The blogging ranks are regularly pressed by readers for advice. Those posting on the Paris Blog get emails asking for travel tips. Catherine Sanderson gets ten-page recaps ending with "so, do you think I should leave him?"
This is what I get:
HiIn France do women having gyn exams have to take off all of their clothes at the start of the exam with no gown or drapes provided by the doctor?Thanks(name withheld to protect the vagina)
Here's what to expect when you go for ze Exam:
Doc - Mme Blagueur? [offers ungloved warm hand] Please follow me.
You - Bonjour! [sits in chair at office desk] I am here for my annual poke.
Doc - Congratulations. Now take your clothes off [indicates table and returns to typing].
You - What here? Yes? Erm... [stands, removes everything south of waist, drapes clothes hastily over office chair while hiding bits behind computer monitor].
Doc - The top, too.
You - Even the bra?!!
Doc - Your bra cannot save you, American.
You - I see...
Doc - Let's begin. Do you mind if I smoke?
So that's mostly how it happens. After parting your red sea, the doc will ask you to replace your pants behind the monitor while she types something into her records/blog. There will be a quick exchange of insurance cards or, if you're paying in cash, 28€.
As unnatural as that might sound to Americans, let's consider the reverse situation. I have a French friend who was living abroad and went in for her annual inspection at a Chicago teaching hospital. She was led by a nurse to the exam room, handed something that looked like a napkin, and told "the doctor will be with you shortly."
Now, an American knows that this napkin is actually a paper dress that opens at the front. It ties at the neck and protects her dignity.
Caroline, of course, knew nothing of this. And so the young American doctor, when he returned after a suitable interval, found a very hot French woman sitting buck naked on the table, a paper gown in her hand.
"Bonjour!"The take home message: it is important, when traveling abroad, to know when to take your clothes off. Local bloggers are an excellent source of advice in these matters. Be advised, however, that we may use you as material.
To the terrified reader who sent in this question: an apéro before the exam always helps. Bon courage!