In the real world, Enzyte proved a massive hit with late-night TV watchers and men's-magazine readers. At the Enzyte launch in 2001, Berkeley Nutraceuticals employed some 15 people, mostly friends and family of Steven Warshak; Warshak's septuagenarian mother Harriet even helped out in the business. By 2004, Berkeley had grown to 1,500 employees and ran a twenty-four-hour call center to process orders. That year, it sold $250 million of supplements — most of it Enzyte.
6 weeks passes and I still can’t achieve a full erection. My maximum was 70% and I was having weird symptoms with my member. I had developed a torsion of maybe 10 degrees, as in the head was rotated. Nothing too grotesque as I’ve seen other guys born with this naturally, but it just wasn’t straight anymore. The other symptom led to seaches online pointing to something called ‘hard flaccid,’ something not medically recognized as a real symptom. My penis would not go soft basically. It felt rubbery and stiff all the time, and it only relaxed to what I was used to if I was urinating or laying down on my back. It’s resistant to being moved and prevents me from getting an erection while standing up.
This evaluation is something all clinics I speak to insist on. It involves a patient meeting with a surgeon or psychologist to have their general mental wellbeing assessed. If there is any hint of underlying concerns, problems or mental health issues, the operation does not go ahead. But, given that such a refusal would mean clinics losing £5,000 a pop, one does wonder how rigorous these assessments are. Is the entire industry just profiting off insecurity bordering on dysmorphia?
Not all operations leave happy customers – infections and scarring are both potential side-effects (“This is the same as an operation of any kind,” Viel says). Some men report a decline in angle after the suspensory ligament is cut, but according to David Ralph, a professor of urology at UCL, “By and large, patients don’t complain about that. The operation doesn’t change the erect length at all – this is only for men who have anxiety about how they look in the changing rooms. The average increase in size is 1.3cm, less than the diameter of a 1p coin. In my clinics, I show patients one of these and ask if they still think it is worth it. Less than 5% decide to, and of those who do, the satisfaction rate is just 20%.”
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.