I’d had close to no sex when I got to college. My penis had been inside a couple of girls, but I didn’t really know what to do with it and I could have been charitably described as “very awful” at making and/or doing sex. So at NYU, I made a concerted effort to get my dinky stinky as often as possible. I was drunk every time I even kissed a girl my freshman year, and none of my sexual experiences stand out in my mind as anything other than clumsy and desperate. That said; I definitely got some fuckin’ done. Early in my first semester I wound up having drunken and somewhat athletic unprotected sex with a girl I had about 40 classes with. (I wanted to make sure we could relive the horror 11 or 12 times a day when we made eye contact despite our best efforts.) A couple of days later I noticed some little red bumps peeking out from among my pubic hair. I was 18 and had begun puberty in the 1980s, so I’d been taught that having unprotected sex even once meant you’d die of AIDS within six months and your mom would have to light a picture of your face on fire in front of the White House and disown your memory in a special ceremony. I was sincerely terrified and figured the fatigue I felt wasn’t from a terrible hangover or staying up late studying, but from my rapidly diminishing T cell count.
I decided to go to NYU’s health services to find out how fast-acting my particular strand of AIDS was. The doctor who saw me said that it didn’t look like any STD he knew of. He thought it was probably just a heat rash or a skin irritation of some kind, but just to be safe, I should go to a dermatologist. I walked a half a block to the dermatologist’s office and sat in the waiting room, figuring I had some type of advanced AIDS that was masquerading as a rash and would perhaps take many forms before it finally manifested as Death bearing a scythe and a wheelbarrow to take me to the hell reserved for naughty 18-year-old boys who drink alcohol and do marijuana and then put their penises in stranger women. I was sent to an examination room and then a ravishingly beautiful young woman, not possibly over 27 years old, walked in.
“Hello. How can we help you today?”
“What’s the matter?”
“Well, um, I really wish that you were an old man and not a young woman.”
“Don’t be silly. I have all sorts of patients. Young and old, male and female. No reason to be embarrassed about anything.”
“So you have a rash?”
“Can I see it?”
I unzipped my pants and pulled down my boxers so that only the top of my pubic hair was visible.
“Take them all the way down.”
I pulled my pants and underwear down, fully exposing my 18-year-old penis and testicles to an extraordinarily beautiful young doctor with long brown hair and green eyes who smelled very good. She stuck her face right on in there and checked everything thoroughly.
Then she said this to me: “Is their any irritation around your anus?”
“NO. NO THERE IS NOT. MY ANUS IS FINE.”
“How do you know? You can’t see it. Let me take a quick look.”
“I am certain there is no rash there.”
I turned around.
“Spread your buttocks open.”
I peeled apart my fear-clamped butt cheeks and showed her my shameful little butthole. She leaned over in her chair and gazed into it. I prayed fervently that God would bless me with a fatal stroke.
“Looks OK to me. Nothing out of the ordinary back there. You can pull your pants up.”
I pulled my pants up and she gave me a prescription for a topical cream she said should clear the rash right up. I ran from her office on Washington Square Park.
Why WHY did she need to look at my butthole? Couldn’t she have given me the cream based on what she saw up front? Was she some type of butthole enthusiast? Should a doctor be allowed to be so beautiful? Was she really a doctor at all or had I been tricked and filmed by Candid Camera: Special Butthole Unit? I was on fire with embarrassment and shame. I had spread open my most secret of areas and a beautiful woman I had just met CAREFULLY STUDIED IT. She could draw my butthole from memory! Later that night, as she lay in bed replaying her day, she might think about my butthole. Over lunch, with another beautiful young doctor, she may say “I saw the weirdest butthole today.” Maybe the girl I’d had sex with had been unsatisfied and hired an actress to dress up as a doctor and shame me. THESE WERE ALL POSSIBILITIES.
The third place I visited that day was a clinic where they drew a vial of my blood. They sent me a letter a week later that said “Congratulations! You do not have AIDS.”
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