Today I want to talk about guys and what they have below the belt. It’s a bit of a new tangent for this blog but, I feel, an important one. And when I say ‘below the belt’ I do mean guys bits, the bits that separate us from the female of the species. I’m connected through the interwebby thingy to another Manchester blogger, Jordan McDowell, who blogs about fashion in the city. He does it well and gets invited to all kinds of swish parties in places like Selfridge’s and Harvey Nicks and gets to drink mid range champagne and eat canapés while models sashay past looking into the middle distance and wondering what the designer was on when he/she came up with the outfit they are showing off. I’ve met him once in the real world when the boot was on the other foot. I was invited to a party for the opening of the Mary Portas store in Kendal’s while Jordan crashed it in the hope of a quick word with the great lady. I’ve spotted him in the distance a couple of times (well actually it was his bright orange school satchel bag) and I saw him at a fashion event in a marquee in St. Anne’s Square once (he was being interviewed about his blogging) as we were on the way to the Royal Exchange Theatre. Jordan’s blog is in the links on the right if you want to check it out. Fashion Rambler…
We also follow each other on TWITTER and last week he tweeted about some unusual products he’d been asked, as a fashion blogger into good male grooming, to try for a company. I clicked on the link and read his post. I thought I knew as much as I need to about male grooming but what he’d been trying out was a new one on me. I tweeted him about it and he sent a reply. My tweets were picked up by the company who produces the male grooming products and they tweeted me. To cut a long story short I ended up being sent a complimentary set of the grooming products for me to try.
Now for the serious bit. Jordan had posted about the products which are aimed below the belt as part of his Movember campaign to raise funds for this cause. For people not au fait with Movember, it’s a campaign to raise awareness of cancers and other health issues that specifically affect men. In November guys grow moustaches and beards and raise funds. Similar things have been in place for female specific cancers for years now and these have led to these cancers declining as women are made aware of how to check for them. Finding a cancer early is always a good way to begin to beat it. Money raised has been ploughed into research into female cancers and new ways of fighting them have been developed. While the cancers haven’t been beaten yet, the chances of survival has been greatly improved. This is great. This guy is supporting the Movember campaign but seems to have taken it to the next level.
But male cancers seem to be something of a Cinderella with nothing like the money or research being put into them. Movember is working to redress this. There are two main cancers that specifically affect males. The first is testicular cancer which is a cancer that, mainly, affects younger men up to 40 or so. But guys as young as 14 can have it. I remember reading about a young man in the north east of England. He was just 16. He found this lump on one of his testicles and tried to ignore it, he told no one about it. He didn’t know what it was and, because of where it was, he was embarrassed to tell anyone. Eventually he did tell his older brother who took a look and got him straight to the hospital. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The doctors discovered that the cancer had already spread and within a few days of the diagnosis he had died. The cancer had killed him but ignorance and embarrassment had contributed a great deal to the outcome. Testicular cancer is an easy one to deal with if it is caught early and to do that guys have to regularly check their bits for anything unusual or different down there. If you find anything, get it check out. I’d rather be embarrassed than dead.
A second cancer that can affect males is prostrate cancer. This affects older guys. A lot of guys don’t even know they have one. It’s a gland at the top of the willy, inside of course, that produces the liquid that the sperm swim in. As a guy gets older it grows. In some guys it can turn cancerous. It’s a bit of a tough one as the symptoms don’t appear until the cancer is advanced. But there are tests that can be done and, failing that, a doctor’s finger up the butt is all that’s needed to see if anything is amiss. Caught early, this cancer is curable but men leave it too long to get it checked out. I’m keeping my eye on this one. A relative did have it so I’m swimming in a gene pool that could be affected.
The third thing the Movember campaign looks at is male suicide. Men are much more likely to commit suicide than women. The reasons are complex. They bottle things up, we don’t talk, men are more likely to live alone, they have fewer friends than women… It all adds up to a big problem. It’s probably the most difficult problem of the three.
Back to the grooming products. As I said I thought I knew all I needed about male grooming but this range was a new one on me. Male grooming has come on in leaps and bounds in the last half century. We’ve gone from a position where guys might have a weekly bath and splash on a bit of aftershave for a night out to one where guys are quite open about having even their most intimate bits waxed. Here are the products, there are three. I like the simple, no nonsense styling of the packaging that would appeal to guys. They fit nicely into my bathroom.
This is the first product, Fresh and Dry Balls. Below the Belt Grooming recommends you use this whenever you use an anti-perspirant. I really don’t want to know what the world was like before people used anti-perspirants. Most people use them these days but some are still strangers to them. They tend to stand next to me on the crowded tram into Manchester on hot days in summer. We are used to using them under our arms where tight clothes and sweat glands can cause a bit of a funk to develop. Well tight clothes and sweat glands surround a guy’s groin so I guess it makes sense to use one here as well. This one is specially formulated for the sensitive skin in this area. The product is quickly absorbed into the skin and it felt good. You are left with a film of talcum powder that keeps you dry and fresh. I liked this one.
The second product is the Waterless Shower. I’m with Jordan on this one. Nothing really beats a real shower with water and soap for a really fresh feeling. It’s a kind of clear gel that you rub into the groin area. It wasn’t sticky or wet and left a nice, cool sensation which lasted for a while. I can imagine it being useful after a long day at the office and you’re out in the evening and no chance of getting home to shower.
The last product is the Sports Lubricant. Had to wait to try this one out. Any guy who runs, cycles or does a sport that involves a lot of running about will know about chafing. I guess we’re just not designed down there to be so physically active for so long. There’s all kinds of bits down there trying to get along in a limited space and there’s bound to be a degree of rubbing together but in a bad way. You either have to keep everything tightly packed into a jock which can get sticky and funky or you go loose and risk chafing. I went on a longer than usual run to try this out. This product helped all my bits get along with each other much better than usual and there was no chafing. Job done!
Of course, while you’re down there applying all these products and potions, you might as well have a good check around and see if there’s anything unusual going on. If there is, get it checked out….
Check out Below the Belt Grooming at www.btbgrooming.co.uk