He was charming, this pudenda doctor, if you like that kind of thing. He had Dinaric good looks and an easy disposition—immaculately clean, and he even smelled good.
He didn't do a thing for me, but at least he wasn't a pervert.
"Good morning Danielle," he said snapping a pair of latex gloves on. He turned to my mother. "Mrs. Heywood, I'm Doctor Hammond. This is Dani's first exam?"
"Very well. Okay, Danielle," he was looking at a chart, "you are...sixteen years old?"
He did a double take and looked me over like carefully like I was a breeding mare.
"But you look so young," he said at last, "and you've never seen an OB/GYN before?"
"No," I confirmed, crossing my arms across my chest. Not another one.
"But why haven't you," he started and looked at my mother. "Why has she not seen a gynecologist before? She should be well into puberty by now."
"She's never had any female complaints," Mother told him, as if it explained anything.
"Well, nothing we can do about that now. She's here, let's get started."
A heavyset woman in a white smock came in with a paper robe.
"This is Vicki, my nurse; she will be present for the whole procedure. You may stay if you wish, Mrs. Heywood."
Vicki handed me the gown and pointed me to the bathroom.
"You take that robe and go change. Unfortunately, Miss Danielle, you don't have an option, you have to stay."
I'm sure he meant that to break the ice, but it didn't. I scrambled into the bathroom and locked the door.
Believe it or not, wearing a paper dress with no back and nothing on underneath in front of total strangers is only the second most humiliating thing a 'girl' can endure. The most humiliating is taking a shower with a gang of girls who are your age while they are sexually developing and you are not.
The experience has left me quite body conscious and I try not to undress in front of anybody ever. I really do look like a scrawny little girl. I'm skinny, with spindly arms and stick-thin thighs but without the gap between them because my hips never spread.
My eyes are too big and my teeth are too small. In a hospital gown I looked like a third-world refugee, malnourished and sickly. No wonder the doctor was concerned.
When I came back out, they were all waiting, but Doctor Hammond was politely studying the diplomas on his wall. That surprised me. Most people will check out a naked butt, if for no other reason than curiosity. They can't help it. It's not necessarily sexual; my years of sorority showers told me that.
Doctor Hammond went out of his way not to notice.
"Please have a seat," he told me, pointing to an exam table with stirrups. Beside him were scary implements I'd never seen before.
Was that a caulking gun?
"Don't worry," he said, placing his hand gently on my arm to steady me while I crawled up on the table. "I'll explain everything before I do it, and I've warmed all the tools."
Warmed the tools? He saw me tense up.
"You're not gonna change my oil, while you're down there are you?"
"Relax, I've done this hundreds of times." This elicited a giggle from Vicki and a snort from my mom. But I gave him the Look.
He stepped back and raised his hands.
"Take your time. I don't want to rush this. When you're comfortable, let me know."
I squirmed for a few minutes, thinking I'd be comfortable when I was back in my bed.
"I mean comfortable with the table. Are you ready?"
I nodded meekly, but he must've seen me shaking.
"Relax," he repeated and leant in close. He said in a slow whisper "you're safe, I'm gay."
This time I laughed, but he only smiled gently, waiting for me to calm down before touching me.
"Now I'm going to put your feet in the stirrups." His hands were cold under his gloves against my bare thighs, urging me ever so gently into what could only be described as a compromising position. But he did it like he was helping a Grand Duchess mount a Paso Fina.
"Move closer to the edge," he said and turned to his table and donned a head lamp.
I scooted closer to the edge.
If he starts singing "hi ho", I'm gonna kick him in the head.
"Closer." He clicked on his lamp and grabbed the caulking gun. He smeared it with a generous glob of Kentucky Jelly.
I eased closer, but eyed the tool in his hand.
"What are you gonna do with that?"
"Don't worry," he smiled through his mask. "I'm going to insert it and have a look at your cervix. A little closer, please."
I was already on the very edge—my cheeks were hanging off the table. If it wasn't for the stirrups, I'd have already fallen off.
"I can't get any closer."
"There is no such thing," he said, taking a seat at a small stool with a front row seat to my pubis, "as too rich, too skinny, or too close to the edge of the table."
This was hilarious, at least the nurse and my mom thought so. I tried to move closer.
"There you go," he said and leant down to give my privates a good look in his headlamp.
He did another double take.
He set his tool down on the table and gave me the most curious look.
"I'm going to touch you—don't be alarmed."
He fumbled about my vulva, searching in vain for my non-existent vaginal opening. When he failed to find it, he asked the nurse to look.
She was just as confused, and they took my mother aside for a long while, leaving me alone in the stirrups with my ass hanging off into space.
When he came back, it was with an entourage. Two older men and at least five gawking medical students came in and poked around until they were sure there was nothing to poke at.
I was really feeling like a prize sow at the county fair by then, and I'd have gone off my rocker for sure had not Dr. Hammond had the insight to hold my hand throughout the whole ordeal.
Ten minutes later, they were back, my mother looking worried and Dr. Hammond looking awed.
"We are a little concerned," he told me when I was dressed again and sitting at his desk, "with what we've found, Dani. You may have an imperforate hymen, but I don't think that's what this is. I'm going to send you to a specialist in Dallas for more tests and examinations."
He paused to let me take it in, but I was several chapters ahead of him.
"This is all very confusing, but I believe you deserve to know the truth. Your mother agrees."
I wondered if she really did.
"You might have a congenital birth defect, Danielle. You do not appear to have a clitoris or a vagina. This may be a symptom of a rare disorder. If it is, then you will not have a uterus or ovaries. It means that you will not be able to bear children."
Again, a pause for me to catch up.
"Do you understand, Danielle?"
"Oh yes. I've been telling my parents about it since I was twelve."
He looked surprised, but continued.
"The hospital in Dallas will run a battery of tests, and then we will know more. Do you have any questions?"
"Are you sure? Take all the time you need."
It was a relief, for somebody else to agree with me, and I bowed my head and snickered.
"It's okay to cry, Dani."
But I didn't cry—I laughed. It started as a throaty giggle, but developed into an uncontrollable guffaw. In four years, not one person had ever thought to look and see if I was telling the truth.