Many moons ago when I was looking for an eligible match for myself I really thought that a doctor would be most compatible with me. You might ask why. Well, here are a few reasons as to why.
1. I like nerdy guys. There’s just something about nerds that instantly attracts me. If truth be told, I’ve never been an academic person. In fact, if further truth be told, school has been to me as rain has been to girls’ carefully blow-dried hair, that is it dampened and flattened my pouf. So may be because opposites attract, men whom I perceive as geeky and really studious attract me.
2. My dad was a physician. This is all I want to say on this topic. Let’s not get into a Freudian analysis of my hang-up.
3. I always thought that dating and eventually marrying a doctor would be financially very beneficial. I would get medical care for free. In an age when insurance companies determine the family doctor that I can have, I would have my own doctor. I mean can you imagine the possibilities? If this person worked just a little harder on his career he could actually be an all-in-one doctor and cure diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, a broken hip or even perform emergent surgery on a family member if I asked him to. Wouldn’t that be cool? This type of choice of a significant other would ensure timely and cheap healthcare.
4. It’s a good thing socially to be related to a physician in the capacity of their lover or wife. People revere doctors for no reason. I swear, a doctor could be the rudest person on earth but the patient would all but prostrate himself in urgent duty of him. That’s how powerful the respect system is that this profession has crafted around itself. A doctor in Pakistan never has to work for his patients’ love, respect or gratitude. When a doctor enters a room a pneumonia patient stops coughing for fear of giving his germs to the doctor, a stroke patient continues to try unsuccessfully to move his paralyzed arm in honor of the doctor, a patient with an active heart attack sits up on the operating table to pay his due respect to this agent of God. I’ve even heard of some patients delaying their deaths so their doctor could see them and talk to them one last time.
5. I had always craved for people to think that I’m so accomplished that I snagged a doctor. I mean if a doctor marries me it is indirectly an academic success for me. A smart man chooses a worthy woman always.
So I had been looking for a doctor when a friend told me of her cousin who was looking for a girl who could may be complete a home improvement project with him.
Since I knew that this guy was a doctor I immediately became interested and offered up my services. My friend who unfortunately knew me way more than I should’ve ever allowed for her, regarded me with the utmost suspicion. She expressed her surprise at my interest in manual labor when I had been known to avoid showers just because of the premise that they required actually standing for at least ten minutes. I reassured her that my ways had changed and that if responsibility and proprietary had a face in the dictionary, it would be mine.
She was doubtful of my self-proclaimed expertise in matters of home improvement but finally gave up when I called her everyday, sometimes up to ten times a day, to ask if I could help her doctor cousin. And this is how, one fine morning, on a Monday, she and I were ringing the doorbell to a bachelor apartment that her cousin was known to inhabit.
After knocking for ten minutes and losing heart we decided to return. Suddenly the door opened a crack and someone peered at us. My friend announced us and he opened the door more. I could hear a distant subtle crashing of my dreams of finding a handsome doctor but I was prepared for this one. Don’t think that I was so naive that I had expected this guy to be a total looker. May be I wasn’t prepared for the effect his current state was having on me but I was prepared to compromise on his looks for the pedestal that society reserves for wives of doctors. I smiled my brightest smile and he bared his cavity-ridden teeth too. I strictly told the bile rising in my throat to stay put or I’ll have the gall bladder removed at this little physician’s hands. Bile quickly went down into the gall bladder.
He welcomed us in, all the while ogling at me. Finally my friend broke the suspense and told him that I was the interior decorator that he had been waiting for.
Doctor smiled at me. I smiled but panicked a little too. What type of improvement was he expecting for me to perform on this place? This was practically a dump.
Doctor told my friend that he would drop me after I had painted all the walls and cleaned all the windows. What? I looked at my friend for help but saw no help forthcoming. I surrendered to my fate. May be this was God’s idea of a sacrifice before I could get my dream guy.
My friend left leaving me and the doctor alone. He promptly brought out two large paint buckets and asked me to start right away. Now ladies! Stupid as I might look, I knew this was my moment to impress him. Therefore I dutifully picked up the bucket, took a paint brush and started painting the wall with wide strokes.
He screamed. I screamed too. He explained why he screamed. He wanted me to sand the wall a little. He asked me if I had ever painted. I said no. He groaned. I inwardly died a little.
Soon he had some sandpaper in his hand and was showing me how to sand his walls.
“So basically you would understand it more if I used a simple analogy. Sanding a wall before painting is like prepping the body before a surgery. You know how we sterilize the area, apply iodine, scrub for the procedure?”
This geeky talk has always been a huge turn-on for me so you can imagine my immediate love for this half-naked, clad-in-shorts demigod.
“Now just like you would never use a mismatched organ for transplant, you need to match the new paint a little to the paint you’re going to paint over. Get it?”
