The blood donation was successful and I’m now just under one pint down from my normal level. I also got me a keyring telling me my blood group just in case I ever forget that I’m O+. Free things are good.

But there was also a free thing that wasn’t quite so good. Somehow or other, I managed to get the trainee needle stabber person. She said if I wanted to get someone more experienced to put the needle in, I only needed to ask. Being brave, I said it’s OK… we all need to learn some time.

Big mistake. She put the needle in wrong – it hurt more than last time – and now I have pretty nasty looking bruises in my left arm. There’s a small triangle of red just before where the needle went in… but this morning I’ve woke up to also notice that there is an extensive area of green and yellow going up and down the underside of my arm. I look like a junkie. Bad luck or what…

I went on my own – surprise surprise after all my friends bottled it – and sat there waiting patiently. I got rid of the bone marrow nagger (I’m already on the register) and looked carefully around the room.

There was a good attendance, and there had been throughout the day. Only, it was a little skewed. Roughly 75% of donors were women.

I don’t know if this is repeated, but certainly here in a University student setting, the constant flow of people mostly involved women.

I think that says a lot. Us men spend the vast majority of our time trying to big ourselves up, looking manly and Tuff Guy to impress the ladies. We show them how you’re supposed to cope, with strength, determination, total coolness and complete lack of emotion.

Yet, we have a weakness. We don’t like to talk about it for it would shatter the illusion that we’ve worked so hard to create and maintain.

Yes. We’re shit scared of needles.

It’s all rubbish, of course. It was embarrassing that I was one of a handful of men to step up to the plate. We really are pathetic.

It’s time to drop the charade, guys. Just be genuine. Be yourself. It’s easy.

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