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I had my annual physical today with all the bells and whistles. As every woman knows, this is never an experience to be looked forward to. We do it because we're supposed to. We do it because we are all for early detection. We do it because the male nurse at our doctor's office gives us a guilt trip if we miss our annual.

Er, maybe that last bit only applies to me.

James*, the male nurse at my doctor's office, is the guy who weighs and measures everybody before they see the doctor. I really enjoy having a guy know exactly what I really weigh, let me tell you. Since I've been going to this doctor for three or four years now, I've had a few conversations with James, mainly just small talk. Today was no different.

"Hey, you're the one who sings, right?" he asked me.

"That's me," I said.

"Good memory, huh?"

"Yeah," I confirmed, "I'm impressed."

He collected all my vital information, made a little more small talk, and left so the doctor could come in. I had my physical, complete with the paper gown, the little plastic tools, and the cold goopy jelly stuff. When it was all said and done, I got dressed again in the little room. I noticed the single print on the wall depicting an old-fashioned gas station and wondered how on earth that fit with the experience I'd just had.

As I exited the exam room, I heard James call out to me. "Hey, I've got some goodies for you." He handed me some paperwork and I started toward the checkout counter. "I really ought to hear you sing sometime," he said.

Well, it just so happens that I am currently entrenched in a passion play. I'm not only singing in it, I'm directing it, and it's going well, so I'm terribly proud of it. It's like my child or something. I want to whip out pictures and show it to anybody who displays the slightest interest in it.** So I invited James. He got out a pad of paper, of course the type advertising some new brand name drug, and I began eagerly writing down the dates and location.

His next comment made my pen pause mid-word on the paper. "Maybe we could get coffee sometime."

Now that phrase gave me pause. I strolled right into it, yet never saw it coming. Coffee, I thought. Coffee? You know how much I weigh, how tall I am, when my last period was, and all the medications I am currently taking. The doctor just swabbed my cervix with a giant Q-tip, I still have KY jelly between my legs, and you ask me out for coffee?!

I could have said, "No, thank you." I could have told him that my boyfriend is playing Jesus in the play I just invited him to. I could have pointed out that dating patients was probably not the most ideal arrangement. There were any number of responses that would be better than the one I used.

"Hrm. I don't know about that," I said lamely. How I can so blindly walk into situations like this, I have no idea. All I knew is I just had a pap smear and I didn't want anybody inviting me out for coffee.

Am I wrong, or are nurses not supposed to do this sort of thing?

There is a lesson to be learned here! My embarrassment won't be in vain! Men, for the sake of all that is good and holy, consider what is happening in your surroundings before suggesting a date. There are rules for this sort of thing, each of them based on common sense and sensibility. Among them: 1) Don't ask a girl out when her beloved pet just died, 2) Don't ask a girl out when she's trying to argue with you, and 3) Don't ask a girl out when a doctor's just finished sticking things into her private parts.

*not his real name, protecting the innocent, etc., etc.
**SHAMELESS PLUG: For those of you who are from Michigan, you are hereby invited to come see my play!! /msg me for more info. :)

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