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.