There’s More To A Man Than A Penis And A ProstateNovember 26, 2011 No Comments
It’s a sad fact that men still don’t look after themselves properly. Sure, we check for lumps on our nuts now and again, and have our glands probed by a chilly-fingered nurse in our Well Man exams; but as Dr. Larry Goldenberg, head of the department of urologic sciences at Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia recently pointed out, “There’s more to a man than a penis and a prostate.” (Dr. Goldenberg was awarded the Order of Canada in 2009, though presumably not solely for this observation).
Yes, although there may nowadays be a higher level of awareness of what might be called “male health,” there’s still a definite lacking in awareness of, and attention to, general health amongst males. We still eat badly, we drink too much, we don’t take enough exercise, and we generally die younger than women. Why do we do it to ourselves?
Is it because we give so much of ourselves to our families – protecting, bread-winning and home-building – that we have completely subsumed any thought for ourselves, ignoring our lifestyles and living only to pay for food and drive our kids to after school clubs? Has modern society reduced men to the level of simple machines, good for nothing more than working, inseminating, and support? Well, perhaps – but for every bloke eating a petrol-station pie while he waits for his daughter to emerge from ballet class, there’s a childless bachelor of equal girth and pallor washing down his pork scratchings at the pub round the corner.
Then is it because male behaviour is still rooted so deeply in the destructive rules of traditional masculinity? Are we still so bound to the “guy codes” of Take Risks and Show No Weakness that we can’t get out of the destructive spiral of racing strangers on the highway, drinking each other under the table and ignoring our doctors’ advice on dietary fibre? Well, I’m a total coward, I don’t care about being overtaken on the road and I wouldn’t bungee jump if you promised me the weight of my soiled underpants in gold. And I don’t think I’m alone. Just ask any guy about giving blood.
I think it’s something different. I think that men still don’t take enough care of their own health because men just face up to life less. We eat, drink and slob around because we’ve trained ourselves not to think about the consequences. We think about them for others – for example, more men than ever are making wills – but men still have some sort of selective blindness to their own wellbeing. They might make sure the future’s sunny for everyone else, but they compartmentalize this separately from their own prospects. It’s not self-sacrifice, and it’s not macho-ness; it’s just selective head-in-the-sand-ness. And we men are experts at it.
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