It’s no secret that I am absolutely nuts about men’s health. One way I spend my time is reading and summarizing different research studies about the topic. A lot of these studies look at disparities in men’s health, but I am interested in why they exist in the first place.
A few weeks back, I decided to poll my social media followers with a simple question—“Why don’t men discuss their health?” I was amazed by all the different responses. So far, we’ve explored Response 1 (“Men aren’t told to check themselves at doctor’s appointments”), Response 2 (“It’s awkward to talk to my mom about it”), Response 3 (“Talking about your health isn’t ‘masculine/manly/macho’”), Response 4 (“There is no Susan G. Komen for men.”), and Response 5 (“Men think they are invincible.”).
Over my next several columns, I will continue to share the collected responses and what we can do to fix them. Today’s my last column for June’s Men’s Health Month, and the next response gets to the meat of the matter.
Response #6: “Men keep it light out of fear and/or embarrassment.”
I’m a big fan of humor. I can’t even begin to write about the amount of times I was sent to the principal’s office in my middle and high school years for cracking a joke. Yet, I also know a thing or two about fear. Prior to my cancer diagnosis in 2016, my biggest fear was being a disappointment to my loved ones.
While that still ranks in the top five, nowadays my biggest fear is dying from a recurrence of testicular cancer. I was so worried that my urologist actually told me to limit how many self-exams I was doing. Turns out twice a day is too much, and once a month will do just fine.
But I digress. It’s not all about me. This response got me interested in what men fear most. I assumed dying would be high up on most lists. I read the first four articles that popped up on Google for “What do men fear most?”
Though my good friend “disappointment” was mentioned in two of them, I was shocked to see that no variation of dying, death, or health came up in any of the four. It’s hard to fathom that men fear other things above dying, but the Internet never lies—at least that’s what the Nigerian prince who is wiring me some money told me.
Yet, dying and discussing health can still be a topic of fear for many men.
Even if it didn’t pop up on my browse through the web, I have had many personal conversations with men about the fear of talking (or even thinking) about their health and possible complications. However, there’s also good news. We also know men like to keep things light. Let’s hit them where it hurts by pairing humor with important health information.
Case in point—my stand up comedy routine. If you check out this video here, you’ll see in the last 30 seconds, I underscore the importance of talking about men’s health and punctuate the point with various ball-related puns. People were laughing, but more importantly, guys came up to me afterwards to share how they want to take a stronger stance on their health now.
It’s that simple. It doesn’t have to be a lecture. Quick, witty, and to the point is all it takes. You never know; an expertly timed quip about men’s health could help crack the nut on this crucial matter.
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