I’ve had my problems with chickens in the past. There have been cooking disasters. Unexpected deaths. Nothing, however, could’ve prepared me for this. I may never be able to say the words “Belle and Evans” again without blushing.
Remember last week I said I’d taken a half-hour phone survey about HPV? The one that paid with a $20 Target gift card? Well, today I got the card in the mail. Thank God. I was half afraid I’d fallen for some elaborate phone scam, although the scammers’ desire to hear my every thought on Pap Smears did seem somewhat inexplicable. Anyway, the survey was, indeed, legit. Turns out it was sponsored by USC. So that’s good.
It’s just too bad it didn’t end there.
In the envelope with the gift card was some “reading material” that I was supposed to peruse carefully, in preparation for a follow-up survey coming later this week. Once completed, I would receive another Target gift card. I knew all of this going in. So far, so good.
The reading material, however, is where it gets weird. It’s a four page anecdote called “It’s Time,” which tells the story of a Latino family who are preparing for one of their daughter’s Quinceaneras. As the womenfolk chop vegetables and roll dough in the kitchen, a discussion about HPV ensues. One of the daughters, it turns out, has been infected. The rest of the gals don’t know what the disease is. “Lupita” informs them, using surprisingly thorough, even clinical terms. She then goes on to talk about Pap Smears– their importance, their availability, their painlessness. The women aren’t convinced — especially the elders, who think such a procedure would be both embarrassing and torturous.
“Not at all,” says the knowledgeable Lupita. “It’s like a mosquito bite.”
So first of all, that’s just wrong. For the record. Wildly inaccurate, in fact. And it leads me to believe that this entire story has been written by a man.
Or a poultry farmer. Because at this point Lupita decides to demonstrate, for her hapless family, how a Pap Smear is done. Her model? Why, a raw chicken, of course.
Lupita spread the legs of the chicken they were preparing for the party and put the cornhusk in between the chicken’s legs to make it look like a vagina…”
Wait. Ack! What? What kind of hooch has this author been dealing with his whole life? Because–call me crazy–mine doesn’t remotely look like it belongs in a roasting pan. Or not last time I checked.
The story goes on. Lupita’s mother talks to her friend (the greatest skeptic):
“Petra, you’ve never had this test before? It’s not as bad as it looks. Most women have them all the time,” Blanca said, taking one of the long green peppers and joining her daughter in the demonstration. “Mira…they take this mascara-type wand and wipe gently inside, like that…”
This is an image that should never, ever have been generated. Peppers and vaginas? Not happy bedfellows, people! I burn just thinking about it.
The girls’ father comes into the kitchen. “How are the tamales?” he asks. The women laugh uproariously. Dad is confused.
And so am I. About many, many things. Not the least of which is what I’m going to make for dinner tonight. Because slow-cooked chicken is now completely out of the question.