The moment of truth. Don Rowe approaches the Testimatic.

Up close with the Testimatic, the man-machine that squeezed my balls

The Testimatic is New Zealand’s first medicinal glory hole, providing an eye-contact-free testicular examination. Don Rowe gets his balls squeezed in public.

“If you don’t do it, your story is bullshit fake news,” the man said. “That’s journalism – you have to do it or really you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”

He had a point.

Glenn, no last name given, is a salesman who, until today, had never had his balls squeezed by a professional. He’d had a finger in the arse though and he reckoned it was no big deal. I told him I was feeling a little bit anxious, staring down a medicinal gloryhole in a crowded expo hall.  

“What, are you less of a man because you’ve had your balls squeezed in public?” he demanded. “That’s fucking pathetic. Would you put a seatbelt on after a crash, or before it?”

“Um. Probably before it.”


There were beads of sweat forming on Glenn’s nose. An animal look in his eye. He seemed excited. I felt dread. My heartbeat grew irregular: thump, thump, thump … THUMP. I scanned the hall. There was a stall selling ban 1080 shirts, a vape shop, a jeep wearing a hat and it, the elephant in the room – The Testimatic.

The Testimatic as it appears in promo materials

It arrived three days earlier shrouded in secrecy, a heavily embargoed press release perfectly crafted to set The Spinoff office alight. The world’s first ball checking machine, a new frontier in the fight against testicular cancer, available this weekend at the hilariously pandering Big Boys Toys. The Testimatic, it said, allows for a painless, stress free examination of the balls.

“Step up to the Testimatic, pull the curtain, drop your pants and wait for a Urologist or GP to reach through a small opening to check the occupant’s testicles. The whole process will only take 30 seconds, without any eye contact being made.”

To be totally honest, I would prefer to look a man in the eyes if he’s grabbing my gear. There is no space for anonymity when my balls are involved. That seemed fundamentally incongruous with the handles, which you might imagine grabbing during childbirth, or a vasectomy. There are very few things I would trust less with my sack than a robot. And yet. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15-39, but with a 95% survival rate, it need not be a death sentence. You just have to find it.

“If you don’t do it,” said Spinoff managing editor Duncan Greive, “What really are you in journalism for?”

He had a point.

At the ASB Showgrounds I walked past Jack Daniels Alley, where three train-shaped BBQ’s spewed meat smoke and a herd of bogans sank cans to the late Chris Cornell. I walked past the digger exhibition, just a gold coin donation to smash something with an excavator. I looked not at the jerky stands, or the promo girls, or the endless corny man-branded food.

The Testimatic wasn’t hard to find, situated as it was in the centre of Expo Hall 2. I’m used to a bit of privacy when it comes to testicular relations. This was downright exhibitionist. I felt my balls recede inside me like the head of a sad turtle.

Ajay Makal has felt thousands of testicles in his time. He knows the scrotum like the back of his hand. Every line, every crevasse is ingrained in his mind, like a maze savant. Any irregularities, any lumps, bulges or idiosyncrasies would be caught – no imperfection could escape his deft touch. But what exactly should a nut feel like?

“I always use the feijoa example,” he said. “You want your testicles somewhere between a ripe and a green feijoa.”

Having a great time.

Feijoa? Would my testicles emerge bruised and soft, like a much-squeezed avocado? Would I awaken something, and really, really enjoy myself? We shook hands. His grasp was firm. I stepped behind the curtain. 

Oh to have your testicles squeezed in public! I thought of king, I thought of country, I thought of England. I hoped I wouldn’t like it. The hole was a little low, and so I crouched in horse stance. Ajay checked left and he checked right. He rubbed thumb and forefinger like the gesture of a man counting money. The seconds went by. I stared ahead with a thousand yard gaze. I heard laughter. 

It was over. I pulled back the curtain. Fully seven promo girls had arranged themselves in a half circle.

“Aw, hon, do you need a cigarette after that?”

It hurt, but not as much as testicular cancer.

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