“Have you or your partners shared needles?”
“Have any of your partners ever been incarcerated or in the system?”
I’m sitting in the intake office, and up until this point my rather handsome male nurse has been slightly flirting with me. I guess that’s the perk of being a male nurse at the Planned Parenthood office: you get to flirt with slutty chicks like me while also assessing a sexual risk. However, as we going through the motions of the usual “how slutty are you really” questions, I noticed that the above question is a new one. The last time I was here was six months ago (because I’m responsible like that!), and they definitely didn’t ask me that one last time.
“Yes,” I respond, after which the flirtatious dynamic between me and the nurse seems to die down a bit. I can kind of feel the “oh, you’re one of those kinds of girls” thought float through his head, to which I want to jump up and scream, “Real bitches only!” But this is neither the time nor the place to verify my ‘ride or die’ status, so I stay sitting calmly in my chair and wondering why they added this new question. I mean, I get it: seeing as our society funnels young men and color in and out of the system for a profit, addressing its sexual affect on young women is likewise pertinent. Which makes me want to say to the nurse with whom I had been flirting just moments earlier, “Look, this is Oakland. We have all fucked someone who has been incarcerated.” My personal sexual experiences with men who have been in the system is not limited to just one, and the reasons they have been in the system include drugs, vandalism, general violence, political activism and grand theft auto. You know: the fun stuff. But I guess what’s interesting is knowing that our society is designed to keep men of color impoverished and pushed towards a life of crime, which makes it impossible to assimilate into normal society, and therefore some clever motherfucker figured out that he can make a profit off of sending these guys to prison. And prison is a hot bed of disease and abuse, which is why Planned Parenthood needs to know if I, a (mostly) law abiding citizen, is at risk for dealing with the ramifications of the American prison system.
“Oh, okay, well, we’re going to have to test you for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV then,” he says.
I smile, and he leaves the room, and then I am sitting there, thinking about all the wonderful criminals I have fucked and how much I miss fucking them.