IMBP/STD scare Etiquette

We will start with my story and work our way into the meat of the post. I have had a few [as in more than 3] instances in the last 12 months where some female has said “I might be pregnant” [IMBP] or “I think you gave me an STD” to me. I have also had a number of my male friends go through the same thing. All of these instances have turned out to be nothing. However, there is an issue that needs to be addressed and that is woman’s delivery of this type of information.

Today I had a young lady to tell me that she might be pregnant…by me. She invited me to her house and we chatted. During the chat she causally mentioned the fact that she might be pregnant. She listed her symptoms and began telling me how she felt about it. She and I hadn’t messed around for 4+ months so to myself I was thinking “whew…glad it ain’t me”. But, then she proceeds to tell me that I am the last person that she had sex with. Now i’m no doctor but this ain’t my first time at the rodeo either. So I hit her with the questions:

1) How many periods have you missed?

A) None [again this is over 4 months]

2) Am I the only person you were sleeping with around that time?

A) Yes

3) Do you have any other medical issues?

A) No

4) Have you taken a pregnancy test?

A) No [see picture at the beginning of the post for my reaction]

Here in lies the problem. Ladies you have no idea how much immediate stress these type of things put us under. I know you think that you share the stress but, based off of the trends I have seen recently you actually have no clue. Well…how can you say that? I am glad you asked. It is obvious that woman have no idea how stressful it is because you don’t even bother confirming this stuff before you let it come out of your mouth. This is a sign of a much deeper issue that I will address later in the post. From here on out let’s set some ground rules for dealing with these issues and informing the other party.

Rule 1- Confirmation prior to notification.

Ladies as soon as you have symptoms of either pregnancy or an STD, stop your entire life and get confirmation. This seems like common sense, but it is not. In either case [pregnancy or STD] your immediate future is going to be greatly affected so confirmation should be priority 1, not for our sake but your own. This is a no brainer. If you don’t care enough about your own health to move past speculation then there is a mental problem [again I will directly address this later]. Confirmation is also important because of the stress that you cause yourself and the other party [if you have chosen to notify them]. If you believe you are pregnant or have an STD,  you tell the other party [the alleged impregnator or infected party] and it turns out to be just gas or a hair bump, then you have just ruined his and your own week unnecessarily. As a courtesy and out of respect, the least you all can do is confirm prior to notifying.

Rule 2- Just say it already!

“We need to talk” is a sure fire way to getting ignored. I have personally made it a point to not even acknowledge texts, voice mails, e-mails, etc. where someone leads with ambiguity. This type of statement and any others like it are unnecessarily stressful. The last time I had someone tell me “we need to talk”, it turned out that all she wanted was to ask me about restaurants in town [see first picture in post for my reaction]. While ambiguity is probably the worst way you can deliver news of this gravity, surprise attacks run a close second. Never ever mislead someone to believe your intention is to talk/do one thing, and transition into something like IMBP or STD scares [ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE NOT CONFIRMED]. So how am I supposed to say it? Fantastic question. Timing is everything. If you have not confirmed see rule 1. If you have confirmed then immediate and “to the point” notification in person is paramount. The best time and delivery for notifications of this nature is at night [like after work], non-confrontational, and direct. Here is an ideal scenario:

Mary Jane believes she is pregnant. She is immediately worried and begins to panic. At the first opportunity she has she acquires a pregnancy test and confirms that she is. Mary Jane waits until after her boyfriend is off of work and ask that he come to her house immediately so that they can discuss the results of the pregnancy test.

Notice in this scenario Mary Jane did not sit on her speculations or discuss it with her friends and unnecessarily involve others before she confirms. She takes immediate action once she firmly believes that there is a change in her health. Also, to lessen the stress level and the possibility of a negative reaction/response of her boyfriend she waited until after he was off of work to make a definite and direct notification.

Rule 3- Be honest.

Being honest is the key to positive communication. Ladies if you have been involved with more than one guy and there occurs an IMBP/STD scare, being honest about it is your best bet. However, honesty with yourself first is paramount. In my life time I have had several woman vehemently blame STD’s on me, and it never turned out to be my fault. Of course the claim was always “you are the only person I am messing with”, which turned out to be untrue. In the case of an IMBP, I have recently seen an alarming trend in woman using this statement to either gauge for reaction, or get closer to a man that refuses to commit to them. This is unacceptable in either case. Ladies if you want to know how a man feels about you, actions are louder than words. In laymen’s terms i’d say “if you feel like the side bitch then you probably are”. Enough said on that. Now moving on to the case of “false pregnancy”. The medical terminology for this occurrence is pseudocyesis. Basically what this means is that a woman can want to have a connection with a man so badly that she unconsciously attributes unrelated symptoms of ailments to pregnancy or experiences real symptoms of pregnancy even though she is not pregnant [totally not making this up]. I don’t rightly know what to say about this, but I think it is important that more people be informed about this and know that it is something very real.  “Let dat marinate” goes well here.

In closing, I want to impress upon everyone that IMBP/STD scares are very serious matters and should never, under any circumstances, be taken lightly. In taking these matters seriously the steps that I have provided are great etiquette and guidelines. Ladies, your “homegirl” has no place in these matters until after you have confirmed and discussed them with the other party. For whatever reason, these things are inherit to men. You never hear about a man telling his girl he might have an STD or might have another woman pregnant. We wait  until that mess is all the way confirmed, and even then you might not hear about it for a while [which is another issue that I won’t get into]. That is all…

P.S. [I know this isn’t a letter but work with me here]

I know I joke a lot, and I have even made light of these situations in this post, but this is serious and I am completely serious about everything that I have written.


[Update March 10, 2012]

I called and asked the young lady if she ever found out what was wrong with her. She replied that she was just severely “backed up”. Her mom gave her a fiber pill and she released the kraken.  She apologized about the whole situation.

© Stephen R. Freshley and wordbending, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this
material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephen R. Freshley and Word Bending a secret but not so secret blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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