A sexual health clinic was perhaps not the best place to pick up women,
but Charlie was a firm believer in taking advantage
of every opportunity that came his way. An hour
previously he had entered the
South London day
surgery with incredible sheepishness, whispering his
name to the receptionist and trying to find the most
inconspicuous chair in the waiting room.
His spirits had risen considerably when, in return for filling out a
simple questionnaire, he was given a ten pounds
voucher which could be redeemed at a variety of high
street alcohol retailers. The irony of being
rewarded for his total lack of sexual responsibility
was accented further when he overheard two girls no
older than fifteen planning their evening.
“Wid 'dese vouchers we can go down the offy tonight, get a couple
bottles o wine and a few cans o cider, then go to
tha park and get smashed. I can't wait to see Frank.
I can't believe he thought 'bout messin with that
other gal,” the younger looking of the two said.
Charlie didn't know Frank but he assumed he was in for an interesting
Quickly noticing that he was eaves-dropping on their conversation, both
girls turned proud gazes in his direction so that he
averted his stare. Unable to resist, he looked back
less than thirty seconds later and was surprised to
detect a softened, slightly amorous look to their
As a twenty-four year old trainee lawyer, surely it was beneath him to
reciprocate? But he had already sunk so low. What
did it matter if he advanced further into the depths
of iniquity? He began to detect an indistinct sense
of achievement, a kind of nervous pride, in
travelling closer to his own moral nadir and,
therefore, quickly began to exchange furtive glances
with the teenage girls sat opposite.
Perhaps it was also the fact that fearing he was harbouring Chlamydia,
he figured that he wasn't quite the most attractive
catch, good career prospects or not. Bearing this in
mind, any of the six-form students queuing for the
morning after pill became potential targets.
However, the person most eager with her stare was still the young
looking and garrulous fifteen-year-old who, he had
realised, was almost certainly several months
As the only male in the waiting room, he couldn't claim the same
excuse, so surely everyone knew he was there to be
tested for some kind of sexually transmitted
infection? This epiphany made the volume of
flirtatious looks he was receiving suddenly quite
Fortunately, to save him from further distress, a woman in white called
his name and ushered him into an examination room.
He explained his problem. The slight redness. The constant itch.
Without looking up from her desk and the paper form
she had in front of her, the plump, rather equine
nurse fired off a litany of questions.
“Number of sexual partners in the last six months?”
“Sixteen or so.”
“When was the last time you had sex?”
“Two days ago.”
“Was that vaginal sex?”
“Was this a one night stand or a relationship?”
“A one night stand.”
“When did you sleep with a different partner to this one?
“A week or so ago, I guess.”
“Was that vaginal sex?”
This last question posed somewhat of a philosophical dilemma for
Charlie as he was unsure whether dipping his glans
into his lover's anus, before she recoiled away in
pain and slapped him, classified as anal sex. He had
never been remotely aroused at the thought or even
the reality of anal sex but if a woman was willing
to place that functionally crucial part of her body
at his behest, who was he to refuse?
After the unsettling stichomythia, he barely registered the physical
examination that followed and the potential loss of
To his surprise, the nurse cleared him of anything serious – just a
mild case of thrush. Nothing to worry about,
apparently. She gave him some cream to sort it out.
As he was about to leave, his confidence was given an added boost by
her offer of free extra-wide condoms.
Strolling out of the reception area and liberated by his relatively
clean bill of health, he paused and cast a last look
towards the pair of girls who had earlier been so
attentive with their eyes. No, he decided, no-one in
the sexual health clinic was for him.
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