DANI: Hey, there, it’s Dani Hemmat, and I’ve got Katy on the other line.
KATY: And Katy Bowman.
DANI: Katy Bowman is here. I’ve got a question for ya. Ready?
DANI: Off the hip: I’m cooking you pancakes for breakfast. What shape would you like me to pour your pancake in?
KATY: You’re cooking your pancakes off your hip?
DANI: Yes – no. That was the question shooting off the hip.
KATY: Okay, why, you should pour them in the shape of testicles, obviously.
DANI: That I can do! That’s just balls, no problem!
DANI: Two weeks ago – oh, it was a little less than two weeks ago, there was an awesome article in the Toronto Sun that somebody sent us about New York City’s MTA (Metro Transit Authority.) They’re taking on manspreading.
KATY: I didn’t even know what manspreading was.
DANI: I did not, either. I had an idea; it’s pretty clear. But it is exactly like it sounds. I looked up manspreading and it is exactly what you would think, right?
DANI: You’re sitting on a public transportation or in a folding chair in a conference or something and, fi you’re a guy, your legs are just kind of sprawled open. You’re letting the boys breathe. That’s manspreading. But I guess if you’re a little old lady on the subway with groceries, then that’s taking up a seat and it’s kind of an issue. So, let’s relate this to our last podcast we did when we talked about breasts. We’re talking about things that hang off us, but it’s from a guy’s perspective now.
KATY: It’s the balls show!
DANI: It’s the balls show.
KATY: All right! Bring it.
DANI: All right. So, we talked about the last show the natural loads that are interfered with when we strap down our sweater puppies, so let’s talk about the loads down there for guys. And since you don’t have a penis, Katy, and I don’t have a penis; we kind of have to rely on the gentlemen around us, the boys around us. I know that you don’t do comment sections, and I typically don’t, either, but I did want to find out what men had to say about this manspreading. Did you go through the comment section of that article in the Toronto Sun?
KATY: I never read the comment section!
DANI: All right, well, I did, and I wanted to know what the boys had to say about this whole manspreading thing, and it was funny because women commenting and all said it’s about dominance. But then men themselves – the ones who are doing the spreading and have the testicles and penises – most of them said they just want to air out the equipment. And one guy pretty astutely noted, and I never even thought about this because I don’t have testicles, but he said it takes very little pressure for ones’ testicles to feel uncomfortable. And depending on how far one’s balls hang down, it might be necessary to do the spread just so that you’re not screaming and having tears come out your eyes when you’re sitting down.
KATY: So all that – it’s like getting kicked in the balls is just one, large magnitude application of what they’re feeling all day on in their underwear? Not to point out – it’s kind of funny. So the sweater puppies – boobs are sweater puppies, but no man would ever call their balls boxer puppies.
DANI: Boxer puppies. No, but they could call them kerbangers or the hanging brain, or, you know.
DANI: Junk. Here’s my favorite: man jigglies.
KATY: Those all have such nice names, where all women’s dangling names sound weird. But anyway, okay, so is manspreading necessary, right? Is that a good question?
DANI: And also, I guess testicles matter is what I want to say.
KATY: They do.
DANI: They matter.
KATY: They matter so much.
KATY: They matter so much to the human race.
DANI: They do, in a way it’s kind of like –
KATY: But it’s kind of weird to like, say a man has got to keep his legs together – it’s kind of weird to say it’s a sign of dominance. So what does the woman keeping together a sign of? Like, why can’t you just put your body however you want?
DANI: Why can’t you just be comfortable?
KATY: Why can’t you just be comfortable? Why does everyone have to be uncomfortable?
KATY: For the sake of, of something that doesn’t even exist. These rules.
DANI: Yeah. I started karate and the women, when we kneel, the men are allowed to spread their knees apart. The women are not. And this chagrins me and my daughter to no end because it’s not comfortable to put my knees – you know, it’s just, when you’re kneeling it’s just weird. But, um –
KATY: But you gotta be a lady, you know.
KATY: That’s one of the requirements of karate, is that you’re a lady.
DANI: You’ve got to be a lady before you kick somebody. But so testicles matter.
KATY: They do.
DANI: Let’s talk about – we know why they matter, but let’s talk about the loads that are created when a guy goes commando. Everybody knows what commando is? That’s –
KATY: Another military term for your balls.
DANI: See, that’s cool. Trust me, there are some very unpleasant terms – I’m keeping them off the air.
KATY: Ok, that’s nice.
DANI: So don’t feel like your nose is all out of joint about this. What happens when we bring tighty-whities or compression shorts when they come into the picture?
