Upon my arrival in the UK last week, my dear friend and hospitality provider Dr. Santiago Ballsbridge* informed me that there was a reality television show appropriately called Embarrassing Bodies that required my immediate attention. As we crammed into a cab he went on to explain the tantalizing premise of EB - namely that three doctors (Dawn Harper, Christian Jessen and Pixie McKenna, respectively) examine and treat patients with seemingly strange, obscure and very embarrassing medical issues that they are too shy**to discuss with a physician privately. It sounded enticing, but I was tired and cranky and perhaps wasn’t displaying the kind of enthusiasm that Dr. Ballsbridge has come to expect of me regarding such things as this, so he went on to describe a specific case to pique my interest.
“This one guy goes to the doctor and his penis looks like this (holds index finger in a bent, C-shape). They show the exam on t.v.! They show the whole thing and his dick looks like this (hooking his index finger)! And it gets worse when he has an erection – it curves further around and sideways, like a horseshoe. A very unlucky horseshoe. Like this!”
Sold! We were scarcely out of the car before I was frantically plugging adapters into my computer so that we could watch this enchanting bit of entertainment. Dears, I was not disappointed.
Never before in the history of television has a reality show been so simply and aptly titled. The illnesses that affect the good people featured on EB are not merely embarrassing, they are fucking MORTIFYING. Tubular breasts, vaginal thrush, hemorrhoids the size of plums, a buried penis- and let us not leave out the unfortunate gentleman with thebent wang (Peyronie’s Disease, we learned from EB, could be corrected by surgery – but not without a significant loss of length. He opted for the surgery and lost a generous inch - win some, lose some). I can’t believe that a person would agree to be on t.v. discussing something so personal – let alone allowing themselves to be filmed and broad-casted while receiving a full medical exam and subsequent treatment. Though I was repulsed, I was inexplicably drawn to EB like a sonicating butt probe to a piles-afflicted anus.
I must confess, there were some things that I just couldn’t watch. This may seem odd, given my predilection for horror films and gore in general, but I had a particularly hard time viewing surgeries and issues with teeth – but for the most part, Embarrassing Bodies was nothing short of MAGIC. I will be crushed when I return to the States and can no longer partake of this treasure.
*his name has been changed to protect the innocent – namely, his lovely bride – as well as preserve what little dignity remains for us all after my visit.