-hippie, the type of woman who, despite being an OBGYN, would use “energies” as an excuse when biological causes were clear. If you like women with short hair and hemp bracelets, the doctor would have been perfect for you. But when she strapped on the medical gloves and grabbed the speculum, she became the Wicked Witch of the West of My Wife’s Vagina.
You might be asking yourself: Why would you stay in the room?
Well, honestly, I felt like I needed to be there. Not for my wife, but for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I never met my father, so as soon as Jaime sent me a text message saying she was “Preggo my eggo” (Her words, not mine. Also, there was a smiley face in the text, too.), I had told myself I would be there for absolutely every part of this ride–even the gross parts. (Though, for the record, I will be waist-up when she pushes the beast out, and we’ve checked the “No” box in the birth plan questionnaire next to “Will you want a mirror present to see the birth?”.)
Up until the girl-on-girl gone wrong, being an expectant father was easy: read the baby books (I wrote a found poem using one of the books. If you want to read it, tell me in the comments, and maybe I’ll post it–and yes, that may just be a ploy to get you to comment.); make sure she eats well and often; let her sleep; change the cat litter (I’m not happy about this one.); go to the appointments; some handiwork; garden; and listen. (This last one is important–in between vomiting and eating, pregnant ladies use their mouths for another thing: talking.)
Much like the first ultrasound made the fact that I am going to be a father real, the papsmear made my commitment to my baby mama real, too. Don’t get me wrong: we aren’t too crazy kids getting steamy in the back of a Buick. We’ve been together for 10 years and married for almost four. But I track our commitment by the level of grossness we submit each other to, beginning with knowingly using the bathroom around her to cleaning up her vomit (She ranks a distant third behind the dogs and the cat in number and volume of vomit clean-ups; she has some catching up to do.) and letting her pluck an in-grown hair turned infected hair follicle from a part of my body you’ll surely never see. (Sorry!)
The papsmear was far worse than all of these things.
But being there meant I had already done more than my father did for me, and I get an odd sense of satisfaction from knowing that, probably because I only know him as an absence.
When I was a kid, I imagined who my father could be. Starting with sitcoms dads (If you come see me at “Fuck Father’s Day,” an anti-father’s day reading at Central Cinema on–you guessed it–Father’s Day, you’ll hear more about my sitcoms dads.), I slutted my way through nearly every positive–and several negative–mid-to-late 80’s celebrities that I hoped were my father, including Michael Jordan, Bob Vila and Richard Grieco. (It was the 80’s, people.)
He was always whatever I wanted him to be, but never there when I needed him to be. That’s how I know my father–the guy who wasn’t at my graduation, my little league games, and my mother’s gyno appointments. So being there is important to me, even though, after the papsmear, I’m pretty fucking terrified of the next destination.
But, at least, my kid won’t have to imagine who I am. He or she will just have to settle for a guy who works hard, tells inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times and truly believes the Scarface axiom “All I have in this world is my balls and my word and I don’t break them for no one.”
Too bad I can’t dunk.