Bang for so long you’ll break the headboard! Mutate your toothpick into a tree trunk! Don’t be the puny boy you are for eternity! Ejaculate like a fountain! Grow so big you’ll convert a lesbian! Women measure love in inches! Get more flesh on your pole!

And now that I have your attention, we need to discuss why intelligent men are handing over their credit card details for protein powders, muscle enhancers, testosterone boosters, energy drinks, protein bars, amino-acid packets and muscle-building cereals.

Products dubiously named: Ultra-Muscle-Max, SuperSize-Me-500, High-Five-Hercules, Fit-Blast-Fantastic, Demonic-Anabolic-Supersonic, Gut-Begone, Pro-Power-Powder, Bigness-Booster and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Well, probably because we’re all looking for a shortcut. Why eat clean and train mean when you can mix a milkshake? Muscle-in-a-can? Sign me up! Another reason, and one we’d never admit to, is because deep down we’re unhappy with ourselves.

Male insecurity is big business, and intrepid snake-oil salesmen take elements of our corporate identity and some basic psychology to set up websites where they fleeced guys looking for a quick fix. Even with regular warnings on social media (LIKE us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter!), and a bold yellow strip running across our (ALL NEW!) website, readers were, are, still being caught out, losing money and gaining nothing more than a red face.

And it’s interesting that this happens more in the summer months. You know who’s not being fooled? The guy who engaged in his beach body routine in June… The guy who’s been eating right and following a workout programme… The guy who puts in the work. But that’s a lesson for a different column. And maybe that guy who is so happy with his body is busy rubbing an ointment into his baldpate?

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Forget the macho posturing. the male ego is a very fragile thing, and every man save for Ryan Gosling has a hankering to be less fat, not quite so thin, more hairy, taller… We’re all
a little bit too-something. And it’s driving us to Michael Jackson levels of desperation trying to match up with our preconceived ideal. Whatever that is. (Probably Ryan Gosling).

And unlike women who talk freely about their insecurities (in fact some of them never shut-up about the size of their asses), us guys bottle our feelings up, put on a brave face, and then operate on cocaine-level confidence while deep down we’re quivering blobs of self-doubt.

Sure you can fool some people sometimes, but there are certain people who get conned all the time: bald men, fat men, men who need to – as one email subject line so delicately put it – put more flesh on their pole. From late night infomercials (“Call now and we’ll throw in the bicep-boosting bake kit!”) to pavement-pounding purveyors of pamphlets (“I fix bad smells and money problems and get rid evil spirits for nice-price”), we are inundated with slimy salesmen who exploit that inner voice that says, “Well, it couldn’t hurt to try…”

Low self-esteem, male insecurity, is a big-money industry. What’s a coupla rands to fix a big, or small, problem? So, like I said, as the guy responsible for answering the inbox messages on the MH Facebook page I’ve become something of an authority on male insecurity, and the big three are:

1. Body
Firstly, there’s no gym that can make you taller. Yoga and Pilates might give you better posture and a pair of boots with Cuban heels will give you an extra inch or two, but if you’re short then best you get used to it. Fat dude wants to lose his gut? We have a Belly Off! diet plan for that. Skinny dude wants to bulk up? Here’s a list of 30 foods that build muscle. But I tell the guys wishing they were a little bit taller the same thing every time – learn to love yourself, man. Which is difficult – Manorexia is on the rise – but I’ll let you in on a little secret. The shirtless dude on the cover of our magazine? He’s a freak. His job it is to look like that. While you do the school run and then work your nine-to-five before making dinner for the kids and helping them with their homework, that guy has a to-do-list that comprises eating leafy greens and doing pull-ups. Come shoot day there’s a make-up artist, lighting tricks and the fact that the guy is in his early 20s. So when we see Joe Average wanting the best of both worlds – being a contributing member of society with a male model’s physique – especially when his solution is forking out for quick fix solutions like pec implants, bicep implants, ab implants and ass implants, we say, Whoa! Workout. Eat properly. You’ll live longer and look better for it. Just don’t go beating yourself up if you’re a 35-year-old man who can’t achieve Cover Guy abs. And don’t think that you can pay for them, either.

2. Hair
I wrote extensively about this in “Baldilocks”, so I’ll keep it short. Like my hair. Oof! Life tip: never trust a bald man with hair. Sure, going bald sucks. Worse is how most men react when it happens, attempting to disguise their thinning hair, receding hairline, or chrome-domes by creatively arranging the few remaining strands, putting in plugs, enlisting a repertoire of props or throwing money at the problem for a myriad of medicines… This is what you need to know: if kajillionaires like Donald Trump, Shane Warne, Wayne Rooney and even Jacques Kallis, can’t use the available hair-growth tech to bring their hair back, then what chance do you have, pal? Sure, Rogaine can slow hair loss and Propecia might make some of your hair grow back again, but with side-effects that may cause erectile dysfunction and definitely results in moths flying out of your wallet whenever you open it, perhaps it’s better to just face baldness like Jason Statham did – a round-house kick to the face of male insecurity and then wifing Rosie Huntington-Whitely.

3. Sex
This one’s a biggie. Even more than the body that we come packaged in or the fur that crowns the top of our heads, it’s that dangly bit of flesh between our legs that we devote most of our brow-furrowing to. Not only how it looks, but how we use it. Some think farting in front of a new girl signals that you’re finally comfortable in the relationship, and maybe it does, but I believe it’s once you’ve mustered up the courage to ask how you compare to her past lovers. “How much bigger? Did they go longer? Could you come with them?” That’s what really puts your heart in her hands (Life tip: ladies, when asked this question, lie). Our dick is confidence-central, and perhaps the source of most men’s insecurities. Which explains why we’re subjected to the barrage of spam mail on a daily basis, the abovementioned subject lines being just the more creatively worded subject lines. And if size is not an issue, then maybe it’s the shape, whether it’s been cut or not, if it curves, if it’s thick enough, veiny, not veiny enough… And then there’s the balls… Guys will go through great lengths in attempting to fashion themselves their ideal. Surgery means cutting ligaments that connect your penis to your abdomen, which make it look better in the change-room but will make it harder to get hard in the bedroom. Pills are rubbish. Creams don’t work. Pumps and stretching machines are painful and impractical. And the East’s solutions seem to be wiping out everything from Aardvarks to Rhinos, with the only thing growing being the amount of people who have now seen Steve Newman’s dick.

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Well you’ll be glad to know that all is not lost. There are solutions. Fat? Cut out carbs, eat a vegetable every now and again, don’t booze so much and take the stairs instead of the lift. Weak? Lift some weights. Eat a steak. Sign up for karate lessons. Bad at sex? Put in some more foreplay and learn that, like a video game, each woman needs different buttons to be pushed. Small dick? Shave your pubes, lose some weight, accept what you’ve got and use it better.

Easier said than done, but there you go…

Otherwise you’ll be glad to know that there is a silver bullet that slays ladies far better than Cover Guy abs, Justin Bieber’s coif and a truncheon in your pants that you know how to wield.

Money.

Stop spending it on snake-oil and you’ll do just fine.

What, you don’t have money?

Now there’s something to worry about…