Fulfilling the role of a stereotypical man's man takes work, especially in this age of domestic and emotional enlightenment.
Much is made of the modern man '“Â you know, the ones who do the washing up and put the toilet seat back where they found it once they are done '“ but being a 'bloke' is how most of us would like to be regarded.
Proper blokes like a pint without being a drunk, they never, ever cry at films and they know what to do when the central heating packs up.Â
My membership to the Real Bloke's Club was automatically revoked whenÂ I took the very necessary precaution of having a vasectomy.
This isn't something you canÂ sugarcoat. Although I have done my best to be as euphemistic as possible when explainingÂ why I have spent a week walking like John Wayne in True Grit.Â
Vasectomies, although notÂ taboo, are not the thing blokes, orÂ anybody else for that matter, talk about.
When I explain to my pals what I have had done, I am met with either awkward silence or a wince and '˜rather you than me'.
The truth isÂ it was all relatively painless, over in no time at all, although I was knocked out for the duration, which some may regard as cheating. When I came round in the recovery room, it was to the sound of uplifting music although I am happy to report that it was neither The First Cut Is The Deepest or I Am Not The Man I Used To Be.
Family planning is a serious business and while there are other forms of contraception, the procedure I had is pretty much the most effective of the lot.Â And, of course it is available on the NHS, but for how much longer?
Health bosses in Oxfordshire, raised eyebrows when they announced vasectomies in their area would not be provided free of charge on the NHS in future.
They cited budget constraints as the reason and, given that the NHS is increasingly stretched, there is every chance we could see this happen elsewhere.
Society knows all too well the problems population growth and unwanted pregnancies pose '“Â a vasectomy is a simple procedure which should be available to all. Even real blokes.