“Your test results are in.” Karen from the clinic is calling to confirm that I’m still relatively clean. “You may want to consider using condoms on a regular basis.”
“Actually, I’m considering abstinence.” I inform her.
Insert PREGNANT PAUSE. No pun intended, of course.
“No need to be drastic!” Karen is not the voice of reason, but more like a much needed reality check. “You just need to be safe if you’re going to be having multiple partners.”
“I’m serious.” I’ve never met this woman before and she’s immediately implying that I’m bouncing from bed-to-bed. Worse — she’s decided to counter my attempt at self-inflicted celibacy. “I just think it would be easier for me to regulate what’s going on with my system.”
“System, huh?” I gather sarcasm is Karen’s strong point. In exactly three minutes we’ve played verbal ping pong over mi vida sans sex. I realize I’m up against a bulldog proponent for using proper cootie control. “Look, you can still be active without having to get checked every mon… I mean, year for STDs.”
“Okay,” I’m not conceding just yet. After my recent not-just-a-one-night-stand(s), I’ve been mulling over taking a break from mixing and matching my bodily fluids with the opposite gender for a while. “So you’re telling me that I should go pick up a hundred-pack of condoms from COSTCO.”
Karen lets out a GONE WITH THE WIND worthy sigh. “I just don’t think you should be foolhardy with your health.”
“I really do appreciate your concern for my physical well-being, Karen.” I’m earnest. The irony is — that’s why I’m contemplating this sabbatical from sex. “I’m much more concerned about my mental and emotional health these days.”
Add financial to the mix, too. At $135 for a 45-minute session — weekly therapy costs more than getting tested at the FREE clinic.
“Maybe you just need to find men who respect you enough to use protection during your relationship.” I’m floored. Who IS this woman on the other end of the line? I am definitely Yelp!ing about this clinic. “In the meantime I’m going to schedule you in for another visit in six months. It’s routine.”
“For an HIV follow-up?” Karen’s right. This is getting routine.
Hmmmmm. So is she also correct about a set period (let’s say six weeks to six months) of ABSTINENCE being an unrealistic choice?