DEAR ABBY: I am a 33-year-old virgin, and I have never been to a gynecologist. My regular doctor said I should make an appointment to see one. That was a year or so ago. She said it was to "make sure everything was OK."
I have made the appointments, but each time, I chicken out at the last minute and cancel because I have heard that a Pap test is done and it is painful. My best friend said she cried when she had hers done. She said it hurt really bad.
I had anxiety that was really bad two years ago because of big changes in my life. Three of my uncles and two of my cousins died within months of each other. I don't want my anxiety to flare up again. Little things make me anxious, and I am thinking this might trigger an episode.
Should a woman see a gynecologist even if she is not sexually active? Also, do you bleed after a Pap test is done? Thanks, Abby! -- SCARED IN BROOKLYN
DEAR SCARED: A woman should be seen by a gynecologist if she is sexually active, or if she has reached the age of 18. She should DEFINITELY see one if her regular doctor tells her to -- so please start acting like the 33-year-old adult you are and stop listening to "horror stories" from friends. Pap smears are not painful, and women do not normally bleed after having one.
When you arrive at the gynecologist's office, a medical history will be taken -- at which time you should inform the doctor (or nurse) that you are not sexually active. Accommodations will be made for that. You will not be hurt, and everything will be fine. Now get moving, and no more excuses!
DEAR ABBY: I am an 11-year-old girl in sixth grade. My problem is there's this girl, "Stacey," who is in Special Ed who gets picked on every day. My friends pick on her a lot, and it makes me disgusted because Stacey doesn't have any control over how she was born.
Today, my friends and I were playing a game to see who could get the most hugs, and I went up to Stacey who was sitting outside alone like always and gave her a hug. Then my friends started giving her hugs, and it made me so happy to see the look on her face! She was smiling with pure joy.
Abby, if you put this in your column, could you tell people that just giving a hug to someone who doesn't normally get one might make their day? Also, can you tell me how to get my friends to stop bullying her? Thanks a lot! -- HUGS ANONYMOUS IN ILLINOIS
DEAR HUGS ANONYMOUS: You are a wise young lady and sensitive beyond your years. The comment you made about Stacey not having control over how she was born is right on target. It also applies to people's race, religion and gender -- other reasons why people face discrimination.
One way to get your friends to stop bullying Stacey would be to speak out and say that it isn't funny when she is being picked on, and to point out that what they're doing is cowardly and wrong and makes you uncomfortable. You are a born leader, and if enough people follow your lead, the bullying will stop.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter says that if someone seasons a dish she has prepared, it is an insult to her. I say that as the hostess, she should graciously ignore it. Who is right? -- FAITHFUL READER, TATUM, TEXAS
DEAR FAITHFUL READER: If a guest seasons a dish that his/her hostess has prepared before tasting it, then I would consider the gesture to be insulting. However, if the guest has tasted it, I see nothing wrong with adding salt or pepper to accommodate that person's personal preference. Not everyone has the same taste -- and that's why salt and pepper shakers are placed on the table.
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