How I Got The Clap And Other STD Stories: Crabs From A Crappy Roommate

April is STD Awareness Month, and we asked you to share your STD-related stories so we could learn from your each other’s mistakes. If you have a tale involving sores, Valtrex, or a judgy gynecologist, send an email to [email protected]. We will keep your identity anonymous.

My freshman year of college was probably the worst time of my life because I was out of my element, didn’t get along with my roommate, and was extremely homesick. I went home just about every weekend. To make matters worse, I experienced my first STD while away at school. I had been experiencing extreme itching at the top of my bikini area but figured it was just from the hair growing. The itching was so bad I noticed blood droplets on my sheets one night. I probably was the only person on my campus not having sex, so I had grown quite a bush. One day as I hovered over the public toilet in my hall, I noticed something that looked like a tiny bug in the crotch of my underwear. When I picked it up, it moved! I was so mortified and ran back to my room to call my mom. She spoke with my cousin who said I had crabs and advised me to get a lice remover before things got out of hand. As luck would have it, there wasn’t a drugstore anywhere near my campus, so as I walked the 10 blocks I beat myself up for having such a crappy life. Although, looking back, I guess it was good that I had to travel so far because I would have been so embarrassed if someone saw me that I probably would have fainted to death. Anyway, I located the lice remover kit in the drugstore and read the directions, which said not to use in the genital area. I discreetly tried to ask the pharmacist if I could use the kit where I needed to, and he kind of brushed me off. So I thought it couldn’t hurt, and if it did, being burned is better than having crabs. Thankfully, there was only one other person in line at the register. I put the package of razors on the counter first and then the kit. I swear the cashier took a step back, and she reluctantly took my money, grabbing only the corner of my $10 bill.

When I got back to my dorm, the fun began. You’ve probably never thought about this, but it’s very difficult to remove lice from your pubes while showering in a public shower that doesn’t have any shelves. Anyway, I got everything removed and then washed my bedding and clothes in extremely hot water with Pine Sol, as advised by my mother. I wish she had told me to add detergent to the Pine Sol, so I wouldn’t have to explain to people why I smelled like floor cleaner (I lied, of course). I still couldn’t figure out how this happened to me because I wasn’t having sex, hadn’t sat on any toilets, and I only slept in my own bed. Then it occurred to me. My roommate had full access to my towel and wash cloth, which I kept on the outside of my closet so they wouldn’t get musty. So I think she either intentionally put lice on my towel and wash cloth, or let some gross stranger sleep in my bed when I was away. I never confronted her because I didn’t have any proof. And how exactly do you accuse someone you’re not intimate with of giving you lice? Even now, 10 years later, I get paranoid about getting crabs again.