Coleen put the Daily Mail down and glanced furtively at her fiancée’s bulging groin. For once, she didn’t like the look of it.
According to the article, men with small testicles made the best fathers. More involved. More caring. Altogether better. She didn’t remember the details exactly, but the general drift was this: the bigger the bollocks, the bigger the bastard. The best Dads had the smallest hand baggage. And on that score, her Terry was shaping up to be a terrible father. If they were going to get married and have kids, she needed to do something to reduce… the risks.
The following day she went to Marks and Spencer and bought him fourteen pairs of tight white briefs.
“I’m throwing out your old boxers” she told him. “They are so last year.”
Terry was at first bemused by her behaviour, but grateful that she had saved him the bother of having to buy his own underpants. So, as men do, he shrugged his shoulders and complied with the peculiar demands of his girlfriend. He quite liked the idea that his underwear would be “à la mode”. It wasn’t something that he had spent a lot of time considering to date. He thought himself progressive simply because he made sure that his underpants were clean. Usually. But Coleen knew about these things, and after the first few days of physical discomfort during which he started to wonder if he was really what M&S considered to be a “small” man, Terry began to appreciate the firm and steady grip of his new undergarments. In fact, they came to be a source of hidden pride, silently reminding him with every step that he took, through what he came to think of as an intimate variation on the Masonic handshake, that he now belonged to what Coleen assured him was a fashionable elite.
“Know what, Coleen?” he said after a few weeks of the new regime, “I think I might have a look in the Anne Summers shop for one of those posing pouches. What do you think?”
She resisted the temptation to speak her mind.
“Good idea” she said.
Privately, however, Coleen was worried that her plan was doing little to transform Terry into a better prospective father. She had been inspecting the relevant body parts with a torch under the bedclothes when Terry was asleep, and she wasn’t convinced that they were getting any smaller. Something more was required.
She seemed to remember her mother talking about the army putting bromide tablets in the tea they gave to servicemen during the Second World War, but she wasn’t sure if it was true, and in any event, she didn’t suppose that this would shrink the troublesome features, even if it temporarily suppressed Terry’s libido, which would be counter-productive. What she really wanted was a highly-sexed man with tiny cojones.
Fortunately, the Internet gave her a better idea: body-building supplements.
“Terry,” she said one evening, “I think we should be working out at the gym a bit more, don’t you?”
“I go two or three times a week already” he said.
“I know, love, but you don’t look as well-proportioned as you used to – up top, I mean” she added quickly, “around the chest and what-have-you.”
He was taken aback for a moment.
“I’ll look into it” she said, before he could say anything else. “Let’s go to bed.”
The following day she ordered a large batch of something called “Andro” from a Chinese website. It was sold as a sports supplement, although her research suggested that it wouldn’t only affect her fiancee’s chest measurements.
She made sure they went to the gym five times a week, and administered Terry’s drugs assiduously: two in the morning; two at night; and another one ground up in his food each day.
After six months, Coleen was pleased to see that their new fitness programme was beginning to pay dividends. Terry was noticeably larger in all areas except one. It was good news, but Coleen was concerned about the side-effects.
“Do you think your hair is getting a bit… thinner?” she asked him one evening, as he lay on the floor in front of the television, repeatedly doing sit-ups to strengthen his stomach muscles. From her vantage point on the sofa, she was sure she could see the beginnings of a bald patch.
“Why don’t you just fuck off, Coleen!” he shouted, jumping to his feet, storming out of the room, and slamming the door behind him. This was another change that she hadn’t considered. His moods were dark and unpredictable these days. She had to reconsider her strategy.
Surgery was out of the question, obviously. As was genital mutilation. It had crossed her mind that a contrived domestic accident, depriving Terry of just one of his two prize possessions might offer a simple, if radical solution to the problem. There again she mused, if the rumours were true, Hitler ran on a half-full tank, and she didn’t suppose that he could have been the best father in the world, all things considered.
No. She needed a more practical approach. Something simple. Alcohol. A few drinks each evening would settle him down, and a few more would help to shrink the offending articles further – at least, that was what the helpful woman at NHS Direct had implied.
Coleen reckoned that she needed Terry to get through two or three bottles of wine every night on average: two cases a week, to be sure. “Drink ’em and shrink ’em” she said to herself, as she loaded the wine into the boot of her car.
It was difficult at first to get Terry to drink so much.
“I thought we were on a fitness campaign?” he remonstrated.
“We are Terry, but you need to keep things in proportion. So to speak. All work and no play, er… well, you know what I mean. Besides, red wine is good for you.”
“Yeah, but not this much, surely?” he said.
“You’ll get used it it, love. Now take your tablets, drink up, and we can go to bed.”
She got him up to nine bottles a week within a couple of months, and decided that this was a good enough start. Her nightly reconnaissance missions, through which Terry now slept soundly, of course, demonstrated beyond doubt that the combination of constriction, drugs and drink was working. Given the extent of his inebriation, she was even able to weigh his man-tonsils from time to time with a small set of digital scales that she once kept in the kitchen but now stored in the bottom of her bedside cabinet. The facts spoke for themselves. He was on the way to becoming a decent father, at last.
As the nights drew in, and Coleen approached her twenty-eighth birthday, she considered the progress that she’d made with her project, and counted it generally to be a success. True, there were a few drawbacks: the hair-loss, the mood swings, the incipient man-boobs, the tendency recently for Terry to slur his words. But his ornamental fruits had at least dwindled in scale from ripe figs to peeled lychees, and Coleen sensed too that Terry was preparing to ask her, or maybe tell her something important – perhaps that he now wanted to settle down and start a family. Who knew? But Coleen was sure, as women often are, that her partner was holding something back and waiting for the right moment to broach a subject of great importance. He was twitchy and evasive, but excited. Expectant.
And then it happened. After dinner one Thursday night – coq au vin and sherry trifle washed down with a bottle and a half of Chardonnay for Terry; a mung bean salad with sparkling mineral water for Coleen – he stood up, rather unsteadily, and said:
“Wai’ there C’leen. Wai’ there! I’ll be back down ‘n a m’nit.”
He stumbled up the stairs, and it sounded as if he was rummaging through drawers and struggling with the wardrobe.She wondered if he might be retrieving a gift of some sort. Some brochures, or a ring, maybe. There were a few moments of silence, and then she heard him thump downstairs. The dining room door swung open, a little more quickly than he might have intended, she thought, and he strode into the centre of the room.
“Wodya think?” he slurred, spreading his arms and swaying gently from side to side. “‘Sa present. F’you.”
She had never before been this close to a balding drunk wearing only a jewel-encrusted posing pouch. She eyed him with a mixture of curiosity and disgust: the stocky legs; the small triangle of sparkling cloth containing his shrunken assets; the large but saggy torso, rising from his waist like an inverted triangle of meat in a kebab shop; the mildly befuddled look on his face; the hint of a smile amidst his stubble; and all this, topped by a moth-eaten patch of thinning hair.
“Terry,” she said, “we have to talk. It’s about the wedding…”
© Gerry Webber 2014
Mascaro JS, Hackett PD, Rilling JK. Testicular volume is inversely correlated with nurturing-related brain activity in human fathers. PNAS, Published online September 9 2013
Want to know if your partner will be a good dad? Measure his TESTICLES: Men with small glands are more involved in parenting. Daily Mail, September 10 2013