KATY: Yeah. Well, I guess again it’s part of the natural loads – it’s the natural load stuff, right? It’s in Move Your DNA, the book that we’re just talking – it’s like, what are the natural loads to the body? It’s not just your exercise for your arms and your legs. You have to think about what kind of load altering habits do you have, sitting down in a chair all day is certainly load altering to your body. And putting on underwear to your body every day is load altering to your junk. Like, it’s just pretty simple, and when you talk – so in the breast show, we talked about you’ve got suspensory structures that adapt to the weight of structures, that are your support structures, ad that the way that they stay strong is by having to do something. And you’ve outsourced the work of your breast support to your bra, and in the same way you could be outsourcing the work of the support structures to your underwear, but even more importantly, I think to men is that unlike the breast, which don’t change – that aren’t lowered away from and closer to your body, your balls – and I just prefer ‘balls’ to ‘testicles’ – your balls are moved away from you and brought closer to you based on the temperature within them. So they are doing an essential process. So if you’ve ever been in really cold water, there’s a muscle called your cremaster that will pull them way up close to your body to help them stay warm, also known as shrinkage, yes? But it’s not really shrinkage. Your body is pulling them close to protect the mechanism of what’s happening inside. So it’d be nice, and it can also let them drop away from you to prevent that from being too hot. So you’ve got thermal control – you actually have a muscle that’s responsible for thermal control that is rendered disabled if you’re always wearing clothing that keeps them up close to your body, regardless of what their biological need for the appropriate temperature is. So that’s – to me, that’s why going commando is, perhaps, helpful. You know, that you’ve got muscles that are – become detrained by putting on something that keeps the muscle from moving apart from (audio garbled.)
DANI: Well, just move that to a different part of your body. I mean, if you said that, if you put your right arm in a sling for a year, think about –
KATY: Or 25, or 25 years.
DANI: You know, what would happen to that if you could not use that arm? Of course, it would atrophy and all this stuff would happen, so it’s I think fascinating to remind us about the cremaster and what it does. It serves a purpose.
KATY: Yeah, and then again to extrapolate that to the bigger idea of alignment and movement, it’s that muscle’s job isn’t only to move your balls. By moving your balls, that muscle also keeps the area around it healthy because packed in organically within movement of muscles is other health-making things for your body. So we talked about cellular feeding, right? All of the trillions of cells in your body need to eat oxygen, and they need their waste cleaned up when they’re done, but the oxygen delivery system is really based on muscle use. So if you have a habit that has been compromising a particular muscles’ work, you prevent – you’ve been preventing it from contracting and relaxing and contracting and relaxing. You might say, well, what’s the big deal? If I have a sperm problem or if I have whatever, I can get – I can fix that particular problem with medical intervention. It’s like, well, packaged in with that natural load of moving – contracting and relaxing and contracting and relaxing – is also all of the movements that keep that whole area of your body fed so you can have malnourished cells local to that area as well. And so with the rise of testicular issues, you know, specifically cancers and looking at, well, what’s happening locally to that area that we can particularly – that’s easy , that’s easy to fix, that has very little cost – you know, I mean like cost in terms of your time or money. Those are the solutions that we should start exploring, specifically in the light of mechnotransduction and how cancer is responsive to loads in that it can undo it. I just like to talk about going commando for many reasons.
DANI: It’s good, and because I’m not a guy and I don’t have balls, I get to ask my guy friends these questions, which is a super fun part of my job. And one of the questions – well, when I asked how come you don’t go commando? One of the answers was, “well, I don’t want balls hanging down to my knees.” So it was the same kind of thing as –
KATY: For breasts, yeah
DANI: With women and breasts. It’s – they think they need that support. The other one, and I had thought about this a while back, is just say 300-400 years ago, some guy’s going commando, he’s probably got some nice buckskin pants on instead of Levi’s with a button fly. So we’re talking about the load on – that’s got to feel uncomfortable.
KATY: I’m trying to – I get what you’re saying. Are you talking about that there’s actually buttons there, pushing on the penis?
DANI: Well, there’s just – clothes that are uncomfortable. Pushing on the penis.
DANI: I mean, underwear provides a measure of protection to our modern clothing crisis.
KATY: Correct. Correct. Absolutely.
DANI: And so I, myself, not having a penis but I go commando a lot, I also get to walk around in yoga pants all the time. I don’t go commando if I’m wearing jeans.
