My exercise class was about to begin when I got the email from the HuffPost blog team letting me know that my article was published (5 Things People Ask When They Find Out I’m Married To A Gynecologist). I spent the next 45 minutes wildly swinging weights and enjoying a naturally elevated heart rate. Who knew that hysteric euphoria can enhance your exercise routine? I bolted 15 minutes early. It’s not every day that a girl becomes a HuffPost blogger, and yeah, I worked hard to get there. I stormed into my kitchen while dialing my magnificent friend and sister-in-writing, Mary Novaria, vaguely aware that it was only 7am in Los Angeles.
“I can’t find the article in Healthy Living,” I whined.
“It’s not in Healthy Living,” Mary said. “It’s on the FRONT PAGE!”
I hit the floor. When I came to, I had a ton of emails, texts and calls to answer. Two emails were from editors, requesting permission to run the story on their websites. I granted permission, but asked that they include a byline stating that the story was first published in HuffPost. While my blogger guidelines permit me to post the story elsewhere, I felt it was the right thing to do. HuffPost deserves credit. HuffPost in Italy then shocked me by publishing the story, and swiftly inviting me to become a regular blogger, but because they weren’t paying for my new villa in Tuscany and I don’t speak Italian, I stayed in Pittsburgh.
Lesson #1: When a story runs in the HuffPost, many editors clamor to republish it on their own sites, with permission and a byline. I found this super exciting until I spent the next week sending emails to remind certain editors that the byline was a condition for publishing, that I did not give permission for the content to be edited and that I didn’t know the photo would be changed. I learned that sometimes “conditional permission” and “free-for-all” are synonymous. A copyright attorney friend offered to help with some cease and desist emails. C’est La Vie. You live and learn.
The day after publication, HuffPost streamed the story on their Facebook feed. I was thrilled, even as I learned Lesson #2: People will comment and fight with each other about anything. There were hundreds of comments on the HuffPost FB feed, but my favorite was being personally called “an open vagina.” That’s a new twist on “open book.” The comments ranged from rational to ridiculous:
“The best OB-GYN I ever had was a male! Partly because he was a great doctor, partly because he had a hilarious sense of humor, but mostly: he could explain to my (now ex) husband what was going on. Made some sensitive issues much less awkward.”
“No woman has ever woken up and said “boy my vagina looks radiant today, I think I’m gonna go see my gynecologist.'”
And then there was this comment, that sparked a 48 reply debate: “Any man who wants to be a Gynecologist is a perv IMO and I don’t care what anyone says. They don’t HAVE female parts, and no matter how much they study them, they’re never going to actually understand what women go through.” The replies to this one included, “I hope you’re not this stupid in real life,” “Do you have to have a tumor to be an oncologist,” and “I went to a Georgia O’Keeffe art gallery once…do I have to register as a sex offender now?”
And: “Why is it the male dr who is the perv??? How about the female patient being the perv. Ever think that maybe she is secretly enjoying the dr digging down below?”
I had no idea that writing an article about gynecology would ignite such inflammatory reactions.
And I have to say something to the woman who wrote this: “God bless gynecologists.You couldn’t pay me to look at stinky vaginas all day. Gross.” Stinky? Maybe you should shower.
Lesson #3: Like everything else in life, it’s all about perspective. My dad and sister are both high risk obstetricians. Many of my friends are doctors. I grew up immersed in this field. These are just body parts to me, but I understand that we see stuff through our own personal lens, and this rings true regarding my gynecologist-husband as well. Standing beside the orthodontist’s chair while she tightened my son’s braces, my husband actually said to her, “I can’t believe you put your fingers in people’s mouths all day.” Luckily she’s a close family friend. After she recovered from the shock, she threw him out into the waiting area.
All in all this was one exciting week. I’m already panicked that I will not be able to top the success of this first HuffPost story, but paranoia, neuroses and anxiety serve me well. A reader suggested that I should’ve included a 6th question in my article: “how do his fingers smell at the end of his shift?” This bozo got his ass handed to him in the following exchange of comments:
“How fucking stupid u are!”
“Well usually health professionals tend to wash their hands”
“And use gloves, give me a break!”
“You probably smell like a giant asshole is all I can say.”
“My guess would be they smell like gloves and hand soap.”
“Like latex,you fool.”
And so, my vagina monologue comes to an end.