It’s quite probable that if you have accidentally married a gay man you will at some point have to get yourself down to the GU clinic and stop pretending you have cystitis. The GU clinic should not be confused with the Gü clinic.
In the olden days only Samuel Pepys, prostitutes and sailors really got venereal disease. This meant that the clap clinic was hidden away rather like the things in the cupboard under the stairs, or Wolverhampton. These days, anyone can have a sexually transmitted disease and so clinics are friendly places with pictures of Chlamydia. Middle aged people will be surprised to learn that this is not, as they had thought, a variegated hardy perennial.
The waiting room at the GU clinic will be full of teenagers who seem unaffected by their surroundings. One couple I met had matching tattoos but didn’t actually speak to each other on account of both being busy with their phones (I’ve got herpes LOL!!!) but I think the fact that she was sitting on his lap indicated a certain closeness so surely there is hope for society if couples attend the clap clinic together. The people who look less comfortable are the middle aged women (specifically: woman): these women will find the GU clinic mortifying but can use their time there to think seriously about life and all its little surprises. It is possible to use a false name but you would find it useful beforehand to know what name your husband actually used. Anonymity is a good thing if you want to avoid receiving unsolicited mailings about gonorrhoea, but a bad thing if the staff try to find out which name your husband used so that they can triangulate reports. The nice woman on reception who looks as if she has seen most things and declared them all unpalatable suggested to me “Mother’s maiden name? Names of pets? Favourite singer?” and although I thought it unlikely my husband had checked in at the clap clinic under Fluffy Muldoon we gave it a go, along with all the members of Steps. There was a Fluffy Muldoon but as she was 18 and a woman, we guessed that there are some things you simply can’t lie about.
You will be able to read many leaflets about HIV and AIDS and, oddly, dementia. I imagine this is because at lunchtime they switch the clinic function, turn around all the posters and replace the box of free condoms with some gingko biloba.
The staff will be very professional but relaxed, matter of fact and kind. In an ideal world they would also be ugly with considerable physical flaws but unfortunately your doctor will be attractive, tall, gentle, and utterly incomprehensible (“You use protection when relations are presenting?”) – and yet reassuringly philosophical (“What is reason?” “What is husband?”)
You will be asked to give a nice concentrated sample of your urine and therefore you may not go to the toilet for two hours before your consultation. Luckily my nurse took pity on me smuggled me into the toilet, suggested that I wee in a cup, hide it under the windowsill, and when asked later to produce it, warm it up a bit and pretend it was fresh. I imagine this is what Lance Armstrong would have gone through. Sadly that day the last patient who had gone to the toilet misunderstood all of this and just urinated under the window sill.
The consultation is a full and frank discussion of your sexual behaviour over the past twenty years. This will include everything you can imagine, and you will be surprised at how far your imagination can extend when prompted. Luckily the doctor will make you feel very relaxed while he is asking you this, but you will find it much easier to put a bag over your head rather than look at him. If you think you don’t have anything particularly interesting to share you will be pleased/horrified to learn that if you need to calculate the number of partners you have had you simply add the number of men you have slept with in the last twenty years and add it to the number of partners your husband has had. You will probably end up with a number ending in 1. If your husband has been coy and has suggested it is only a handful, you should assume that this is less a formula and more of a method. You must always multiply the number your husband claims by the number of times he tugs his ear lobe while he is telling you this. Using this calculation, the doctor will tell you that each time your husband has a partner, you can claim that one for yourself too.
Most women will know exactly what to expect from an internal examination as this involves mainly insertion and extraction. At this point the staff at the clinic will be under the impression that a tsunami has recently swept away your family, but the nice nurse who will oversee your urine smuggling will ensure that you are unable to maintain the foetal position. If you are unsure about the entire procedure you will be given a card in the waiting room detailing all of the tests. You are given plenty of time to read this. Once you have finished you will be cheered to see under “What to expect if you are a man” the words “The examination for a man is a lot simpler”