OPINION: 'Why don't men like talking about their prostate?" asks an advertisement for a natural health products company, writes Joe Bennett.
Well now, good on the natural health chaps for raising the subject, but I wish they'd go easy on the generalisations. Some of us like nothing better than to talk about our prostates. Lyttelton Friends of the Prostate, for example, convene every month.
Here's the sort of thing we get up to:
Agenda for August meeting of LFoP, to be held at Perry Stallsy's house, 1 Grim Lane: Minutes of previous meeting.
Report on fundraising drive for second-hand proctoscope.
Goodwill mission to Borneo to promote Prostate and General Glandular Awareness (PAGGA).
Petition to UN to make 2017 the Year of PAGGA.
Invitation to a fraternal pot-luck offal dinner from the Friday Thyroid Club.
The Moon and Your Prostate, a brief talk from the president, where he will address the vexed issue of menstruation envy.
Any other business.
So as you can see, there's a lot of prostate chat going on, and not just ill-informed tittle-tattle.
Nevertheless, our group is interested in the company's High Potency Prostate Formula because we have formed a commercial arm and are about to become competitors. "Keep your prostate healthy," trumpets the ad, and so say all of us.
Their formula contains lycopene, zinc, pygeum africanum, saw palmetto, pumpkin seed and nettle root, "ingredients not often found in the average diet".
Good stuff, but at LFoP we like to think we've gone one better. Our soon-to-be-launched super prostate booster contains ingredients never found in the average diet. They include "sciency words, Latinate sprinkles, various scrap metals, exotic plant extract, one recognisable thing for reassurance and a paradoxically non-poisonous bit of a mildly poisonous plant". It should go down a storm with the prostate community.
Of course, we won't be explaining how these ingredients benefit a prostate. Indeed, we'll be careful not to claim explicitly that they do. There are just too many litigious cynics out there. We'll simply rely on our customers to recognise that our ingredients are natural, unusual and formed into tablets that come in a pill bottle just like the one you get with a prescription, so what else could they do but restore the bloom to a jaded prostate?
The ad also plugged a re- energising supplement called ULTRA Resveratrol & CoQ10. It's a beautiful name. You feel re- energised just by reading it, what with the hyperbolic appeal of ULTRA, the medicinish ring of Resveratrol, and the oblique allusion to sexual potency in CoQ10. According to the blurb, the ingredients in ULTRA "may help support cardiovascular health, increase energy, circulation and promote healthy ageing".
That sentence is a masterpiece of equivocation and grammatical confusion, as I'm sure you'll agree, but at LFoP we think we can top it. We're about to release our own energy supplement and the director of marketing has presented the following draft blurb to the committee for approval.
"We have scoured the world to source utterly unique all-natural ingredients such as huile de serpent and credulity berry and combined them to create MEGA Optimol BringBackBoing1000. These ingredients may possibly help support, or at least not actively damage, your dream of unlimited energy and a prostate so healthy it could win Wimbledon."
Convincing? We think so. And if we're right, just watch us move. Because we're ambitious. A quick flick through Wikipedia reveals there are simply hundreds of glands in the human body, both endocrine and exocrine (and even a few clever critters that are both). And we want to get men talking about them.
We want to see knots of blokes in the Irish bar, heads down over their beer, comparing pineal performance. It'll be au revoir to the All Blacks as subject du jour, and hello to the hypothalamus.
Men have to realise just how many bits there are in the body that can and will go wrong unless they take a pill to boost them. And we'll sell them the pill.
The nub of the matter is men must learn to look inwards rather than outwards.
They must become obsessed with their health. They must learn to worry about things they've never worried about before.
They must learn, in short, hypochondria. And above all, in a world that bristles with threats, they must forget all that old- fashioned tripe about trying to live bravely or do good, and they must realise that the sole point of being alive is not dying.
And once they've got that into their heads, we'll make a killing.
- © Fairfax NZ News