The faucet in the men’s room at my urologist’s office barely produces a trickle of water. 

What a place for a plumbing deficiency! 

I had stepped into the lav when a sweet young nurse asked me to make a deposit in a Dixie cup. I needed to prime my personal pump, so I cranked the “cold” handle, and a dribble ensued. 

As if their customers needed another reminder of how aging can rob us of certain pleasures. Peeing is the second-most enjoyable foamy head a guy can produce, after pouring out an icy mug of beer. 

No such luck at my urolgist’s office, and I suspect a plot. Guys who question their genital health make better repeat customers, as the makers of Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis know well. So a faulty faucet might be just the metaphor my doctor might have wanted me to contemplate as I walked into the exam room. 

I enjoy going to the doctor, in fact. Even a urologist. 

As an editor at Men’s Health, I know that there are a lot of guys out there who subscribe to the magazine instead of going to the doctor. After all, doctors make you do embarrassing stuff like pee in Dixie cups and pull your pants down. 

But magazine editors never ask a guy to do that. In fact, Men’s Health editors pull down their own pants so their readers don’t have to! 

And I’ll get to that moment. But first, let’s talk about why guys avoid doctors. 

According to stats we’ve run in Men’s Health, a solid majority of men—55%—haven’t been to see any doctor in the last year, and we’re not even talking about the embarrassing kind who look at your dribbling faucet. 

Many guys don’t see any kind of doctor at all between the ages of 20 and 40, the precise time frame when the average guy is twice as likely to die as the average woman. No wonder women outlive men by five years. We’re so busy fatally avoiding appointments!

What’s behind the white-coat aversion?

I’ll give you my top four theories. But my complete list has more reasons on it than Eskimos have names for snow.

First, some guys think they are too darn manly to go to the doctor. They consider a man in the waiting room the moral equivalent of a woman waiting to have her nails done: self-indulgent, self-obsessed, a malingerer. 

Of course, for 1/3rd of heart attacks, the first symptom is death. And keeling over dead, clutching your chest, is as manly as it gets, given our shorter lifespans. 

Second, there are the guys who are afraid of bad news. They’re worried about any number of symptoms they can’t face, so they avoid going to the doctor to for fear that their suspicions are founded. 

The logic is delicious to contemplate. So if you ignore a symptom, it disappears? Some guys hope so. Look how well it worked for Steve Jobs!

Are You Sick With Fear?

The third category of guys fear pain. I mean, who doesn’t? But for some guys even a little ouchie induces a kind of paralysis. They can’t reach for the phone and ask for help. 

Guys who haven’t been to the dentist in a decade fall into this category. So they tongue-probe a curious depression in that upper left molar, and worry, and avoid the hygienist. See you down at the root canal, pal. 

And then there’s the fourth category of guys, who find going to the doctor humiliating. There’s plenty to this one, too. Consider the hospital gown. What has Obamacare done to fix those, eh? Nothing! 

And yet, those ass-baring gowns are probably more to blame for lack of coverage than all the red-state governors laid end to end. But that’s with the exception of Republican governor Mark Sanford, who got laid all the way to Argentina. 

Governor Sanford’s end run brings me around to the juicy part of this commentary: my actual visit with the urologist. I was visiting the doctor for a kind of half-time chalk talk about what a male could expect in his third and fourth quarters, urologically speaking. 

I let fly with every question I could think of, but still couldn’t put off the moment when the doc issued an invitation for me to drop my drawers for an examination. 

It was the first time anybody had asked me to do that. It’s kind of sad, really. But my results were all good. 

How odd that is has taken me until age 58 to have one of my very favorite body parts examined by an expert. 

Think about it: Women have their first pelvic exam as early teens, and report every year for a routine spelunking. What do guys have? Smutty mythology passed along in the schoolyard, followed by an enthusiastic period of hands-on experimentation with their Johnsons, and then a period of loving care by sex partners. 

But unless your snakeskin gets nipped in a zipper, your serpent receives zero expert-approved herpetology. 

It’s an insult, in fact.

I’ll admit that I was relieved to zip up, pay my copay, and get the hell out of there. And I’m trying to forget that malfunctioning faucet. But the fact is, the right plumber ensures a strong stream, whether it’s flowing into the sink, the toilet bowl, or your left ventricle. 

Any which way, it pays to hire a professional. Otherwise you’re just following YouTube videos, and anything could happen.

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