It may be 2022 already, but there are still a sickening amount of people who are grossed out by the more intimate aspects of the female body and how to take care of it.
Women frequently face issues with this in the workplace, as if work were not often already stressful enough, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor stormywhethers321 had an appointment with her gynecologist that had already been approved that she really couldn’t afford to reschedule.
But when her boss kept urging her to cancel and come to work, the Original Poster (OP) didn’t know what to do but tell him the truth about why she was going for an appointment.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my boss why I needed a day off?”
The OP had already been approved for a morning off of work.
“I’m a woman in my 40s. My boss is a man in his 20s. He really shouldn’t be managing anything (this is literally his first job ever) but his mother owns the company.”
“I booked a morning off this week for a gynecologist appointment.”
Her boss urged her to cancel and come to work instead.
“It was approved, but today my boss told me they’d had an unexpected schedule change and asked me to cancel and come to work.”
“I said I was having severe feminine itching and really need to see a doctor, but he said didn’t think itching was any worse for women than for men and wasn’t a good reason to miss work.”
“English is not his first language, although he is very fluent, so I guess that particular phrase didn’t translate.”
The OP did what she felt she had to do to keep her appointment.
“I didn’t really know any other way to put it, so I told him it was vaginal itching, in my genitals.”
“He looked horrified and told me I could have the morning off but it was really inappropriate for me to say those words.”
“I agree that it was awkward to say and hear, but I had no idea how else to phrase it.”
“I guess I could have made up a less intimate problem, but when I submit my leave paperwork, he’ll see I was at the gyno anyway, so making up a toothache wouldn’t have worked.”
“But I obviously made him uncomfortable, and I’m feeling gross about it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the boss really didn’t need to ask questions about the OP’s appointment.
“It is illegal for your doctor to tell your boss why you were at the appointment. ‘She was here because, omg, that c**ch was on fi-yah! And not in a sexy way!’ They can’t do that.”
“It is not illegal to ask, and it’s not illegal for the a**hole gossipy coworker to go blabbing about OP’s h**hah after she overheard OP making the appointment on the phone.”
“There are a lot of misconceptions around HIPAA, and ‘it’s illegal for you to ask’ is right at the top of that list.” – shellexyz
“OP had no intention of telling him that her vagina itches. He did this to himself. It’s a medical condition.”
“He wouldn’t let her go to the appointment that was already approved without an explanation. Never ask a question you don’t want to know the answer to.”
“Is he gonna ask his male employees for details about their prostate cancer screening appointments too? Does he want the details of everyone’s colonoscopy? Wanna hear all about my urine tests for kidney function?”
“This is not OP’s problem. When it comes to medicine, sometimes you just shouldn’t ask for details. He learned a lesson the hard way.” – littlestgoldfish
“I had one really nosey boss (ironically, who would scream ‘PRIVACY!’ if you asked her anything).”
“She’d keep pressing what’s wrong, even if you flipped ‘PRIVACY!’ right back at her.”
“Instead of my usual non-descript phrasing (gastrointestinal issue), I went super detailed (pungent diarrheal spray). She couldn’t get me to stop fast enough!” – WhoSc3wdDaP00ch
“I was so distraught when my scheduler got mad at me for calling off when I ‘just called off a week ago’ and was I really ‘so bad off’ that I couldn’t come in.”
“An RN who should have d**n well known better than to ask me what was wrong with me so long as I had a note.”
“I relished every moment of her backtracking when I told her I missed last week because I found out my pregnancy wasn’t viable and I was calling out now because I’m having a miscarriage.”
“You’re not allowed to ask me that question.” – mannequinlolita
“All OP should have had to say was that she had a doctor’s appointment that she cannot cancel and left it at that.”
“H**l, my boss doesn’t even ask why I need time off, I just tell them I do. If I need an exception, I may say a doctor’s appointment and that is good enough for them. NTA.” – shopgirl2
“NTA. You are epic! Good for you for telling him what the matter was, itchy bits need to be seen to and it was not your responsibility to cover the short notice schedule change when you had booked the time off in advance. Hope the itch goes away soon.” – Ellf13
Others agreed and said the time off was already approved.
“NTA. First off, you shouldn’t be expected to change your plans because he decided to cave to someone else and move the schedule around.”
“Secondly, you shouldn’t have to explain to him why you’re taking time off. You were approved, so unless there’s a conflict of interest or you’re committing fraud, it’s really none of his business.”
“All you did was double down after he tried to screw you over.” – laughingBaguette
“Depending on location, it’s also illegal to ask a worker about any medical conditions. ‘Sick day’ approved, means just that. The employee does not have to say why.”
“Also, OP is NTA, the ‘boss’ is! And he needs to take some management courses before he gets sued.” – Various_Counter_9569
“NTA. When you get approved for time off, they can not take it back. End of story.”
“And it was a doctor’s appointment, so it was obviously important. And men need to stop being weirded out by female body parts.”
“I’ll bet he’s the kind of guy who gets offended from seeing a pad or tampon. We have a lot of those kinds of guys in the stories told in this forum.” – NightWitch65
“It was already approved. He had no right to even ask. You shouldn’t have to explain a medical condition, ever. Getting a doctor’s appointment these days can take months.” – badkitty627
“NTA. Your day off was approved. He asked, you said you couldn’t do it. That should have settled it.”
“That said, he pushed. No employer is entitled to any of your medical information. He is 100% in the wrong pushing this. However, he kept pushing, so you told him why.”
“He has no one to blame but himself if he got Too Much Information. The only person being inappropriate was him.”
“Seeing that this is a family business (and that nepotism is in play), I’m guessing that going to HR about this isn’t an option. One can hope that this wet behind the ears kid has learned his lesson not to push.” – bamf1701
“So NTA! You should never have had to tell him anything. You had the morning off for an important medical appointment. He’s not allowed to know the medical issue!!”
“The fact that he pushed it so much, he deserved that! He should have turned around with his tail between his legs and not said a word!!” – Justanopinion24
“NTA. He should not have pushed you to the point that you felt that you had to disclose those details in order to get the time off as you requested.”
“I would have held my ground and simply said I need the time and it was approved, period. If he continue to push back, I would have called his mother (the owner) and explained the situation.”
“I would have said I didn’t feel comfortable disclosing that information to her son but felt pressed to do so. And then at least you were having the conversation with another woman. And then maybe she could have confronted the situation with her son.” – No-Actuary-9388
While the OP was feeling uneasy after the awkward conversation with her boss, the subReddit reassured her that she had done all she could to keep it from getting uncomfortable. The boss really didn’t need to push for that additional information, despite needing additional help at the time of the appointment.
If he had simply taken her word for it and agreed that this was an appointment she couldn’t cancel, he could have saved both of them a very awkward encounter that will likely keep the workplace feeling uncomfortable for a while now.