STD Testing

November, 2019

So we kinda had the talk

Me and my newish girlfriend

We’d been friends for years

But only lovers for a few months

It felt silly

We were spending nearly every waking moment together

Sleeping moments too

There’s no way either of us could have been seeing anyone else

I mean, the logistics alone

But you gotta have the talk anyway

The exclusivity talk

Because it’s the right thing to do

So we checked that box

And it was time to lose the condoms

But for one thing: STD tests

I figured I was fine

But it had been a bit

And I didn’t know what to expect

But I would be willing to put up with nearly anything

If it meant throwing away the condoms

So what I came to find out

Is that my doctor offers two kinds of STD tests

One is for the more-or-less normative folks

And one is let’s say for people who are more


I could have just said

Gimme the full MaGilla!

But instead I asked some sort of stupid question

In return I was treated to a lecture

During which time I learned

That there are at least three different kinds of herpes:

Oral herpes

Genital herpes

And anal herpes

Well that’s all fine and good

But then the doctor told me about butt herpes

Showing up in the mouth

And mouth herpes showing up on the penis

My head was spinning

Just gimme everything you got!

So the doctor hands me a small pile of paraphernalia

Pee in this cup

Spit in that one

All fairly straightforward

But then the doctor pauses

And gives me a serious face

She picks up a clear plastic vial

With a thin green stick inside

On the end of the stick was an innocent

Little white orb

Of what appeared to be soft fabric

Like a cotton swab

But also not like a cotton swab

In several important ways

Have you used one of these before?

She asks me

But I’ve never even seen one of these before

So no

Soon, however, I find out

Via more lecturing

That this is an anal swab

Ya know, to check for:

Mouth herpes in my butt

Genital herpes in my butt

Anal herpes in my butt

(At least they’re where they belong)

And also anything else that might

Be living in my butt

The doctor is nice so she says

I can do this for you

But no

Like a fucking hero

Of course I want to do it myself

So the doctor sends me off

To the bathroom

With my paraphernalia

But she stops me

Do you see this little line?

She was pointing to the ominous vial

With the sickly green monster q-tip

The anal swab

She had my full attention

But I didn’t see a line

Maybe a tiny score

Or perforation

Just make sure to hold the swab above the line

See if I didn’t

The anal swab could break off

And then I’d have a sickly-green monster q-tip end

Stuck up my butt

Chilling with the herpes

The ones that belong there

And also maybe the ones from all the other places

So I venture off to the bathroom

Fortunately I have the whole thing to myself

I lock the door

I unpack all the paraphernalia

I do all the easy stuff

Pee in this cup

Spit in that one

Finally it’s just me

And the sickly-green monster q-tip

I unpack the swab

And hold it inches from my face

Trying hard to find that line

The little line that could mean the difference between

Me having a foreign object stuck up my butt

And just me

So I find the line

And I take hold of the monster q-tip

Above the line

So important to be above the line

I’m holding the green swab so tightly

That my fingernails are starting to turn red

I lower my boxer briefs

And carefully bring the swab to where

I thought it was supposed to go

At this juncture I realize

I have a problem

Because first off

I don’t have a rear-view mirror

So I can’t see a goddamn thing

Secondly: butt cheeks, sphincter, scrotum, anus

Whatever the hell else is down there

It all kinda feels the same

When poking at it

With a giant q-tip

And praying the fucking thing doesn’t break!

But I’m thinking less about that problem

And more about how on god’s green earth

I was going to get this swab up my ass

With one hand on the door handle

And the other clamped down on the swab

Above the line

Always above the line

I squatted down


As some part of my junk

For lack of a better term

Made contact with the cold bathroom floor

A few pokes here

And a few more pokes there

And finally it hurt in just the right kind of way

To alert me that the swab had breached the dam

I’m also pretty sure that I’m bleeding at this point

Which I confirm when

After a few twists

I remove the swab and drop the horror show

Into the clear plastic vial

It would be several more days

Before getting my test results

And no, I don’t have herpes

Not the resident herpes

Nor the traveling ones

And thank my lucky stars

I don’t have anything else

So we threw away the condoms

But that’s another story

Perhaps for another day

That night though

When I first came home

From my STD tests

It was late November

Cold and rainy

I told my newish girlfriend

A similar version of the above story

At the end

Once she finished laughing

She only had one thing to say

It was a question in fact:

They didn’t tell you to dip yours in water first?

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