KATY: Well, and that’s – well, I think that’s a really good point. With all of the stuff, when you talk about natural loads, like I’m just trying to highlight that there’s a problem with your natural loads. That you’re not having the biological experience to your cells that you would have and questioning how much you should have. Like, what is the relationship between these loads and disease? But the second thing is, it’s also unnatural to have friction all of the time, or pressure. The underwear themselves. It’d be interesting to know the root of underwear. I don’t know where underwear came from. But, you know, it’s obviously could have to do with hygiene. It could have to do with, like, comfort, like you were saying before, I’m thinking 200-300 years ago – you don’t have 12 pairs of pants that you kick off and wash and then put back on clean pants. So underwear became, perhaps, a way to get more uses out of your pants. You could wash something small, it took less work and then less water and you weren’t putting bacteria right back up against your body and openings to your body, right? I’m thinking the urethra. Every time I say, ‘urethra’ I go, Uretha like Uretha Franklin.
DANI: (singing) R-E-S-P-E-C-T
KATY: So I think that there – going commando isn’t necessarily, for many reasons – if something came to be, it’s probably for good reason. So I imagine that in a time where you only had a single pair of pants or 2 – it was probably healthier for you to wear underwear, because having an infection. What am I trying to say? A UTI, right? Having a urinary tract infection, you could die from that, where the chances of you having the low accumulation of loads from not letting your underwear hang down would be something that would take such a long time to accumulate, but in the times where we’re living longer and don’t have to worry about things like hygiene, then it’s time to revisit old practices that at one time that are no longer really necessary. They were really important to the success of the population at one time but now become a hindrance to that same population in light of new technologies. Underwear is a technology! Soap is a technology.
DANI: And this is hard to find – I mean, nobody’s researching underwear very much, so if anyone has any awesome stuff they could send me about that, I would love that. Et tu. We’re just kind of writing off the whole balls thing; it’s just like, the health of it –
KATY: I never write off balls.
DANI: Fine. Like, I find all these sites about liberating your breasts, but not one about – there was like the ten commandments of going commando. That’s the best thing I could find, you know, it was more of a cultural thing, so I’m fascinated by this.
KATY: Well, what I find really interesting – so we talked about bras last time, and then as you know and probably everyone listening knows, I’m a pelvic health in general is where my graduate work – that’s my – if I have a specialty, that is it, because I spent more time researching there than anything else. And if you think that women’s pelvic health has been under-considered, and it absolutely has – it’s really exploding in the last few years – but in general it’s just been hugely neglected – men’s pelvic health is actually talked about even less. Just a bunch of – it really needs to be sorted out because there are just a ton of men who are suffering, and unlike women’s pelvic health where there are places and people talking about it – it’s like, how embarrassing is it to talk about your pelvic issue? When you’re a woman you don’t want to talk to anyone else about your sex life and your parts that aren’t working or that are hurting you and you’re embarrassed to talk to your doctor. Now imagine, from a cultural standpoint, what it’s like to be a man to talk about – to another man – to your partners, to your family – and so men’s public health, which is kind of why we’re doing this show, is just to start talking about it, it’s just like, let’s just talk about it. Let’s talk about it a lot so that people who are out there cannot feel so stressed and isolated. You know, that there are many things, you know you go to search it and you don’t find anything about the balls as far as “what can I do right now for a healthier environment?” and there’s nothing.
DANI: Nothing. I was very frustrated, and that conversation is good. I mean, people talk about their spleens and their diabetes, so let’s just talk about our pelvic floor issues, too. Why not? It’s just a body part, folks.
KATY: Yeah. Let’s talk about our balls. Let’s talk about our balls.
DANI: Balls and boobs, boobs and balls. It’s balls are just a body part.
KATY: It is. It’s not even just a body part. It’s a super, super, super important body part. Like, it’s not a thumb. The thumb is important, but your balls are hugely important –
KATY: --and pelvic discomfort – like, let the ball puns begin. They’re greatly important.
DANI: Yeah. And so any male listeners, you want to weigh in on this, please, just email me privately or I just – I’m so curious about this.
KATY: You said “weigh” and “private.” Those were good puns. I want to call out those puns, like, they’re fantastic. I love ball puns.
DANI: You’re sharp today.
KATY: Whoops, that’s not good.
KATY: Okay, okay.
DANI: A question: do you –
KATY: Ask me!
DANI: Yeah, I’m just trying to phrase this – so kids going commando, one of the concerned questions about this was desensitizing their penis and that being a bad thing. Like, I was just talking about jeans making it hard for modern man to go commando, right? Because he’s not used to brushing up against anything. I guess I’m just curious, what about, would that happen naturally for a little boy if he’s running around in the wild all the time? Would he have any less sensitivity – I don’t even know what I’m trying to ask.
