The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear

A tale of small spaces

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The road to standing straight and tall is fraught with danger and excitement.

Growing up in the closet, in the potato fields of Idaho, I was afraid of many, many things: that someone would suspect I was gay, that I might be trampled by the 5,000 sheep on our farm, that my 4H quilting project might not win a blue ribbon at the county fair. Now that I’m a seasoned drag queen, I am afraid of many fewer things in life. But I still have a few: that no matter what I wear, it will make my ass look huge, that my mascara will run every time I cry watching a movie, and that I might be confined in a small space. My claustrophobia is so severe that most often I’m not able to wear dresses that must be pulled on over my head. I tend to get my head stuck in the armhole, can’t breathe, and end up nearly tearing the garment trying to escape.

I have been experiencing much pain in my lower back; at this point, I sometimes can barely walk. I even have to resort to using one of those walkers. I call it my tractor. When the Matrons of Mayhem are in Wendover with the Big Gay Fun Bus, I use my “tractor” to get around the expansive casinos. I visited my doctor, and he recommended that I have an MRI to see what the problem is. With my claustrophobia, just hearing the sound “MRI” is enough to enter the witness protection program. I begged my doctor to give me some medication to calm my nerves during the test. He prescribed three Valium tablets for me, bless his heart.

At the time of the test, I downed all three Valium tablets, even though the instructions said to take one pill 30 minutes before the test and take another one if needed. I was getting dressed in one of those stupid hospital gowns. I needed one made by Omar, the tent maker. Oh, the shame. There was a knock on the door and a most handsome technician in form-fitting hospital scrubs that were the most adorable shade of lavender, and wearing a name tag that read Rodney, entered the room and said, “Hello, my name is Rod, and I’ll be taking care of you today.” Oh Rodney, Rodney, Rodney. I thought to myself, “Yes you will, buster!” Rod turned out to be one of the most gorgeous specimens of humanity that there ever has been. I was nearly speechless. I mean he literally took my breath away. He was built like a gymnast. He had my favorite style of haircut — the freshly returned missionary look.

Rod led me to the room of torture, but I was so mesmerized by his undulating ass muscles pulsing in his tight scrubs that I forgot to be nervous. He strapped me down to the meat tray that would be sliding me into my imminent doom. Again, his biceps so filled his sleeves, that I was putty in his hands. He handed me a panic button and said that I should push it if I got into trouble, then he smiled at me, and I could swear that there was a little sparkle that glinted off of his teeth, just like in toothpaste commercials.

Then the meat tray began to slide me into the infernal MRI donut. Now we all know that I’m a full-figured girl. And that those MRI machines are designed for a size zero Barbie, not a size 22 Maximus Prime. As my ample ass cheeks entered, they squeezed in. What the hell? Where is the lube? Surely if I’m gonna get pounded like this, I should at least get some lube? I thought, my god, this is like sausage getting pumped into the animal’s intestine casing.

Then it advanced to my voluminous stomach, and my arms pressed tightly against my chest, and my shoulders pushed in so much that I felt like the hunchback of Notre Dame. I had no room to breathe. It felt like my eyeballs were going to squirt out of my skull. It’s panic time! What to do? I asked Rod to turn up the airflow to the highest and coldest setting. Then the test began. The deafeningly loud rumbling of the machine commenced. All I could do was shut my eyes, picture Rod’s muscled chest, and sing to myself that old church song, “Hold to the Rod”, the Iron Rod. It’s strong and straight and true. The Iron Rod is a gift from God. Then Rod’s sonorous voice came over the speaker, as if it were the voice of God, “Are you doing all right?”

“Okay,” I lied.

We were only five minutes into a 35-minute test. I’m gonna die! Thirty torturous minutes later, I gratefully held Rod’s hand as he helped me off the meat tray.

This story leaves us with several important questions:

1.     Even as an adult, I’m still bothered with nightmares of stampeding sheep. Do I need to see a therapist or a butcher?

2.    Instead of calling my walker a “tractor,” should I call it my “Breasticle Booster”?

3.    When pushing my “tractor” around in Wendover, am I more like a parade float than a pedestrian?

4.    Should I be throwing out saltwater taffy to the onlookers?

5.    Was it the Valium that made Rod look so dashing?

6.    If I had been wearing my breasticles into the machine, would they have poked my eyes out?

7.    Did my eyes bug out of my head because of the pressure or to get a better look at Rod?

These and other eternal questions will be answered in future chapters of The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear.

Petunia Pap Smear

Petunia Pap Smear was born a boy in a Mormon family in a small Idaho town in the year of the cock. No, really, look it up. As is LDS tradition, at a month old her father blessed the little Petunia in the ward house on the first Sunday in June. The very next day, they tore the church house down. Probably for good reason. Little did parents Jack and Orthea know that their little boy would grow up to be a full-fledged, rainbow flag-waving, high heel-wearing, sheep-tending “Ida-Homo.” The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear follows her life from the sheep-tending Boy Scout of her youth to the full-figured and brash queen she is today. Her adventures in the many Queer-Tanic trips, the Salt Lake Men's Choir, the Matrons of Mayhem, and Utah Prides and Lagoon Days have been canonized the past 15 years in a monthly column in QSaltLake Magazine, Utah's publication for the LGBTQ+ community. These tales and her words of wisdom were corralled into a 355-page book that will become the Quint to the Mormon Quad. See it at

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