When I was 14 I tried to go on the pill. I wanted it not because I was having sex, but because I was going on an activity holiday and had heard it could stop your periods. The doctor man didn’t cough up: fair enough. That beautiful green prescription slip failed to materialise.
But now? Now, thank you very much society, I am a goddamn grown-up. I have a mortgage and a job and a fucking chequebook and a special key with which I bleed the radiators. I do all the things that grown-ups do.
So why, given that society accepts I can make such adult decisions as ‘whether I fill out a self-assessment tax form’, do I have to go through what seems like a completely unnecessary rigmarole just in order to get the contraceptive pill?
How to get the contraceptive pill
I’ve been on the same pill for 10 years, more or less. The same one. I know what it does, and what side effects it may or may not have.
But in order to get it I have to perform an inexplicable dance to demonstrate that I am qualified to take it. I have to take time off work, go to the doctors, pretend I’m willing to give up smoking, let them weigh and measure me, have a brief but unnecessarily intrusive chat about my sex life, and then if I’m lucky they hand over a six-month prescription.
If I’m unlucky I get three months, because they don’t like to give out too many. The reason for this is apparently ‘medicine wastage’ – i.e. people getting pills then either selling them on or flushing them down the bog.
But these are contraceptive pills – they’re not valuable like morphine or amphetamine. As far as I know, most women don’t just sell them on for profit – we use them to prevent ourselves from getting unwantedly pregnant.
But, you know, I’m willing to accept that perhaps this is reason enough to give them out in smaller doses. It’s the need to discuss them with an actual doctor that most makes my blood boil. I have nothing against doctors, but I have a huge bee in my bonnet about visiting the doctor because I have a job. To get an appointment with my doctor I have to take time off work to go and see her. Or, at a pinch, the nurse.
To be honest, that don’t give a flying fuck who prescribes me this shit, as long as someone is there to witness the fact that I turned up. That’s all they seem to care about: that I’m there. They don’t care that I lie about giving up smoking. They don’t care that I’m overweight. They don’t care that I’ve been taking it for more than 10 years: they just care that I’m there.
And that, ladies and gentlemen-who-can’t-jizz-in-me-in-case-I-get-pregnant, is the point.
Other places to get the contraceptive pill
I went to Brook recently. The internet told me that if I went to see them they’d hook me up, without an appointment. And they would – they’d love to. They could think of nothing more that they’d like to do than fulfill my contraceptive needs. But sadly I’m 27, so no can do. 27 year olds don’t need easy access to contraceptives like under-25s do, so I’m outside of their cutoff zone.
The man in Brook was sympathetic, and gave me this advice:
“Try a family planning clinic, they’re not institutionally ageist like we are.”
So I tried a family planning clinic. Except the one near my work was bastard closed for the whole of the next day and has working hours that would suit only an unemployed insomniac, I have not yet been able to visit them.
The ranty bit
Is it any fucking wonder we have massive sexual issues in the UK? Is it any wonder young girls get pregnant? The only thing that surprises me is that women aren’t screaming any louder about the malignant idiocy of this system.
Men: I ask you honestly and truly – would you put up with this? If the roles were reversed, and you had to take pills, would you put up with a situation where you had to go through this miserable rigmarole in order to fuck your lady without the use of a condom? I doubt it.
If the male pill were readily available you’d be able not just to buy it in supermarkets but to pick it up at a corner shop on the way to a fucking date. So far the only real contraceptive available to men is the condom – and you can buy that shit fucking everywhere.
I’m not saying this out of spite – if you guys had a pill I’d happily sign an e-petition to make it easy for you to access. You bloody well should be able to wander into a shop and say “Hey, shop assistant, I am a grown adult and am able to make my own contraceptive choices. Please can you sell me a pill that prevents my ladyfriend from getting up the duff?”
You should be able to do that. It should be your right, in a society that both madly loves sex and is also able to control your likelihood of procreating. You should be able to do that. And so should I.
Microgynon 30 – six month’s worth, please. And you can skip the moralising and the misery and the time off work and the queuing at the doctor’s surgery. I have to work, and I have to fuck, and you’re making these things unnecessarily incompatible.