Norman and His Sore Willy

DAWN O'PORTER : 17 NOVEMBER 2011
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I arrived in Guernsey for a long weekend to stay with my Aunt and Uncle. I was raised by them, so this is my family home. What always surprises me about going home is how quickly I revert back to how I behaved as a teenager. I don’t know how they do it, but no matter how grown up, successful in love or career, or how much experience I gain in the big bad world, when I go home and see my parents I enter into a time warp that flits me from 32 to 15 almost instantly. This time I was determined for it to be different. I am a grown up now, and I shall behave like one!

As soon as I drove up the drive Aunty greeted me with an enormous cuddle, which I reciprocated lovingly. She then went on to tell me all about our neighbours willy.

EXCUUUUSE ME?

I put the kettle on and asked her kindly to change the subject. But no, she was stuck on our 85 year old neighbours willy, and that was just that.

I say, ‘Aunty, please can we stop talking about Normans willy now? It is having an odd effect on me.’

She laughs and seems to realize that the information she is offloading onto me is horrendous, but carries on regardless.

‘He has had to be circumcised, his wee is spraying all over and he is getting his bandages wet’.

Why is he TELLING her all this? He is a neighbour, not a relative and even then, EASY ON THE WILLY-CHAT OLD MAN! But old people are like that aren’t they? They need help so have to ask for it and that involves sharing delicate information. But that doesn’t excuse Aunty talking about his willy in the same tone she would use if she were talking about a non stick frying pan that had lost its stick.

The thing about Aunty is that you can talk to her about anything embarrassing and she talks about it like she is doing the weekly shop ‘Oh dear, they have run our of foreskins at the Co-op. Never mind, you spray-pooh all over the car anyway, and I will find someone to rub their discharge on my handbag’. She tackles awful business like it’s nothing. I admire her to the end for this, and have tried to take on the same level of fearlessness when discussing the awkward, but she is blessed with something most people are not. It is what doctors must have, the ability to cope with other people’s nasties without throwing up. It is as admirable as it is terrifying.

Something about Normans willy has really got her hooked. She is on fire with it, chatting away about his recent circumcision like it’s a village fete. I stood at the sink humming Bolero and counting all the birdies on the bird table outside. So while Aunty twittered on about wet bandages and uncontrollable wee wee fountains, I lost myself in nature – but then my view changed. The birds disappeared, blocked from my view by a massive man shaped object with its hands on its hips and its legs slightly apart. It was Norman.

What was I supposed to say? We all know Aunty well enough to know that part of the deal with her being approachable is that she tells people stuff. Not in a gossipy way, more in a ‘Morning, careful with how much force you use getting the paper through the letter box incase you catch Normans sore willy’ to the paper boy, kind of way. She slips big news about bodily functions into conversation without giving you any warning time to block your ears. I spent most of my teenage years running away from her in shock. But this time I couldn’t run away, I am an adult now, I must behave accordingly.

Aunty rushes outside. She launches into a string of questioning about the penis. ‘How is it Norman?’ Have you changed the bandage’? He chats back like he is discussing a disappointing lunch, and I wonder how the hell they have got to a point in their relationship as neighbours that this is easy for them.

He then sees me and Aunty confirms ‘Oh yes, look it’s Dawn. She is here for the weekend with Potato and Lilu’. Potato then runs out and jumps up at Norman, I find myself running like the woman in the Shake and Vac advert towards the penis to protect it from the dog and it’s paws. I am now face to face with the penis. Sure, it is under a heavy layer of denim (a questionable choice of trousers considering his condition) but I knew it was there, looking at me with all its wet bandages hanging off.

‘Hello Norman’ I squeaked as I stood up to look him in the eye. ‘Hello Dawn’. There is a moment’s silence. I want to handle this well, I really do. I don’t want to embarrass Norman, but I am really struggling with the possibility that he might mention his willy.

‘How are you, alright?’ he says.

‘Yup, yup good thanks, you?’

‘Yeah I am OK, well apart from my…

‘He’s got a sore willy’ interjects Aunty Jane like a ballistic missile.

I don’t remember what happened next but I am pretty certain it involved me putting my fingers in my ears and singing LALALA as I ran upstairs to the bathroom and locked the door. Opening it twice to let first Lilu and then Potato in. I sat on the toilet willing the grown ups to go away.

In just 1hr and 33 minutes it was as if the last eighteen years hadn’t happened.  I was fifteen again, and I had no plans at all to come out of the bathroom.