There’s nothing less funny than realising you’ve got an STI right? Wrong. Finding the humour in a pretty rough situation, this single gay man shares his experience of discovery, treatment and recovery. Here is his guide to identifying and getting rid of the gnome with a light saber in your pants.
When the stabbing burning sensations had me jiggling around in my seat at work and a co-worker asked “Are you okay?” I could hardly reply “Well Sharlene, it feels like there’s a gnome armed with a light saber in my boxers, but do tell me more about the dog show in which Boopy came in third on the weekend…”
After a couple of days following the ‘surely it’ll just clear up on it’s own’ strategy, I relented. I set my alarm for an unreasonably early hour and set off on my bike for the Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic.
I did this without urinating. I cycled, without urinating. And by that I don’t mean that drive (ride?) by pissings are normally a feature of my day. But you see, when you’re about to be tested for STIs it’s important that the urine they gather be THE FIRST OF THE DAY and thus I had to hold it. All morning.
There has been a recent debate in Brunswick about getting rid of the historic cobblestone roads and pathways. I’d previously been a mild supporter of the cobblestones and wanted their quaint charm to remain. After a day of cycling along very bumpy but pretty looking terrain trying to hold onto a full bladder? Well, I can firmly declare that I am now opposed to cobblestones in all forms. They are evil.
The clinic was awfully uncomfortable. I’m anxious at the best of times and I couldn’t help but feel as I walked in the door, that every person was eyeing me and playing “Which STI does he have?”
It didn’t help that the only seat available was next to a couple who were quite passionately making out. Is there a less appropriate place for the exchange of bodily fluids? It’s like doing a poo in a soap factory or hunting in a zoo.
Soon I became desperate. I couldn’t keep waiting there any longer with nothing to do – especially not wee. I had to distract myself from the writhing going on to my left – so I went digging into my bag for snacks… only to realise that all I had was a banana.
Could I just eat it normally in a place like this? It seemed disgraceful. Some of the people in that room could have caught serious diseases from performing the motion I’d inevitably have to execute in order to consume my phallic fruit.
So I had to start eating it from the middle, which looked even weirder.
Once the nurse had actually called my name things ran surprisingly smoothly. Sure it’s awkward dropping your pants and having samples taken. But when she smilingly declared “it’s gonorrhoea” I felt like hugging her. Of the many causes of burning sensations amongst gay men – gonorrhoea felt like winning the $100m Lotto, the US Presidency and the Melbourne Cup all in one day.
And then… then I had to inform my recent sexual partners. As I’m a gay man, there have been a couple. And I’m bad at awkward phone calls so Tom, Sam, and Antonio, if you’re reading this… you need to go to the doctor.
(I’m kidding of course, I called them all personally and they all took it surprisingly well.)
There’s a serious side to all this. I spent a long time on online forums, trying to work out what I had and was astounded by how many men, gay and straight reported exactly my symptoms but didn’t go to doctors.
I also wanted to write about the experience for Mamamia partly because gonnorehea’s one of those annoying infections that often resides in the back of the throat (that, by the way, is how I probably caught it, I’ve never had unprotected ‘proper’ sex). Which can of course be a problem for ladies as much as for men.