My wife needs a medical test that will involve her being naked in unflattering positions in front of another person, possibly male. I know she won't enjoy this and it certainly isn't sexual, but I want her to request a female gynecologist. She says she's embarrassed to do that, refuses to be controlled by me, and says having a male doctor doesn't bother her. Well, it bothers me terribly. I'm fairly young and not religious, but I was taught that a couple's bedroom — what happens there, their nude bodies, etc. — is for them alone. I'm not insecure, and I know she isn't leaving me, but I strongly feel that her being seen naked by a male practitioner violates the sanctity and intimacy of our marriage, and I can't help but feel like it's cheating. — Distressed
It's pretty hard to confuse an exam room with a singles bar — unless the singles bars you've experienced have men leaning over and asking women, "So ... when was your last period?" and "Do you leak urine?"
Cheating involves having a romance with a person other than your partner, not having him give you a Pap smear. Also, male doctors generally have a female nurse present while examining a female patient (so they won't be accused of any funny business). There will be that rare Dr. Pervo, but according to doctors I spoke to, by week two of their residency, bodies might as well be giant steaks. So, for a male doctor, your wife's "special area" is anything but special; it's the seventh vagina he's seen before lunch.
Stamping your feet and denying the obvious — that there's a vast difference between medical touch and sexual touch — helps you manipulate your wife with this ridiculous notion that she "violates the sanctity" of your marriage by getting a male doctor in rotation. So, according to you, what's special about your marriage is just that since you tied the knot, no other man has been assigned to see your wife naked (in a setting more in keeping with performing an autopsy than staging a seduction). Take your "logic" a step further and your wife is two-timing you by even speaking to people who aren't you, and never mind that she isn't exactly revealing her deepest hopes, dreams and fears to some man in line behind her at the mall.
People in loving relationships will often accommodate their partner's ridiculous requests simply to make them happy. Your wife might've been more willing to do that if only you'd appealed to her sympathy instead of demanding that she do all the changing while you lift nary a brain cell to consider whether your position might be unreasonable. (Refusing to even consider another person's point of view generally causes them to cling even more firmly to it.) Of course, if only you'd look at this through reason-colored glasses, you'd probably acknowledge the reality: If somebody does come between you and your wife, it's unlikely to happen while she's upset, afraid, and grossed out during a medical test. And give doctors a little credit. If you're a doctor, a woman will take her pants off for you because you drive a sports car. There's really no need to come up with some ploy about scraping her cervix for cancerous cells.
Bed, bath and beyond disappointing
For Valentine's Day, my boyfriend of two months gave me a gift basket of smelly lotions and shaped soaps. Not my kind of thing, but even more not my thing because I recognized it as a regift of something somebody gave his mom. When I met his parents, this basket was in his mom's bathroom. He's seemed sweet so far, but maybe this gift says he's just using me. — Overscented
Ideally, if you're surprised on Valentine's Day, it isn't because your boyfriend's given you that gift that says he cares enough to look under his mom's bathroom sink and see what's still in the package. (Good thing she'd already cracked into that gallon jug of toilet bowl cleaner.) There are several possible explanations for his gift: A. He doesn't care. B. He doesn't have a clue. C. He does care, but Valentine's Day popped up early in the relationship, and he went back and forth on how much lovey-dovey to express — until he ended up at the last-minute gift counter in his mom's bathroom. Give him the gift of time. Paying attention to how he treats you over the next few months will tell you whether he's caring and maybe clueless or whether all he cared about was placating you with whatever gifting roadkill he came upon. You can't train a guy to adore you. A woman can work with caring and clueless — although when her birthday rolls around, she may find herself doing it from behind the wheel of his mom's almost-new car.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle To Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society.