Most people feel pressure from their mother to find their perfect match. For me it was my gynaeocologist. I’ve been going to the same one for years now and she’s fantastic at her job. Just a bit pushy. And I don’t mean ‘down there’.
Every check-up she would fire the same question: ‘So are you having regular sex at the moment?’ And every time I would sheepishly mutter something about not being in a relationship and still getting over my ex. In other words lurching from one inappropriate fling to the next in a sort of ‘sleeping around’ irregular kind of way. Not something you want to admit to your gynaecologist.
‘Oh you girls,’ she would always say. ‘That relationship ended years ago, move on!’
Then I would explain how there were no nice men left and I preferred to be single anyway. Which would be met with silence, an eye roll and a pap test.
Whenever my mother tried to discuss my lack of relationship, I would scream that ‘there were worse things in life than being single!’ and she would change the subject and pop on the kettle.
But my gynaeocologist was different. Tough, honest, unrelenting. Great qualities for a doctor specialising in women’s health but unnerving when you’re on the receiving end and haven’t done your homework.
I didn’t want her to think I was a complete loser so I avoided the whole issue altogether. Check-up reminders arrived but went straight in the bin until I realised I’d better get some regular sex and fast. Finally I started seeing a guy for longer than two weeks so I promptly booked an appointment. And when the question came I could hardly contain my excitement. ‘Yes, yes, YES,’ I said a little too loudly. ‘I met a guy and we’re having REGULAR SEX!’
She stopped and looked up. It’s not often you can surprise a gynaeoclogist but it’s satisfying when you do. Suddenly we had something of interest to discuss. Something different. Something new. Like birth control. Which lasted for a while but then she wanted more. She started showing me hideous charts displaying the gradual dissipation of a woman’s fertility as she approaches 40. And older than that, well apparently it’s a bit like ‘a 60 year-old man with a triple bypass trying to climb a mountain’! Too bad if you didn’t manage to meet the right person in your 20s and you wanted to travel, study, pursue a career or just hang out. Nature doesn’t care.
Fortunately I stopped seeing that guy. Not so much because he was completely wrong for me but because I didn’t want to hear any more frightening facts and figures about how I should have started breeding at 22 despite the fact I was blissfully living in Paris studying acting and acquiring fabulous life experience.
Eventually I did find someone who has stuck around. My gynaeocologist was delighted with my choice. In fact I think she likes him more than she likes me.
I never thought I would get married. Neither did my mother. But here I am. A husband and two beautiful daughters. I would like to think I arrived at the inevitable conclusion that bad boys are so-called for a reason and don’t make great boyfriends. But the credit has to go to my bossy gynaeocologist whose ‘take no prisoners’ attitude was doing little for my self-esteem. If it meant finding a lovely and potentially lifelong relationship just to get her off my back (and continue with necessary check-ups), it was a small and actually quite a pleasant price to pay.