Okay. I went to my gynecologist yesterday---hadn’t been to see him way longer than the recommended interval, but there it is. I’ve had the same doctor since high school. Until last year, he literally had barely spoken to me-- the way I like it. You want the person who’s clinically intimate to be non-intrusive. He’s also appropriately non-judgmental, matter-of-factly used to rattle off potential hazards when I needed such information, dismantled anxiety by his unusual calm and slightly bored delivery. Everything is perceived as 'normal’ even if it isn’t--- even if it is an emergency or a sorrow, or you need an abortion in menopause, or you have a miscarried twin, or an accident or a fear. Routine.
There was a time in my life when I had kind of a crush on my gynecologist. In the exam room, fantasy helps you. I think I'd seen him on the street-- he was a ‘guy’…tall and kind of handsome, had a good marriage from all reports, 4 okay kids… and I have to admit--- he has this great ‘touch’…like few doctors do, and most of these are women—like he understands me.
But yesterday, he breaks character and asks me if I’d be part of a study he was doing--- a new drug—no side effects—to effectively ‘rejuvenate’ my sexuality, above and below the waist. I hate medicine of any sort. He knows this. But, he claims… I would feel more like having sex. I would feel 25 again. So of course, I respond…’What makes you think I want to feel 25 again?’ And he laughs, says—I’d feel better about myself. My sex drive. And I ask him if he thinks a little plastic surgery and a haircut by someone besides my guitar player with a straightedge might make me feel better about myself? I mean, do I look like someone who obsesses about personal cosmetics? I don’t even know how to put on makeup. He has a little laugh.
So this morning, I get a phone call from him… immediately I recognize his leveled, monotonal voice—old-school, to let me know everything is status quo, and have I thought over his proposal? I need some smart women to help me, he almost cajoles… You mean sarcastic and verbal and sharp-tongued? That, too, he admits. So is this a medical version of Sex and the City or an actual drug study? Well, he concedes… a little of both.
So... I give him a piece of my Princeton mind. Yes, I struggle for a little non-sexed respect in the sexed/sexist world of music, and reaching a certain age is like reassurance that you never again have to deal with the image-forward thing… unless you’re Dolly Parton, of course, or holding up the back-end of a cosmetically weighted contract. I do find sublimating my long-honed sexuality in my writing and performance all the rejuvenation I require in this moment, and I’m not sure I want to spend my mature years pining and lusting and obsessing and inflicting the kind of psychic pain on my self and others for which I spent many years repenting.
Well, he offers… after a gynecological pause … how about your friends?
My friends? I’m going to furnish him with a pre-fabricated cast for his version of the over-50 Sex-in-the-City? And what is he offering in return? Vaginal rejuvenation? I just met a Seventh-day Adventist in the subway, and even he had a better deal. He laughs. Some women, he says, are willing to sacrifice for this. You mean, I say… their first-born, and their second-born, etc…? He laughs again. Gives me his cell-phone, in case I change my mind. I don’t change my mind, I retort. Some nights I don’t even change my clothes.
But am I supposed to hang up and think about this? Like on the train last night…when some muscle-guy with demonic tattoos and a ripped vintage Metallica shirt leers at me? Am I supposed to consider this? My days of elevator encounters and one-night filmscripts definitely 'inform' my private vocabulary, but I am still someone’s mother, and someone’s lover, and someone’s confidante--- even though they don’t need me in the desperate way they used to, nor I them. I am just a little more attached to my self and my obsession to produce something artistically as worthwhile as a baby. Maybe my heart is buried in my poetic head and my passion is in my fingers, but whatever bullet I want to load in my creative gun is not going to be over or under-the-counter or in my (or someone else’s) anatomical pants.