So there's this guy. Let call him 'B'.
I went to see B this weekend. And because he and I are...dating, there was the inevitable rollicking saucy business to deal with.
I mean, contraception.
Oh God, it's a ridiculous state of affairs. I'm FOURTY FOUR for Christ's sakes, too old for condoms or femidons or caps (are they the same thing? I've no idea). I can't take the pill. I don't want a coil. And B very selfishly didn't have a surprise vasectomy in the last few days.
And yet, the stakes are high. I didn't want a baby when I was a teenager. Well - multiply that 'didn't want' by a trillion billion and you just about get how much I don't want a baby now. Just the thought makes me have a tiny bit of sick in my mouth.
Not that I don't like babies. I LOVE babies. And I loved my babies. But I had them 14 and 12 years ago, and since then, I've got a bit more tired. My eyes don't work as well. I've got grey hairs. My bottom's spread out. And sometimes I don't quite get to the toilet in time.
So you see, I've got enough challenges at the moment. Which is why the contraception issue needed to be solved.
As it turned out, at the crucial moment, we had nothing better than the standby box of Durex. The packet was duly scuffily ripped apart, the innards applied, and the deed was done.
Afterwards, I said, as I always do, "Can you just check it?"
"Oh yes, everything's fine. Oh. Hang on."
I looked up, and he held up the sad little see-through bag. There was nothing - I mean nothing - in it.
I heard this 'gadjunk' noise and it took me a little while to realise that it was the bottom falling out of my stomach.
"Ummm" (small voice) "I don't suppose you were mistaken about...you know..."
"No. There's a hole in it."
Now listen to me, makers of condoms. How the actual fuck can the 'power of fishes' make a hole in a condom? Are they ejected at such high speed that they take on the power of a laser, burning a hole through the latex - such is their desire to reach the failing egg of a burned out 44 year old? Because that seems to be what happened.
A miserable night's sleep ensued with lots of 'I'm sorry's and 'It's not your fault' and many, many trips to the toilet to try and squeeze the fishes out. (I've watched Call the Midwife so I know this works.)
And in the morning, B took me to the chemist at opening time to get the morning after pill.
Last time I asked for the morning after pill, I was 18. Precisely 26 years ago. I remember taking it and being very, very sick. I really would have preferred to eat a jar of cow's eyes than to take it again.
But, needs must (remember, I don't want another baby. It's key to the story). And the great thing about being in your 40s is, nothing is embarrassing any more. In fact, needing the morning after pill implies to the world that you have had sex, which at 44, is amazing.
So in a loud and confident tone, I asked the extremely young assistant, "I'd like the morning after pill, please" and with all my power, held back on giving her a cheeky wink which I would have so loved to do.
The young assistant backed away nervously and called the pharmacist - a woman with more piercings than you usually see in someone working in the medical field - and she took me into a little room next door.
She was very lovely. We had a bit of a laugh about my age, and how embarrassing it all was. She looked sympathetic when I told her about the fish-lasered condom. When I said that the previous pill had made me sick, she looked at me sternly. "Don't be sick with this one. Best to go on a walk. Take your mind off it." I nodded, taking on board her wise words.
She asked me whether there was alcohol involved (no). Any STIs (no). Am I already pregnant? (What the actual...NO!). And after a tiny bit of chit-chat about the weather, I left with a small box and a huge instruction leaflet. No charge.
She made me feel an awful lot better.
So. The pill was taken. There was some queasiness and an awful lot of tiredness but, to be honest, that might all have been a reaction to the horrifying thought that I might be HAVING A BABY. I didn't have a stroke (I was a bit worried about that). And today, I feel fine. The proof will be in the pudding in a week or so's time.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.