While I have never actually read Emily Post’s book of etiquette, something tells me that there is not a section that specifically addresses how to react when you see your gynecologist in Target. Without clear guidance on the topic, ladies have to wing it.
I work in a smallish sized town of about 62,000 people. I have been in practice for 7 years and have delivered over 1000 babies. I can’t go to Target without seeing at least 3 people I know. Make that 10 people, if I am wearing Yoga pants and no makeup.
When I see a patient at the store there are various responses:
This patient will see me from a distance, her eyes will light up and she will immediately race over to see me. As she’s racing past the motor oil to reach me, I rack my brain to remember some detail about her. Hopefully I can remember who she is, but rarely her actual name.
She will exuberantly proclaim how I have improved her life by fixing her most recent gynecologic problem. Then after a couple of minutes she will ask, “Thanks for curing my cramps, but now I’m having this discharge that’s kind of green and chunky, what could that be?”
Now usually my kids are in the cart, so I have to answer the question the best I can, without scarring my 8 year old for life.
2. The horrified
The horrified patient will see me from across the aisle. Our eyes will meet. I will smile and say hello. Her eyes will get as big as saucers. She will then awkwardly dart to the nearest isle, even if it’s the adult diaper section. She would rather be there, than to see her gynecologist in public. She will never mention this encounter to anyone.
Please note, horrified patient, that I see AT least 35 vaginas a day. I do not remember what yours looks like.
The normal patient will treat me like a regular person. Say hello, with a smile, maybe make small talk and be on her way, as you would with any acquaintance. They will be kind enough not to judge me on my screaming 2 years old or disheveled hair. If they are really awesome they will introduce themselves to my husband and kids, so I won’t have to guess their name.
There you have it Ms. Post, feel free to add #3 to your next book of etiquette. Yes, just treat me like a regular person. Don’t run and hide, but don’t ask me about your nether regions in public either.
What would you do if you saw your OB/GYN in public?