Before she got all skeeny again, and stopped being quite so funny, I really really liked Margaret Cho. I don’t dislike her now, but she used to be funnier. That’s how it goes, I guess.

Anyway, one of my favorite Margaret Cho lines was her explanation of why she’s friends with so many gay people: “I? Am heterophobic.”

Me, too! So when it came time to get a new doctor, it’s only natural that I would pick the All-Gay-All-the-Time healthcare center around the corner from my office. (Which is in Chelsea, BTW. Otherwise known as The Single Gayest Neighborhood on the East Coast.)

I went to get a checkup, as you do, and while I was there, I decided that I would be a responsible girl and get an HIV test. I hadn’t had one in years, but I wasn’t particularly worried about the results. That is, until the counselor, who was a very attractive 20-something latino gay man whose moisturizer I would like to use, told me that he would have my results in 20 minutes.

“TWENTY MINUTES?” I said. “How? Why? What do you mean?”

“It only ever took 20 minutes,” he explained. “It’s just that we used to send them out to the lab, and then you’d have to wait for the courier to bring the blood over, and then we had to wait for Shaniqua at the lab to process the sample, and then we had to wait to hear from the lab, and so on.”

He looked at me meaningfully. “You’re freaked out, aren’t you?”

“No! No, not at all.” Pause. “Yes. Yes, I am.”

“Well, let’s have your history,” he said.

I gave it to him. Because he is a professional, he did not laugh.

“I’m not really supposed to say this,” he said. “But, uh, there’s really not a very big chance that you have to worry.”

“Oh, I know.”

“OK. So you’re OK?”

“Yes. Yes! Absolutely.” Pause. “No. No, I’m not.”

He nodded. “So let’s talk about what you would do if the news was bad.”

“Honestly? I would be very mature. I would freak the fuck out, and then I would call my Mommy.”

He laughed. “That is an excellent plan. Well, listen. Let’s wait a minute, until you calm down. And then, if you want, you can sit in my office while we wait.”



I felt a little teary. “I have to tell you that I really love this office. You’re all so nice here.”

He smiled. “Can I ask you something? How did you … ah, find us?”

“Someone at work recommended you.”

He nodded encouragingly.

“She’s not gay either.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“I just feel more comfortable with gay people. It’s a whole thing.”

Because he was a professional, he registered no surprise at all.

In the end, I wound up waiting in the outer office, in part so that I could be closer to the elevator in case I couldn’t take it and had to run away. I’m glad I did. There were some very interesting people in the waiting room, of all apparent orientations and gender identities, and I had an excellent time playing “Guess That Persuasion” and “X or Y?” — two games I thought I’d given up forever when I stopped hanging out with drag queens in college.

The counselor came out of his office in 20 minutes, as promised, all smiles. “Negative,” he said, winking. “Told you.”

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

9 thoughts on “Negatory!

  1. I too love “Guess That Persuasion” and “X or Y”… but my favorite game is still “Friends or Lovers” which ratchets up a few levels of difficulty in a diverse ‘hood like Chelsea.

  2. Congratulations, Negatorio!
    I just got tested too and am pleased to say that I am 100% HIV FREE.
    It’s amazing how well you can convince yourself that there’s no way you’re +… until you actually go to get tested and then you’re 1000% sure you’ve got it and it’s pure ADVANCED, and um, how long have I had this cold? I AM a huge whore, OH GOD IS THAT A LESION!!??

  3. Yes! They should have a big battle to determine which locale is king, but do it all spy style, so no one knew who was playing. Very sneaky.

  4. No contest, for gay-Y. Quantity, on the East Coast, Chelsea wins hands down. Quality, in terms of entertaining personalities, I think P-town has a slight edge, but don’t we all brighten up a bit in the Summer, regardless of personal proclivities?

    Not surprisingly, many summer residents of the terminus of old Cape Cod live the rest of the year in Chelsea or environs.

    Gay-X? Its hard to beat the vagis nexis of Northampton and South Hadley in Winter, defers to Barnstable when the sun returns.

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