I nodded excitedly.
“And honestly, a badly done paint job, in my opinion, is like a poorly administered antibiotic. If you don’t prescribe the right one, or you don’t really give it intravenously, you’ll just have to do another course”.
I was feeling quite sage and intelligent by now . Why! This relationship was already adding points to my IQ.
Doctor stopped midway and told me to follow suit.
I took sandpaper and started off too.
All of a sudden, quite abruptly, he turned around and said,
“You’re not expecting any money, are you?”
“No”, I thought to myself, “No money! Just your hand in marriage”.
But to him I said,
“No. Not at all”.
“That’s good. Because I don’t have any”.
He doesn’t have any money. But isn’t he a doctor?
He sensed the unethical questions swirling in my head and said dryly,
“We are on a strike so we can get a pay raise”.
“Hmm”. I didn’t know what to say. This seemed so mature and overwhelming to me that I blurted out.
“Can we eat now?”
He looked at me with narrowed eyes. I was embarrassed to be hungry so soon after starting work but my mom can tell you that as soon as I start any type of domestic work, I either get hungry or have to pee or might even have to sometimes meditate and attend to celestial calls.
He finally shrugged his shoulders and said,
“Okay. But make sure you finish this job today”.
He disappeared into one of the rooms. I was hoping for him to come out with a better outfit so we could go out and have a romantic meal.
Instead he came out with two bowls of noodles. I looked at the bowls in disgust.
“Why, what happened? Do you not eat noodles?”
“Well I don’t think I can eat noodles today. I had some belly pain last night”.
I lied but as soon as the words were out of my mouth I realized that this was a doctor and could easily catch me in my lie.
He squinted at me and asked me to show him my tongue. Feeling self-conscious I opened my mouth wide and stuck my tongue.
“Argh! Did you brush your teeth this morning?” He asked, gagging on the stink of my mouth.
I decided to be truthful.
“Well I was in a hurry and could either do my manicure or brush my teeth. So I decide to manicure my hands”.
He looked at me for a long time and then sighed.
“So what do you want to eat?”
“Well, can’t we go out to eat?”
“Can we have the hot dog that I’ve heard so much about who’s right around the corner?”
“But you just said you had belly pain last night. Are you sure you can eat a hot dog?”
“I know my body”, I replied confidently.
We walked out of his apartment. My heart was overjoyed at being a doctor’s significant other. I mean may be I was not the significant other in the traditional sense but I couldn’t imagine anyone being more significant than me in his life right that minute. Therefore I walked with a certain arrogance in my eyes that I have usually seen in women who are related to doctors in a romantic way.
Soon we were at the hotdog stand and Doctor was screwing his nose at the smell emanating from the hotdog grill.
“Eww! I can’t imagine why anyone would want to eat this. It looks like someone’s liver rolled into a tube”.
I tried to keep my bile down again. Why is he mentioning human organs?
“Ugh! How much cholesterol is in that thing? It looks so chewy and rubbery. And look at the buns he’s using. They look like the skin is flaking off of them. And that sauce, I’m sure I’ve seen better-looking phlegm than the color of that mustard. Why don’t I just go and chew out an animal’s insides for free instead of paying HIM ten bucks for this monstrosity?”
I stood there, miserable at his descriptors and also simultaneously marveling at how enlightened and educated his monologue was, when someone said,
I turned around to find a very thin girl with giant horn-rimmed who was pretty in that I-am-a-human-with-an-IQ-of-200-two-whole-standard-deviations-above-Einstein way.
“Hi Aleena! Wow! Where did you come from?”
“I was visiting my grandmother so came out to get a hotdog”.
Doctor was visibly inching away from me and trying to cozy up to Aleena. They were merely two feet away when I screamed,
“I will eat noodles. I want noodles. I can’t eat this. This is making me puke. Can we go home right now and eat those noodles that you made for ME?”
Aleena stopped smiling. Doctor stopped moving. He turned around,
“I thought you didn’t like noodles”.
“That’s not true. I never said that. I was avoiding them because I had stomach flu last night and you should avoid noodles for twelve hours after a stomach flu. So just a minute ago, I completed twelve hours since my stomach upset and now I’m perfectly healthy to eat noodles”.
Doctor stared at me. Aleena stared harder.
“I’ve never heard of that”, he said finally, scratching his head.
“What? Really? But that’s medicine 101. I’m surprised you don’t know it. What kinda doctor are you?” I said condescendingly.
Finally Aleena made it easier for the both of us,
“Reza! I think you should take your friend back. I’ll get something and head home myself”.
“Friend?”, Doctor spluttered, “She’s not my friend. She’s a……” He looked at me inquiringly then turned to Aleena, “she’s my cousin’s maid. My cousin brought her over to help me with the painting”.
The girl’s eyes were as round as the earth is flat.
“She’s a maid?”
