My sports page, my penis

Meshed between my sports page's box scores, columns, betting lines, television schedules and athlete's of week -- they are there.  The penis ads: the ubiquitous portraits of snuggling elderly couples, or sexy young lovers, or glam blondes pulling a wife-beater just above the navel.  They are there, always.  

I don't really read them, I guess I just kind of know they are present, peripherally.  And while I understand the target marketing deal, and recognize that the New Millennium has brought with it the healthy unveiling of sexual taboo, I still react to said ads the same way, say, I change the channel when a tampon commercial comes across a Lifetime Network program that's on when I visit my folks' place.  That's just to say: it's not for me.

But my sports page is. I've been reading it everyday since I was nine years old, so I make it a personal point of pride to eye over and analyze, at some juncture, everything that's carried upon these sacred pages of stat and conjecture.  So I've spent a little spell observing these penis ads in my paper of choice over the past two weeks just to gather both what exactly these products and services are pitching, and whom they may be addressing.


In a 14-day span dating from late November to early this month, I noted that penis ads appear in my sports page about 60 percent of the time, or, a little bit more than every-other-day.  In total, I saw nine ads placed in 14 days.  While the struggling auto industry and its ads are still pitching sports page readers hardest, the penis business would seem to be, well, rising.

Most prominent among these advertisers, in said time span, is the Parnell Medical Group, with five ads.  Close behind is both the Midwest Urology Institute and the product Vazopren, with two ads each.  As per the aforementioned target audience, I was somewhat surprised that the wealth of the ads didn't appear next to Sid Hartman's column (just one did); rather, and perhaps curiously, the majority ran on pages reporting/boxing college sports' results.  While examining my notes, I concocted a Mad Men board room image of a circle of penis-ad suits diagramming cultured and confident, scotch-sipping Sid readers, paralleled with a bunch of horny, impatient dorm guys.

For the sake of thoroughness, I did some further reading on each company, and also phoned the number as advertised by each in the paper.  Here's a brief capsule of my findings:

Parnell Medical Group:  Very classy local ad with two fifty-somethings in mid-embrace.  They target Erectile Dysfunction specifically, and claim to offer "Real Doctors, Real Medicine, Real Results."  Their website is very well-designed and classy, and, in addition to the site's medical lexicon, there is a Products page offering, among other items, a $700 enlargement pump.

Upon calling the Group, I spoke very briefly with a friendly and welcoming gentleman who explained that during an in-person consultation I would undergo an ultrasound about the groin region to examine for blood flow.  That's followed-up by a test dose of an erectile dysfunction product that may find me with a boner for upward of 90-minutes.  The physician then directs you from there.

Midwest Urology Institute:  Another local group, with a pretty cut-and-dry ad that eschews an image for terminology: "Restore your sexual health.  Your specialists in erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, Peyronie's disease . . ."

No website for these guys, although, upon calling, I was told that a pamphlet could be mailed out to my home.  Again, a most kindly receptionist.  I was told that, should I come in for an initial consultation, some blood work would be done, the results of which I would receive a week later upon follow-up consultation.  The doc then prescribes and advises from there.

Vazopren: This is a very large, quarter-page ad that either sports the aforementioned blonde hottie, or, at times, a brunette tossing her hair.  They're selling performance-enhancing pills.  Lots of bold type and several exclamations.  "Go Big or Go Home!"  "Hurry while it's FREE!"  These guys have a website, but there's not much on there of value.  The phone number is of the "800" variety.

Upon calling the number, a super-jazzed up guy wasted little time in hammering out catchphrases like "performance," "endurance," "stamina," "intense."  He concluded his introductory pitch with a slew of adjectives ("bigger, harder, stronger, thicker") preceding the noun that is his trade.

Soon, however, the dude moved from patting my back to patting my wallet.  He ultimately hung up on me when I told him for the fourth time that I just wanted product information, and not a FREE TRIAL!

Take this knowledge for what you will, brothers and sisters.  And please know and note that I don't make light of this business.  I know it's a very real and frustrating problem for many.  As per Yours Truly, well, I'll simply sign off herein employing the words of Antoine Fischer who said in a wholly unrelated setting: "I'm still standing.  I'm still strong."