Oyster Boy Review 08  
  January 1998
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» Levee 67


Madame Celibate at the STD Clinic

Laurel Speer

You'll have to excuse me. I'm just a visitor here. But I can't help noticing while you're sitting around on blue vinyl chairs with plastic frames worrying about lesions on your privates looking at daytime TV, that nobody is reading the brochures outlining 700 ways you can destroy your lives.

Let's see. There're chlamydia, genital warts, NGU, vaginitis, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, syphilis, crabs, herpes, and of course the big one for eventual snuffing out: HIV/AIDS. Ample descriptions and methods of prevention are outlined in boldface. Watch for: discharge or bleeding from the vagina, burning or pain when you urinate (pee), itching or burning around the sex organs, blisters, diarrhea, all spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Unpleasant.

Instead of studying these lists punctuated by alarming red dots, you're fingering earrings, clustering around Coke, Pepsi and chip & snack machines feeding quarters, scuffing boots and tennis shoes against large vinyl tiles, waiting for your number. You did take a number, the same kind hanging on hooks at bakeries and post offices?

I myself have brought my lunch in a sack and book: Diary of A Survivor: Nineteen Years In A Cuban Woman's Prison. Dearly beloveds, we're gathered together here this afternoon in February fingering our beads and crotches on a Freeway Frontage Rd. clustered among more reasonable (cheaper) Tucson motels off I-10.

For a $5 fee and 3-hour wait with an Oasis drinking fountain in the corner—free—to cool your parched and probably lesion-marked throats.

There's no talking in this room, only occasional murmurs between couples. Abstention doesn't seem to be an idea that caught on.