Leaving home for University is an interesting time.  I took it reasonably seriously.

And I was hopeful.

I decided to go on the pill.  Clearly, being a new grown up, I needed to act responsibly. At some point I was bound to get lucky.

I dutifully registered with the University medical centre, made my appointment and presented myself at the appropriate date and time.

Never having used ‘proper’ contraception, I had no idea what to expect.  In fact, it was only whilst sitting in the waiting room that I began to imagine my consultation.  Would the doctor ask difficult questions?  Perhaps she might consider me too young.  Or ineligible on the grounds that I didn’t have a boyfriend and wasn’t in a serious relationship. Would she want to examine me?  What kind of examination might that be?

OMG!  She might want to look DOWN THERE!!

And the Big Pants that my mother bought – which I was now sporting – probably wouldn’t pass muster.  She’d take one look and laugh me out of the surgery.  Who did I think I was? Mata Hari?

On the verge of flight,  the Receptionist called my name, indicating the direction of Dr Janus’ door.

Naturally, despite my new found reservations, I did as bid.  Rude not to.  Not to mention, a complete waste of valuable doctor’s time.

You can imagine my surprise and horror when I entered the consulting room, only to be met by a tall, bronzed, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Adonis. It had never occurred to me that the doctor might be MALE!  Worse.  Only a bit older than me.

“Good afternoon,” he said, in a deep mid-Australian drawl, rising to welcome me and pulling out a chair to sit in,  “Richard Janus.  How can I help you?”  He smiled warmly and broadly, his eyes twinkling with beguiling mischief.

I blinked blindly at his tousled hair.  Surfer-dude body.  My mouth went dry.

I melted into the chair, mostly because it was the only thing I could do. Other than run.

“Erm…” I struggled to think of anything remotely credible.  My eyes flew wildly around the room, desperately looking for inspiration and finding none.

“Salt.” I finally ventured, “I think I’m taking too much salt.”  It was pathetic, even to my own ears.

Doctor Richard Janus reacted with a studied, neutral, perplexed expression.  He wasn’t buying it.

“Indeed.” He replied, after a short hiatus.

And then he waited, the chasm opening up between us.  My palms were sweating.

I started to blather. It was one of those out of body moments where consciousness took flight to a nearby shelf whilst my mouth trotted out complete inanities.  My brain screamed at me, “FFS! Get a grip!  He’s a DOCTOR!  He’s done this before!  He’s talked contraception!  Tell him why you’re here!”

By some strange meandering route, I managed to get my monologue to the motive behind this visit.  My brain had already decided that asking for any form of proper contraception was out of the question, just in case it involved an examination. But something more…accessible…was probably the best way forward.

All the time, Adonis sat silently, smiling and nodding as if I was making complete sense.

“So you see, Doctor,” I concluded, “I’m thinking something rubber may be what I’m after.”

Dr Janus nodded once more, this time with more force.

“Yes.  I do find Wellington boots a great detraction from a woman’s sensuality.” he said, as if this was a moot point worth debating.

We exchanged a look.  And laughed.

He turned away to write a prescription.

“I’m so sorry if you think I’m wasting your time.” I blurted.

“No problem.” he replied, not looking up.

He passed me the slip of paper that we both knew I didn’t want and wouldn’t need.  I could buy condoms at the chemist.

And I learned my lesson in Life.  If you want something, don’t obfuscate.  Spit it out, whatever the outcome.

I have been grateful to Dr Richard Janus ever since.


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