By: Mary Fran Bontempo

reflected orchid and candleDim lights, flickering candles, soft music.

As the attendant led me to a private dressing room, after gifting me with a single long stemmed rose, I thought, Well, this has potential.

I was further encouraged when I found, waiting for me in the dressing room, a robe which had been warmed, along with warmed wipes to remove my deodorant.

Wait, what?

Remove my deodorant? Why would I need to do that? Despite momentary confusion, I complied, then opening the dressing room door and taking a seat in a comfy chair until the attendant called me to follow her. She led me to another private, dimly lit room and told me we were ready to begin.

I followed her to the middle of the room, following instructions to take off my robe (one side only?) and…

She then squeezed and flattened my left boob between two plates of cold glass until I thought I would pass out, reminding me to hold my breath (as if I could breathe) for what seemed like hours while a machine took pictures. Then she did the same damn thing on the other side.

Welcome to the new mammography spa experience–seduction followed by torture. Maybe it’s me, but the whole thing reminded me of one of those horror movies where the young, unsuspecting beauties are lured into some seemingly charming hotel, made to feel special and pretty until they trust their “hosts,” whereupon they’re taken to some underground laboratory and experimented upon until they beg for mercy.

Yeah, that’s exactly what it was.

Don’t get me wrong; I appreciated the attempt to soften the blow–or the squishing. But let’s face it, no combination of dim lighting, lit candles or warmed robes can change the fact that once you walk into that room, some woman you’ve likely never met before is going to grab your boobs, lift them onto an icy glass plate, force you to twist your body like a Cirque du Soleil  contortionist, and then squash your lady parts until your eyes tear. Oh, and tell you you’re not allowed to breathe while she does it.

If they really want to help us relax before they (literally) crush us, all mammography offices should apply for a liquor license and outfit the waiting rooms with bars. It would be a lot easier walking through that portal to Hell with a buzz on. At least then if you get dizzy and feel like you’re going to pass out you’ll have had some fun beforehand. At the very least, they could put a small flask in the pocket of that warm robe.

I appreciated the effort, though, and I’ll give them credit for trying. But let’s face it, you can’t really pretty up a mammogram. The only way that’ll happen is if we start requiring men to have their privates tested in a similar manner. Then, either the technology will change before you can say, “squashed privates” or those bars will become mandatory.

Either way, it will be an improvement.

How much do you enjoy your mammogram? Regardless, make sure you get your boobs squished, ladies–it may hurt, but it’s important!