Waiting Room

13 Nov

Going for your annual sexual health check is somewhat like being called to the head teacher’s office; although you know that you haven’t done anything wrong, you just can’t help but feel guilty.


As you sit there, waiting for Godot, you are surrounded by the usual suspects: worryingly young girls in school uniform, the archetypal couple preparing to take their relationship to the ‘next level’, (which usually involves acknowledging the fact the condom has broken so many times they should probably just get tested), and everyone in between.

Some may nervously tap their feet, whilst others seem to haven’t a care in the world. There are those that bring along a friend for moral support, whilst others drag them along for light entertainment. The latter will usually provide a detailed synopsis of their sex life thus far and will casually remark how the small matter of an STI has ruined their plans to pull on the weekend. Worse still, they will tell their friend (and therefore the whole room) that although their ‘baby father’ cheated on them on numerous occasions, and most probably passed something on to them, they still love him. This, unless you can afford to go private, is a fate we all have to bare.

However, no matter how many times you’ve done it, nothing quite prepares you for the dread you feel upon hearing your name called for an examination. As you walk down the NHS’s answer to the Green Mile, you prepare yourself for the worst. But before this even occurs, you must reel off the last year’s worth of sexual partners to someone who reminds you of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’s Nurse Ratched. For those of you in relationships, this is a fairly simple and pain-free task. However, for those of you who can be described as being ‘actively single’, you are forced to flick through your mental roll-a-dex of sexual partners. Some you won’t mind remembering, and others you could quite happily forget.

Whilst you sit there thinking that you’d sooner be Odysseus facing a catalogue of ghosts in deepest darkest Hades, you reflect over how ridiculous it is that you feel regretful, or embarrassed even, about the fun you’ve had. After all, you’ve been safe haven’t you? For the most part anyway. Once all the tests are through and you are sent packing with freebies, which let’s face it, is what you really came for, you remember that now comes the worst part of all. The Wait.

Over the next week you imagine the unlikely possibility that you have everything and anything under the sun. Worse still, you imagine opening that catalogue of ghosts in your little black book and having to call up each and every one of them to explain that your transgressions have finally caught up with you. And just when you work yourself up into enough of a state and promise yourself you’ll be much stricter, more sensible, CHASTE even-Your phone vibrates. You have received 1 text message. It reads: NEGATIVE.

Almost instantly upon reading it, your anxieties begin to drain away. You convince yourself you knew it all along. Then after a while you’ll admit to yourself you were lying. You will think: ‘thank God that’s over!’ and you will vow to never be so stupid again. At least till next time…


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