Magazine article The Spectator

Intimate Discussions

Magazine article The Spectator

Intimate Discussions

Article excerpt

Low life

I wasn't looking forward to visit six. Visits one to five of the clinical trial to test the relative merits of two rival anti-impotence drugs had gone swimmingly enough. I'd had my blood pressure taken and my tackle felt and gone away with another month's supply of either Mycoxaflopin or Boloxin 2 and a shiny new journal for recording the results. Both drugs were effective. Highly effective. But, between visit five and visit six, Sharon and I fell out over my using them. She'd always insisted I tell her whether I'd taken one or not; but she never believed me, whether I said I had taken one beforehand or I hadn't taken one. We had this big stand-up row about it and the next day she gave my entire month's supply of anti-impotence drugs, plus my sex journal, to the dustman. And not long after that she left me. Then I became depressed - far too depressed, at any rate, to keep my appointment for visit six. With Sharon gone, visit six seemed pointless. So I just let the thing drop.

But I should have had the courtesy to let Dr Lovepants know what the situation was. Visit six was my last visit, the completion of the trial. Visit six was where I nailed my colours to the mast and stated which of the two anti-impotence drugs I preferred.

About six weeks after my missed appointment, Dr Lovepants wrote me a letter, written in perfect unfussy English and a spirit of humility. He really must see me in order to complete the trial, it said. If by some mishap I'd lost the pills or the journal, I needn't worry. If I made another appointment with Alice he'd be very glad to see me. The letter came with his best wishes. Emboldened by the conciliatory tone, and buoyed up by Prozac, I rang Alice and made another appointment.

Until visit six I'd been very frank with Dr Lovepants about my sex life. I'd had to be. The questionnaire we filled in together every month didn't beat about the bush. From the very beginning this large, mauvefaced, out-of-breath doctor and I had been on intimate terms. And I liked him. The man was genuinely rooting for me. Never before had reports of my successes or failures in bed been the cause of such unaffected joy or profound disappointment in a third party.

We were both surprised, I think, at the other's appearance when he entered his examination room and I laid down my paperback and greeted him. …

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