Heads up folks, this week I’m talking about Pap smears. I know, I know, Pap smear is one of those terms that makes you go bleugh but they’re totes important so I encourage you to keep reading. Everybody say Happy Pappy Pap Smear!
Notice I said “smear”? These days they’re more commonly referred to as Pap “tests” – no doubt a clever marketing shift to encourage more women to get them done. Smear is a little too-much-information-land invoking images of a butter knife scraping away at your insides.
Not that that’s how it works.
The scrapey thing is more like plastic disposable cutlery and they also use a little brush that could easily be mistaken for a mascara wand – not that I really watch what’s going on.
What’s a Pap anyhow? Wiki tells me the test was invented by and named after a Greek doc named Georgios Papanikolaou. Now that’s a claim to fame. If I’d come up with such a lifesaving service to women-folk it’d be a Schaf smear. Yes, I just said that.
I’m one of those wussbag lesbians who didn’t have a Pap smear until my late 20s. It’s not that I thought lesbians were immune to cervical cancer, I just wasn’t in any hurry to have a doc poke around down there.
That’s not cool. Each year in Australia about 750 women get cervical cancer. Up to 90 percent of cervical cancers can be prevented if cell changes are found early through Georgios’ wonderful test.
Lesbians have the same risk as straight chicks because HPV (human papillomavirus – which despite sounding super gross is actually a very common virus) is spread through skin-to-skin contact during sex. Just because we’re not bangin’ boys, doesn’t make us bulletproof.
When I eventually did get my Pap on it was one of the most chilled doctor visits I’ve had. The doc was super friendly, she didn’t tell me off for not getting a Pap test sooner, she didn’t care that I was a lady-lover – and when I dropped my dacks, she told me everything looked normal down there and gently did the deed. It felt odd but didn’t hurt.
If you’re still a Pap virgin don’t save yourself until your wedding night. The power to get a Happy Pappy Pap Smear is in your hands.
INFO: You can follow Monique Schafter on Twitter @MoniqueSchafter