Here I am. A divorcee looking for love and, on the way, having a bit of rumpy pumpy and how's your father. What could possibly go wrong?
I've been seeing this guy (Billy*) for a little while. To be honest, I'm not sure he's right for me in lots of ways. But he's very, very, VERY keen on bed action. If you know what I mean.
Don't get me wrong. I like bed action. I'm a fan. I'm not bad at it...I've seen the films, I know what I'm supposed to do. So when Billy has suggested giving it some, I've not been shy. I've given it a good go.
But here's the thing. Although I'd remembered about the pregnancy thing (which as you know, is etched on every woman's very soul with a sharp pointy thing) I'd sort of forgotten about STIs. Yes - when a partner sneezes on all your downstairs parts and gives you... a disease.
So here I am, with a guy who's been dating for SIX YEARS, who's keen on sex. And I'd sort of not remembered, or hidden behind a bookcase, or something, that he may well be riddled with stuff. Stuff that involves, at the very least, a greenish discharge.
And lo! Two days later, the itch began. Like scattering cayenne pepper all over your lady bits, and smearing Philadelphia in the creases. Shit, fuck and all other curses - has he given me the clap? Have I finally, aged 44, got a sodding sexually transmitted infection?
So now, of course, I'm on Google in a frenzy, finding out what it means, how it can be cured, will I die from it (or go blind, or mad... or am I getting it confused with syphilis (yes)) and, most of all, should I be washing the towels/washing my hands/ disinfecting everything within reach so I don't accidentally infect my kids and the cat?
(As is now apparent, I know very little about STIs.)
An appointment with the lady doc was made. But in the meantime, what would I say to Billy? Erm... either I've been mistakenly using sandpaper for Andrex or - perhaps you should get yourself checked out? You've given me the clap, you bastard, and I'm never seeing you again? Fuck off, you fucking fucker?
In the event, I waited. I didn't want to go throwing round accusations that are based on the knowledge I picked up in sex education classes, aged 12. But obviously, I blamed him, and phone calls have been spent with me doing a lot of silent swearing. And sulking.
Anyway, off I go to the docs.(By the way, I had my smear test last week, so this was the second leg-flopping appointment in seven days. Jeez.) I love lady GPs. They're matter-of-factness immediately makes you think that this is the most normal thing in the world. Lying on a doctor's bed on scratchy paper, feet together, knees apart, speculum up your jacksy. chatting about the weather, or being gently reprimanded for not using a condom, or the state of the NHS.
My GP has one look at my lady parts and almost wretches. At least, that's what I see. "Christ! That's a severe case of thrush!"
I didn't care that I was leaking cheese - I could have kissed her. Thrush? Something that can be cured with a pill and some cream? I felt like running round the waiting room with no bottoms on shouting, "IT'S OK! I'M CLEAN!" and pointing to my front bottom. In sheer elation.
So it wasn't Billy's fault. It was my cycling/winter clothes/not enough sleep/being run down or something. Lovely GP said it could be triggered by too much sex. Just something that tips you out of balance. We've probably all had thrush at some point - we all know the triggers.
But the whole episode has made me think bloody carefully about the risk of STIs. Billy refuses to wear a condom.
Perhaps I should refuse him?
Stay safe. More info here:
http://www.sti.health.gov.au/internet/sti/publishing.nsf (the Ozzies are better at this sort of thing than us)
*not called Billy at all.