Some people have satisfactory therapy experiences and some like me not so much. Some people hear insights from their therapist that ring true like a bell, oh my that’s it they think to themselves, she nailed it with that comment. For me, not so much. Especially my very first encounter with a psychiatrist which is at college, the dean sends me to one because of my bad behavior rather than expelling me, a more enlightened consequence than a whipping post but less effective in changing attitude. Anyway, the psychiatrist quizzes me about this and that, my sexual activity, my hopes and dreams, he is a very serious and scholarly Freudian with just a touch of perverse relish in listening to me talk about fucking. Toward the end of our hour I tell him that I have just shaved my pubic hair and am pretty keen on admiring my sleek hairless torso. His eyes light up because he finally understands me, he says you have penis envy and he looks at me triumphantly, he has discerned the root cause of my mental turmoil, taken the first necessary step toward my rehabilitation.
I am confused, having never studied psychoanalytic theory I do not understand this jargon and honestly a penis is the last thing I think I need. I decide penis envy must be a virus much like measles, something I catch when I am careless and don’t wash my hands. I say to the psychiatrist, I don’t hate penises but I never coveted one, you just have to believe me. The man nods absentminded and makes a second appointment for me, the girl in search of a penis.