Fulfilling the role of a stereotypical man’s man takes work, especially in this age of domestic and emotional enlightenment.
Much is made of the modern man - you know, the ones who do the washing up and put the toilet seat back where they found it once they are done but being a ‘bloke’ is how most of us would like to be regarded.
But they don’t let just anyone into the club.
Proper blokes like a pint without being a drunk, they never, ever cry at films and they know what to do when the central heating packs up.
But, most importantly, these magnificent examples of mankind won’t ever discuss their true feelings, especially if that would mean revealing a weakness.
All of the above mean that my membership to the Real Bloke’s Club would be at serious risk if it wasn’t for the fact that last week it was automatically revoked due to the fact I took the very necessary precaution of having a vasectomy.
My apologies if you are eating but it isn’t something you can really sugarcoat although I have done my best to be as euphemistic as possible when explaining to people why I have spent a week walking like John Wayne in True Grit. The most used explanation is that I have had a procedure that a 41-year-old man with two children has.
Vasectomies, although not a taboo, are not the thing blokes or pretty much anybody else for that matter talk about, as I have found out the past week or so. When I explain to my pals what I have had done, I am met with either awkward silence or a wince and something along the lines of ‘rather you than me’ or ‘why on earth have you done that?’
The truth is that it was all relatively painless, over in no time at all, although I was knocked out for the duration, which some, including real blokes, may regard as cheating.
When I came round in the recovery room, it was to the sound of uplifting music although I am happy to report that it was neither The First Cut Is The Deepest or I Am Not The Man I Used To Be.
I am certainly not a pioneer – lots of dads have taken the decision to have the snip, coming to the conclusion that I did, that they are more than happy with their lot. Personally speaking, I couldn’t bear the thought of changing nappies or waking up at 2am for night feeds in my forties.
Family planning is a serious business and while there are other forms of contraception, the procedure I had is pretty much the most effective of the lot – my surgeon proudly told me that he has not had one unwanted pregnancy following 5,000 ops. And, of course it is available on the NHS, but for how much longer?
Last month, health bosses in Oxfordshire, raised eyebrows when they announced that vasectomies in their area would not be provided free of charge on the NHS in future.
Inevitably, they cited budget constraints as the reason and, given that the NHS is increasingly stretched with each passing year, there is every chance we could see this happen elsewhere. Society knows all too well the problems that population growth and unwanted pregnancies pose – a vasectomy is a simple procedure which should be available to all. Even real blokes.