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Help! I've got 'schlong Covid'

10 September 2021

7:10 AM

10 September 2021

7:10 AM

One of the difficulties with having difficulties in your gentleman’s area is describing it to your doctor. Saying ‘I’ve got a problem with my willy,’ makes you sound like a five-year-old. ‘Penis’ sounds whiny and American, and everything else sounds like you might be being deliberately rude. I went for ‘I think I’ve got Covid on my cock,’ which I hoped didn’t make me sound like a hypochondriac and was suitably forthright for a man-to-man encounter with one’s GP.

‘OK,’ says a politely interested Dr McCall. ‘What’s precisely wrong with your cock?’

Now a crisis of confidence. ‘Well… ever since I’ve had Covid… Every time things are feeling like they’re beginning to get going… It now feels a bit like it’s wearing a polo neck which is several sizes too small.’


At this point, even Dr McCall runs out of strict medical terminology and, following a mercifully brief examination, we have a long, involved discussion about a vital piece of a gentleman’s anatomy called the ‘banjo string’. Unfortunately, it turns out that banjo strings are particularly vulnerable to autoimmune diseases — such as those triggered by Covid.

Even more unfortunately, rather than prescribing me a pound of beefsteak and a pint of beer every six hours, as I had hoped, Dr McCall pointed out that this was an as yet unheard of but potentially feasible side effect of coronavirus. Rather like Covid toes. ‘The good news is that there is a cure,’ he tells me. ‘How would you feel about circumcision?’

Well, it’s a good way to cheer people up who are genuinely suffering from long Covid. I raised the matter with some friends at a recent stag party. George, who hasn’t been able to drink since he had the virus in November, felt a real lift. ‘I’m going to go to work with a spring in my step,’ he said, nursing his Wetherspoon’s Coca-Cola. ‘I may have had non-stop headaches for the last ten months but at least I don’t have Covid on my cock.’

‘Schlong Covid?’ suggested Quentin, a Jewish member of the party, who suggested we have a bris periah, the Jewish ceremony to mark a circumcision. But is circumcision later in life a good idea? Dr McCall said he packed off a patient in his eighties for one recently. I’m pushing 40 and, ridiculous as it sounds, I feel a large part of my personality is bound up in my malfunctioning member. Circumcision also attracts some strong opinions. Hearing our conversation Tommy, a mindfulness coach, stepped in.

‘I’m dead against circumcision. I think it’s morally wrong,’ he announced just as Quentin was explaining the conflicting emotions he felt watching his two dear sons go under the knife. Tommy went on to describe how some Buddhists believe that circumcision can disconnect oneself from the body’s Sacral Chakra. At which point I ran away.

I can’t find any figures for ‘schlong Covid’. There are no studies in the Lancet or online support groups. Perhaps I will only find out the truth when I see the waiting list for the urologist. Still, I’m writing this having walked past the Covid mural on the South Bank, imprinted with heartbreaking message after message of tragic loss. We could probably all do with a good laugh after the last 18 months. Even if it is at my expense.

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