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Emily Post(modern): A Trip to the Gynecologist

Good evening, all. Your friendly neighborhood Emily Post(modern) is back with another lesson in etiquette.

I've been in Los Angeles for two weeks now and have been enjoying the warm weather more than I can possibly say. It is truly remarkable what some blue sky and sunshine can do for one's disposition. But my trips west aren't only marked by sandals and sundresses, but also by an inevitable date with the stirrups, so I thought I would take some time this weekend to go over (for myself as much as for the rest of you):

Manners for Seeing your Gyno

If you are not of the female persuasion I think you best stop reading. This could be a little shocking for men who live in ignorance of all that actually goes into being a woman on the daily. It's a lot more than cooking dinner, cleaning house, and looking pretty I can tell you that much.


A trip to the gynecologist is one of the necessary evils that comes with being a woman. Right up there with bleaching facial hair and waxing of any kind. It is uncomfortable at best. I mean, there is nothing worse for a single woman than having her nether regions poked at while being asked by the head between her legs just how much sex she has or has not been having. You inevitably leave feeling either like a Leper or like the Whore of Babylon, even if neither are the case. But fear not... I'm here to help. I've outlined the following guidelines to help facilitate this most crucial embarrassment.

  • If the nurse does not have you change into a paper gown before asking you to step on the scale, then that nurse is no friend of yours. They are a tool Satan uses to make you feel like you can't have frozen yogurt after your appointment. You must ignore them. You must also absolutely get frozen yogurt after your appointment. Believe me, you will have earned it.

  • When it comes time to change into that glamorous paper gown, do not just leave your clothes in a pile on the floor. Fold them neatly and place them in a chair. This is your chance to bring some decorum to what is otherwise a rather awkward series of events. It is also your chance to show the world, or at least your gynecologist, that your mother taught you well... even if her lessons aren't put into practice as often as they should be in the privacy of your studio apartment. Not that I speak from experience, of course.

  • Accessorize. For example, wearing pearls to your appointment makes the prospect of lying on a table wrapped in nothing but paper slightly less mortifying. Slightly.

  • You needn't waste a cute bra/panty set on this exchange as they will not be in play. However, socks - if worn - must match.

  • If socks are not worn, make sure your feet are presentable. I don't mean a bedazzled pedicure, but remember The Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Would you want gross feet in your face? Do you want to be both the Whore of Babylon AND the girl with gross feet? I thought not.

  • Some gynecologists are all business. They get in there and have you back out on Wilshire Blvd on your way to get that froyo before you know it. This, of course, is favorable, and is why I fly all the way across the country for my appointments. But others are of a chatty variety. I have experienced this as well and I am here to tell you that in this instance you have two options:

  1. Keep the conversation minimal. Talk about the weather or how bad the traffic was getting to your appointment. Prepare concise little quips you can use, but nothing too engaging as that could beget actual conversation, as there is no level of conversational skill that could successfully navigate a proper conversation with the person smearing your pap.

  2. Politely tell your doctor that while you are thrilled their family had a wonderful time on their last vacation, or that their favorite sports team is having a winning season, you'd rather keep conversation during the exam focused on the task at hand. Literally. Because their hand will probably be busy prodding your breast.

  • Last but not least, the age-old question: To shave or not to shave your legs? This may surprise you, but I'm leaving this entirely up to you. If you are going to leave the office feeling like the Whore of Babylon, chances are your legs are already shaved so it's a non issue. But if you, like me, are of the Leper variety, one of the few joys you have left is the choice of whether or not you're going to shave your legs on any given day. This choice is precious, and not even a trip to the gynecologist can make it for you. There is power in that, my friends.

I hope you have found these guidelines insightful and instructive. I, for one, feel much more prepared for my looming visit. My pearls are on standby, my anecdote about the 405 is perfected, and I'm already dreaming about that froyo.

With Grace and Good Humor,

Emily Post(modern)

My name is Mary Lane Haskell and my two "claims to fame" are that I have Dolly Parton's fax number and that Reese Witherspoon once liked a post on my Instagram.  I am an actor, a writer, and a profound Chipotle enthusiast making my way in Los Angeles while trying to stay true to my family's southern roots, all with grace and a touch a good humor.  I'm so glad you're here!


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