“Yes! My cousin brought her”.
“I’m not a maid”, I argued weakly.
Doctor didn’t hear me and asked the girl,
“Why don’t you come over too? I have another bag of noodles that we could make for you.”
Soon they were skipping ahead of me and all my plans of having a date of delicious albeit questionably cooked noodles were melting in the air above them.
But I’m nothing if not scrappier than this so I decided to hog his attention like nothing else would in that moment,
I screamed and fell flat on my back in the middle of the street with my hand on my stomach.
Doctor and the girl turned around and looked at me, horrified. He came running forward with a concerned expression,
“Hey what happened?”
“I think my stomach flu. It’s acting up again”.
“Oh, man!” He groaned.
The girl suggested,
“May be we should take her to the hospital. Let’s get her checked out”.
I had a momentary vision of needles in my body and before I passed out for real this time , he said,
“That’s not necessary. She just has a stomach flu. Let’s take her home. May be she needs hydration.”
Hydration? What is that? Is that the noun for “hydrate”? Wow! That sounds amazing. I mean, aren’t the beauty companies always telling us that hydration is the one most important thing for us? So is he going to do that most important thing for me? My messiah is going to hydrate me? Before I could get giddier than I was, they both had me in the air, my feet in his hands and my shoulders in her and they were bringing me back to the apartment.
I swooned inwardly. This is the best date in the history of Pakistani first dates. My date had practically picked me up in his arms on our first. Granted, she was holding a part of me too but I was deliberately ignoring her presence because to me she really was someone like the waiter who spoils a perfectly romantic, candle-lit dinner by his ominous presence.
We reached doctor’s place. He laid me on the couch and then fidgeted for a few minutes. Finally he said,
“Okay! Let’s see what we are dealing with here.”
He started to prod and poke me in the belly.
“Does it hurt?”
“Only because you’re pushing in so hard”.
“Hold still! I’m trying to feel your gastrointestinal tract organs”.
“What’s that? Why is it in me? Is that a disease?”
“No, silly!”, the girl came forward laughing, “We all have the gastrointestinal tract. It’s where we digest food and then excrete it in the form of feces”.
Feces? That’s the only word that I know out of all her pointless jargon.
“You know what feces is, right?” Doctor asked me, all the while pushing his hand deeper in the middle of my belly.
I didn’t quite know how my first date with a doctor had degenerated into feces talk but I nodded my head vehemently so they could rest assured that I knew what feces meant and quit this conversation altogether.
Suddenly I could see the glimmer of excitement in Doctor’s eye,
“Hey what’s this?”
Thinking he was finally connecting on a spiritual level with me and had somehow connected to my romantic vibes through my stomach, I leaned into him and said,
“Did you find out something?”
He shushed me with a loud shush and asked the girl to come forward.
“Aleena! Palpate her here. Yes right here! Deeper! Do you feel anything?”
Aleena, who I’m sure was harboring the same bad feelings for me as I was for her, pushed in even harder.
“Yikes! I felt it too. What could it be? What is it? Any idea?”
Doctor turned to me solemnly and asked,
“Can you be truthful?”
Oh my god! Has he found out about my feelings through my stomach? I mean I wouldn’t put it past medical science to know what we are feeling by just feeling our pulse. And this guy had surely felt more than my pulse. Didn’t he say he had felt my….. what was it……. yeah the feces tract?
I answered with a coy move of my eyelashes,
“Are you sure you won’t feel shy or embarrassed about it?”
Why wasn’t he killing the suspense already? Why was he dragging this out? I couldn’t bear it any longer.
“I promise you I’ll be as truthful as you want me to be”, I said breathlessly, batting my eyelashes.
“When was the last time you had a bowel movement?”
What? When was the last time I had what?
I looked at the girl for help but she was looking at me with an expression of sternness and sympathy mixed with interest.
Watching my bewilderment, Doctor cleared his throat and decided to rephrase his question,
“When was the last time you went to the bathroom?”
“Oh. Bathroom? Haha. Why did you call it that other weird name then? This morning”.
“Okay. So you had a bowel movement this morning?”
What is this bowel movement?
“Well! I went to brush my teeth if that’s what you want to know”.
“But I thought you didn’t brush your teeth because you only had enough time for a manicure”.
Oh gosh! Why did I open my mouth earlier, literally? Now he knew all my secrets.
“Well, then you could say I went to the bathroom for a manicure because that’s where my manicure set is too”.
“Okay okay! But I want to know if you made a bowel movement?”
Now I had to ask what this Morse code was that he was speaking in.
“What’s a bowel movement? Is it like when you like someone very much and want to go out with them? Is that what you’re asking when I had the last time? But why would you mention the bathroom? But to answer your question, I’ve never felt like this for anyone before. I mean, even though we’ve just met I can’t imagine being away from you anymore. You mesmerize me with your medical talk. Just the way you touch my belly is enough to make butterflies rise and flutter in there. I can’t tell you how much your company means to me. This whole experience has been amazing and soul-enriching…..”
