Thursday, January 03, 2008

Come into the garden, Maud

It's been interesting being upfront about my grown up UTI. When I was a child my teachers were more embarrassed than I was about my special toilet paper and special need to go to the water fountain. Special needs were something to be ashamed of. Some of that rubbed off on my young adult self, but not that much: I could tell you which of my friends had an STD, an eating disorder, a spotty back, or an unplanned pregnancy in their late teens (not that I *would* tell you, of course) -- nobody advertised these things, but you needed someone to bear witness to them. A problem shared really was a problem halved, so long as you chose the right person to share it with.

But something happens as you get older. Maybe it's that you feel the things that go wrong with your body or your life are more your own fault, maybe it's that we retreat into couples and talking outside that feels disloyal or inappropriate, maybe we just embarrass more easily at signs of our own flaws or fallibility.

I don't know what it is. But I decided not to make a secret of the reason I was so Very Pissed Off over New Year, and it was a great decision. I have had a tremendous outpouring of sympathy and empathy (mostly, but not exclusively, from women), plus some interesting prophylactic advice.

And if you give, you get. I had a hilarious exchange today with a friend who first offered urinary tract solidarity, and then asked for my opinion on bikini line management, prompted by the fact that hers is receiving close attention for the first time in a while.

It depends what you're dealing with, I said. And what he expects to be dealing with -- I know mores change on these things, that's why I go out with someone from the 1970s. No, he's cool, she said, he's at the Capability Brown end of the spectrum rather than the Zen garden end. But there are limits. We're talking rainforest here.

Fair enough, I said, and offered the phone number of the lovely E, who for the last 10 years has been in charge of removing what body hair I ask to be removed while diplomatically passing no comment on the rest.

But I was very taken with the idea of Capability Brown pubic hair. Seemingly natural but in fact carefully designed. I shall pretend that's what I'm up to from now on.



Blogger tomato said...

great :-) thanks for making me smile on a really annoying day.

The careful design of natural - - that's exactly what a city parks ranger once told me her job was all about....who knew it extends from public to pubic spaces too - funny.

3:39 pm  

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