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Skulking in through the back door of the Fordham Health Center, I began to think about what excuse I should come up with this time for my visit. As a massive hypochondriac and someone well versed in the art of feigning illnesses, I decided that “abdominal pains” was as good as any. I looked into the apathetic eyes of the studying worker at reception, paranoid she somehow knew my true intentions. With barely a pleasantry, she informed me that the doctor would be with me shortly. No one gets sick on a Friday afternoon; unless it’s a snow day.
As we go through the routine checks, my eyes wander aimlessly at the posters hanging on the wall, the most aggressive of which is the purple spreadsheet of STD’s. All the rage these days. Silently thankful that I’ve never had any diseasey discharges from any of my orifices, it serves as my segue into the next topic.
I nod to it, asking, “Whilst I’m here can I get an STD checkup?” The doctor takes it in her stride, and asks me if I want to put it on my insurance. As opposed to what? Straight cash, homey? She informs me that some Fordham students are on their parents insurance and prefer it to be off the record.
This surprises me for two reasons. Firstly, the idea that an STD check could potentially be an issue for some parents, and secondly, because other than me telling my roommates I’m clean to the beat of a high five, I’ve never heard any Fordham student talk about getting one. Now I understand that this is considered a highly personal thing by most, but it pales in comparison to some of the topics of conversation that I’ve heard throughout my time at Fordham (have a glimpse at other Rival articles if you don’t believe me). Therefore, I began my descent into what appeared to be one of Fordham’s darkest taboos.
Actually I didn’t. I just asked a few friends about their dicks.
However, I was genuinely shocked by the number of my peers who had never been tested. When I pressed them further, the most common answer was fear. I empathized with this entirely. My first time I was scared shitless, especially since my friend who had recently gone for a check up told me that his burly female nurse had less than tenderly jabbed a Q-tip down his divided highway while glaring at his gonads as part of the examination*. The only reason I still went through with it was because I thought I had caught the herpolie urpolies, which fortunately was only an ingrown hair (it turns out that independently learning about razor burn was an adolescent right of passage among many of my male friends).
To be honest, foreboding came over me on Friday. It always does, even if I haven’t had sex since my last checkup. But it wont be anything close to the same panic as the first visit, which had me reaching for the conveniently placed anxiety pamphlet in the waiting rooms.
Occasionally I’m still tempted to just follow through with my bullshit story and walk away. But every visit lessens the panic. This is the reason why I get checked routinely. It means that if some day there might be cause for concern, I wont be paralyzed by not wanting to know.
*He was of course, fucking with me. All you do is piss in a cup. They even give you a moist towelette to clean up any unexpected fluids, which would have come in handy during my other first time.