I trailed off with wistfulness, hope and longing in my eyes and voice. I realized Doctor and girl were whispering and hadn’t heard a word I had said.
“What are you guys whispering about?
“Wait! Let us discuss your case.”
“No! No! I wanna hear too. What are you guys discussing?”
Doctor came forward.
“Listen! You really don’t remember when your last bowel movement was?”
I now understood that what he meant by my bowel movement was likely a subtle reference to my last love affair. Or the last time I had movement in my heart for another man. But what’s bowel?
“Reza!”, Girl came forward, “is it possible that she has never had one if she doesn’t even remember it?”
Yes! Yes! I’ve never had another love affair, I wanted to scream.
“Don’t be silly, Aleena! How could she have never had one. I’m thinking she hasn’t had one in a long time”.
“No”, I shriek before Doctor thinks I should have a red A plastered on my breast, “I’ve never had one. I swear on my dearest things. I’ve never had a bowel movement”.
They looked like they’d seen an alien. And I guess I could be an alien. In a time when girls and boys are so forward and usually polyamorous and polygamous, I consider myself a rare commodity.
They started whispering again but this time I didn’t interrupt them. I just laid there smirking.
Finally Doctor said,
“You know you’d be a medical miracle if what you say is true. But then, how do you live? Isn’t it……..painful?”
Ah, Doctor! You have no idea how painful it is to live without you.
“Of course it is. But I’m just waiting for the right time and the right person”.
“The right person?” Doctor looked utterly nonplussed. Then he ventured,
“Do you have coprophilia?”
I didn’t know what the heck that word meant but something in the excitement of his delivery of that word told me that I must agree. I nodded my head excitedly.
Doctor and Girl looked at each other, almost awe-inspired.
“Aleena! They really exist”.
“That’s what I’m thinking, Reza”.
Doctor turned towards me and continued to size me up (as his lover I thought) and finally said,
“But you should really get rid of it now. I felt your belly and it’s a lot of it there now. You could easily have an intestinal obstruction due to it”.
What is he talking about? He could feel my love for him in my belly? Isn’t he amazing? Now that’s what I would call a complete doctor.
“But I don’t want to”.
“But aren’t you worried about your health?”
I was starting to feel feverish over his concern for my health.
“No. I don’t care about my health if that’s what it means to have my heart’s desire”.
“Listen! I know that you have an unnatural attachment to it. That’s part of your diagnosis. But if I were your physician I would urge you to get rid of it as soon as possible. And I would help you to do that”.
I couldn’t believe he was finally coming around. My abysmally disappointing first date was suddenly becoming a success. He could have Girl who looked like a medical student but he was choosing to have me. I couldn’t believe the glory of this moment.
“Would you? How?”, I asked him breathlessly.
“Well, I’d start off with an enema of course. Then a gentle laxative. And if that didn’t work, we might have to send you to the operating room for a manual disimpaction. Sometimes we need you to get admitted to the hospital for that”.
I couldn’t understand a word of it so continued to smile at him blandly.
“Sure, sure. I’m okay with that. But why do we need to go to the operating room? Is that your code for”, I leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, “a restaurant?”
“A restaurant? No way! The last thing you need is more food in that giant colon of yours. Aren’t you disgusted with yourself enough already? How could you do that to your body? This is like abusing your body. I’m embarrassed for you. Don’t you want to go to the bathroom like normal people and have normal bowel movements ?”
Go to the bathroom?
“What are you talking about and what is a bowel movement?” I finally asked him.
“What am I talking about? I’m talking about your bowel movements. Your bathroom habits. Making feces and flushing it down the drain. Relieving yourself of the waste that your body produces. The process of digestion and assimilation and finally excretion of food. I’m talking about keeping your body healthy by getting rid of the turds that I felt in your rectum. Do you know you have a giant load there?”
Feces? Turds in my rectum? A giant load? Finally the meaning of bowel movements?
Well, I think we can all say that my date with Doctor effectively ended there. The details that ensued are largely about him explaining with the help of an anatomy atlas what the process of digestion entails. He also continued to pound on his assumption of me as a person who was in love with her own feces and may even fantasize about it sexually and therefore his counseling regarding the risks of bowel perforation with practicing coprophilia. And finally, him bringing out an enema, showing me how to use it and asking me to demonstrate if I had learned how to use it.
I’m sure you’re not interested in a play by play of those details. Well, this experience hasn’t deterred me in the least. In fact I feel more prepared to date doctors now. I have learned a few new medical terms and have actually dated a doctor if someone asks me in the future regarding what my experience has been with doctors. So, onwards and upwards from here, I say.