“Come on then,” my wife said with a sigh. “If I have to. Take your trousers off and lie on the bed. It’s only small. It won’t take long.”
When a woman says that you’ve no choice, have you? I unfastened my jeans and did as I was told.
“Right,” my wife said.
“Don’t hurt me…”
“Maybe. Move your leg. Let me try and find it.”
I should probably apologise at this point. Sorry if you thought you’d stumbled across Fifty Shades of Married Life.
I had an acrochordan, or fibroepithelial polyp – and it was in my groin. What? Oh alright, skin tag if you want to trivialise my suffering.
It was big. And irritating.
And it got caught on everything.
In fact it was like having a particularly ferocious gnat living in my trousers.
Meanwhile my wife – whose eyes always light up when there’s a chance of performing surgery on me – was rummaging in her sewing box.
She produced a pair of scissors. Big ones, with serrated edges. I hadn’t realised she had a sideline gelding horses. “You’re not going to use those?”
“I will do if you don’t keep still.”
“Do you want me to hold it?”
“No. Just get your hands out of the way. I’ll use my sewing scissors. It’s only a skin tag. And it’s turned black.”
I’d finally realised I needed to do something about the tag when I started walking like John Wayne. Hot weather made the damn thing especially sore. The July heat wave was not good news.
I called on Dr Google. Goodness knows why you can’t see your GP for three weeks when Google can diagnose most things in five minutes. Let Google write prescriptions and NHS waiting lists would disappear overnight.
But for once the good doctor from California didn’t dispense any words of comfort. Instead I was terrified – and it was all thanks to a thread on Mumsnet. It was encouragingly called Decided to do a DIY Jobby on my Skin Tag.
My experience of watching my wife give birth has given me the vague suspicion that women are tougher than men – tougher than this man, anyway.
Reading the Mumsnet thread was the final confirmation. Tweezers, nail-clippers, kitchen scissors: there was nothing these women hadn’t done. I awarded the gold medal to the mum who simply anaesthetized herself with gin and pulled it off.
None of that for me, mate. I phoned the doctors. Three weeks? I must have been dreaming: the first appointment with my GP clashed with the next Olympics.
I opted for the locum – a man who clearly proved that passing the ‘bedside manner’ module wasn’t essential in a medical degree.
“I can tie it up with string,” he said. “Eventually it’ll turn black and drop off. Might throb for a bit, mind you.”
Given that I’d walked into the surgery like someone with acute diarrhoea that seemed a small price to pay.
I spent a very pleasant weekend limping around with two inches of NHS twine dangling from my groin.
But eventually the wretched thing co-operated and turned black.
At which point I removed my trousers and lay on the bed…
“Be gentle. You know I can’t stand pain.”
“I know you’re a hopeless wimp. If you’d been giving birth there’d have been no chance of Jessica, never mind Ben. Right. Here goes…”
“Aaaagggghhhh!” I yelled. But it was off.
The door opened and a teenage head appeared.
Jessica. “I heard you tell dad to take his trousers off. Then he started moaning. You’re not…”
“No. We’re not.”
She’d learn. There were some things in married life that were even more basic than sex…