The sheer symbolism of what’s in a man’s pants may be a factor. As Harrison Pope and Katharine Phillips write in their book on male body obsessions, The Adonis Complex, genitals have been equated with “virility, procreative potency, and power” throughout history. This has been compounded by an apparent rise in general masculine vanity. Figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons show the total number of male procedures doubled between 2005 and 2015, with breast reduction, rhinoplasty and neck lifts especially popular. For those in need of rejuvenation, surgery is cheaper and more easily available than ever.
In a last brief conversation with Alistair, he asks if I would ever consider going under the knife. I tell him I’ve seen such a bewildering array of shapes and sizes over the past few weeks, I don’t even know what normal is any more. If it does the job nature intended, I say, that should be enough. For many men wanting an enlargement, it’s probably not so much about what’s in their pants as what, somewhere along the way, has got into their minds – and that can’t be fixed by a fat injection and a severed ligament.