Friday, 13 June 2014


So, gals, here's the thing. 

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered I suffer from a previously unknown condition called 'simia cervux' (to give it its Latin name), meaning my cervix is basically a monkey.

This shocking discovery was made during a routine smear test, when the practice nurse, having pried me open with an icy metal speculum THIS big (the bronze vaginal dilators of ancient Rome are an excellent reference point), made an exasperated announcement.
“Cheeky little monkey your cervix, isn’t she!”   
As always I tried to make light of things.
"Ha ha! Maybe try banana on top of the swab?!” I said. Like a twat.
She shot me one of those weary “not again” looks that people usually reserve for moments when they a) step in dog shit or b) hear something Michael Gove said. Which is very fucking annoying, as it was she who brought the monkey into the conversation in the first place.

I'm not a fucking vet, love. 

Of course, this isn’t the first time my lady parts have been treated as biological rarities. (A mermaid foetus? A two-headed dog? A kidney stone the size of Jupiter that also happens to have the face of a transmogrified Jesus? Whatever. For a whole sackful of proper weird, just try looking DOWN HERE ...) 

Take my first-ever smear test at the tender age of 25, when the nurse, after some protracted rummaging, said:
“You have a very long vagina. I’ll have to go get the longer speculum”.  
The way she said "long", it was as though she had accidentally walked the whole length of my vagina, realising, too late, that it was exactly the same length as the Wales Coastal Path. After a massive manhunt for the outsized speculum, involving two other doctors, she suggested I “pop” onto my knees. 
“Do you mean doggie style?” I said.
I don’t know why I said doggie style. I was ALREADY more embarrassed than I had ever been in my entire life, except for the time my mother found a cucumber on my bedroom floor.
“Yip, uh uh”, she said.  “I’ll be able to reach up higher then.”
In hindsight, I’m surprised that she didn’t mention the cheeky little monkey who lives at the end of the Trans-Vaginal Interstate Highway, you'd think she would n'all, but either she was too frazzled to notice, or my cervix is actually a 'normal' cervix. 

PS: This week is Cervical Screening Awareness Week. Go get yourself screened. Beware, though, of all the public health advice that tells you it doesn’t hurt because it hurts Like A Motherfucker. Then again, if it saves your life, who cares?! As for the nurses who may or may not call your cervix a little monkey or refer to your vagina as “down there”, I suggest you practice saying VAGINA and CERVIX in the mirror beforehand. Then you can introduce them all properly and be friends. Yay!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

N is for Nipple Pride

Everybody knows that there are two kinds of nipple. 

The first kind of nipple looks like a nipple, or, perhaps, a kitten's nose. Gentle but perky, with a hint of moist juiciness, it is usually attached to what family newspaper editors* like David Dinsmore like to call hooters, funbagsor chumbawombas. It can also be seen on a daily basis through pretty much anything worn by Rihanna or Beyonce. 

The second kind of nipple, conversely, looks like something you might find stuck to your shoe i.e chewing gum. Often the result of extreme breastfeeding, which in the UK means breastfeeding for more than three days, it could also (apparently) be mistaken for an attack of ringworm, or a scary witch's teat, which is why you never see it featured in newspapers, magazines, campaign billboards, or on the catwalks at New York Fashion Show

Not so long ago, I was confronted by a nip of the second variety on Embarrassing Bodies, when a concerned mother of three made the mistake of showing her cherub-chafed titties to telly doctor, Dr Christian Jessen. Drawing back the curtains (of his hair) and looking slightly bewildered, Dr Christian reassured the mother that "for someone who had breastfed three children", her nipples were, er, "okay". (Rumour has it that he also said, "Frankly m'dear, your nipples look like you've been suckling Satan. And all of his goats. But as an older woman, that's the least of your fucking worries." Which they must have edited out … )

Examples of Dr Jessen's sensitive engagement with women's issues on Twitter 
Now whilst I don't approve of Dr Christian's dismissive attitude (and I'm sure the mother in question was very cross for forgetting to reassure Dr Christian that although he had really shit hair, he had an inimitable bedside manner), I can nevertheless see where he's coming from. Because unless you're in the habit of drawing attention-seeking circles around your nipples using rhinestones and body glue, like those rad 'feminists' over at Cosmopolitan suggest, or unless your nipples are angled up by exactly 20 degrees with a picture-perfect ratio of breast tissue above and below, as described in The Times, or unless you're Head Nipple-Flaunter Rihanna/Beyonce/Scout Willis, I don't quite understand why would you give a flying fuck if your jalobies are a tiny bit less perfect than they once were? Seriously. 

Unless of course, you live in a society that  bombards you with images of perfect norks - and nipples - each and everyday. Perish the thought. 
Image courtesy of Closer
* Just to clarify. When I say family newspaper editor, I mean prick.