Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times Column, if you want it. Enjoy.
I have scientific proof that the pregnancy test was invented by a man. Okay, so maybe not scientific proof, but I once took one, and that was all the proof I needed.
Just in case you’ve never had the pleasure, you can buy a standard home pregnancy testing kit at any chemist. The test itself seems simple enough at first. It comes in the form of a stick that you have to wee on. But you soon discover that it’s not just a pregnancy test you’re taking, it’s also a test of your aim, your IQ and your patience.
For starters the stick is really short, so if it’s the first time you’ve ever used one there’s a good chance you’re going to get wee on your hand.
The short stick aside, one of the main reasons I’m convinced it was invented by a man is because it’s perfect for use by a man. If say, in a parallel universe, one night, a man just happened to drink too much Sangria and ended up back at some chick’s place and one thing led to another and the condom was somehow unreliable, and he needed to figure out whether or not he was pregnant, then the current form of the home pregnancy testing kit would be perfect for him.
You see the area you need to wee on is really tiny, and men are rock stars at perfecting their aim. Us women just aren’t engineered like that. That’s why you never see a woman trying to write her name in the snow. Everything we’ve got is down under, so it’s not a matter of just pointing yourself in the right direction. You need bladder control, good timing and strong thighs for hovering. And you also need a big wee on board at the time of taking the test. If you only have a small wee then you’ve got to make damn sure you’re ready to move that thing around until you hit your target, while still being agile enough to keep your hand out of the way of the stream. An instruction manual to build a nuclear reactor, all in Japanese, is less complicated.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful, of course in the big scheme of things the pregnancy test is a phenomenal invention and we’re lucky to have it. But surely the logistics of it would have been a little better thought through had it been invented by a woman. We put people on the moon for crying out loud, is it too much to ask that we don’t have to wee on ourselves to find out if we’re pregnant or not.
And once you’ve finally figured out your aim and you’ve got the weeing on a tiny stick part sorted, then all you have to do is wait five agonisingly long minutes and then just decipher a complicated set of hieroglyphics that appear out of the wee to inform you whether you’re puking because you ate bad oysters, or because you’re up the duff.
Apart from the home pregnancy testing kit, other things I believe men should never be allowed to invent include tampons, quiche, mascara, breast-feeding pumps and of course lady’s underwear. Imagine if men invented all our panties? You would only be able to choose from a G-string, or a G-string. And every single pair would be made out of lace, using only the most miniscule amount of fabric they could get away with. There would be absolutely nothing practical and comfortable to wear on those days when you just aren’t feeling all that hot, and we would never have even heard of granny panties.
But back to home pregnancy testing kits. I checked on Wikipedia and they were actually invented by a man, two of them in fact. Told you so. It’s a nasty business, one that could have been avoided if a man hadn’t gotten involved. Come to think of it, if a man hadn’t gotten involved from the very beginning, we wouldn’t need this invention in the first place.