Friday 20 October 2017

Kevin Myers: Society neglects external plumbing at its own risk

What would happen to the hospital which set up the first department of Andrology? How long would it last before it was closed down by pickets led by Fallopia Whynge and her feminist-sister, Ovaria Rant, or its funding was cut off by an indignant government, or the UN introduced sanctions against it?

Andrology is a word that (I think) was born in this column, and will probably die here, knowing no other life but the repetitive verticality in which journalism generally expresses itself. I wish I could give the little thing a better life than this dreary North Korea, but it is not within my power: we are both confined to the narrow custodial margins of this columnar dungeon.

Andrology is the male version of gynaecology: yet such is its utter non-existence that my computer audibly splutters every time I type it, underlining it crossly, as if to say: "Get that chauvinist, gate-crashing imposter out of here!" However, far from being the last-formed branch of medicine -- and in this space alone, alas -- andrology should logically have been the first. Consider: so many boy-babies die at birth that nature adjusts the imbalance by making sure more of us are born. Thereafter, we who survive the First day of the Somme that is obstetrics are more prone to mental illness, as any trip to a bedlam will confirm, more prone to suicide, more prone to accidents, more prone to most kinds of disease, and more prone to die in war. And if all these don't kill us off, then we still die younger than woman, and in all societies. Yet we are not the chosen recipients of special medical care. Quite the reverse: we are officially neglected. Hence the lexical vacuum where there should be andrology.

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