KATY: Maybe the question is just about little kids and clothes, and I don’t know if it’s any different than any adult, but it’s the same thing. You know, I have a little boy. I have a 3 and a half-year-old boy and he’s the same – he wears clothes when he wants to and he doesn’t when he wants to. Constant friction against your penis is also not natural, right? You can’t do a half step natural argument, so it’s the same thing for an adult. I don’t know where – I don’t know how to make that decision for everybody, or how to make those recommendations. All I know is for my son’s light testicles – you know what, actually I do – I have, what I recommended was, how about a boxer? All little kid stuff is briefs, where it has more support. A boxer doesn’t really have support. So a boxer could be something that gave you a little bit of protection of the friction of your clothes, plus mobility. That all being said, you’re still rubbing up against whatever material – you’re still rubbing up against your underwear, the purpose is holding it down, though, so that it doesn’t move around. So I don’t know, just don’t put any pants on, ever.
DANI: Yay! No pants!
KATY: Like, I don’t know how else – I can’t make a recommendation other than “natural loads to your penis include not wearing pants.” Maybe a leaf. Maybe a loincloth.
DANI: I’m behind that 100%.
KATY: And also, what would the Scottish say, right? You wear a kilt.
DANI: Ya still got somethin’ rubbin’ up against ya, lass.
KATY: Not if it’s got pleats, not if it’s pleats. You know, we have kilts here. All the menfolk wear kilts in our family. Not exclusively, but –
DANI: Ah, Washington. No kilts here.
KATY: There’s not a big Montana kilt population?
DANI: And there’s a huge Scottish population, too, but no, no kilts. Not that I’ve seen. I’d like to see a kilt walking down the street.
KATY: Hard to conceal your weapon. Ah, that’s another penis joke! Maybe.
DANI: I don’t know about that one. It’s pretty good. So we were just griping that there’s nothing really about ball health out there, something you could do right now. But do you have something that you can offer up right now? You got a ball stretch in your pocket?
KATY: Actually, one of my favorite, just, groin health moves is to stand next to, like, a kitchen chair or something. A kitchen chair is probably a good height, or a chair in your office right now. The seat of your desk chair – and without using your hands to help hoist up your leg, lift up your leg to see if you can get the foot to rest on the seat of the chair. Do you have an office chair right now where you are?
DANI: Let me – I don’t use it, but hold on, I set stuff on it. Okay.
KATY: Yeah, so if you just pick it up and you put it on there, and you let your foot rest, and then you just bend your standing leg a little bit and you can sink down in there, it’s a nice hip stretch. It’s like anything that’s tight in the groin or in the hip itself. You might have a hard time because you have a lot of tension – not you, but the people listening – getting the leg up at all without physically using the other hand or going very fast. You want a slow lift to the other side.
DANI: Slow lift puts the counter balance on.
KATY: Yeah, and try not to use momentum to overcome the tension. It’s just a nice – I think of, what’s the alcohol? Where the guy’s always standing with one leg up? Is it Captain Morgan? He’s always putting his leg up on something? I don’t know. I don’t know my alcohols.
DANI: He’s a pirate. He’s a pirate.
KATY: Yeah, he’s a pirate.
DANI: Pirates do this. They stand like this all the time.
KATY: And then it’s like, arrrgh. You just kind of do that, and it’s, uh. Maybe you should ride on the subway like this, instead of manspreading you can just stand up and put one foot on the seat and then nobody can complain that you’re taking up too much space. You can be like, you can sit on the other side of my leg!
DANI: And actually, you’re letting the boys breathe.
DANI: The boys are breathin’. My girl-boys are breathing. That’s good. This is a good stretch.
KATY: I like it. It’s doable.
DANI: Yeah, it is doable. I had a question about, you know, manspreading being necessary, but I guess you answered it in the beginning. It’s really just, you should be allowed to be comfortable as long as you’re not keeping somebody who needs a seat from a seat, or invading anybody’s body bubble, you should be comfortable whether you’re a man or a woman.
KATY: Well, the question – I mean, the question of social etiquette I can’t speak to, but is tem – but what I can speak to is temperature and pressure control is necessary. So if you are in pants and in underwear, a manspread might be the thing that you do to counterbalance all of that. So to tell a man that society requires him to wear underwear and pants and keep his legs together – it’s like, come on. It’s just like, what is going on? What is going on right now? I don’t know. I just find that that’s – it’s just a very heavy burden that we’re putting on the body. We demand a lot of sickness of our body for the sake of propriety.
DANI: Ooh, that was a good one. There you go with that awesome quote generator again. I like that better than your random number generator, myself.
KATY: (Beeping) 27!
DANI: Naw, that was too short. Give me a bigger one!
DANI: Well done. Asking the gentlemen in my life about underwear because I just had a young man – nameless young man – who switched from boxer briefs to just boxers. Just curious, he wanted to try them. Now he likes them. So I asked, why do you like them? Was it that you got more freedom? And he said a very interesting thing – he said yeah, it’s cooler, but the tension around my thighs is less. And I never even thought about that with different kinds of underwear. Does it have that kind of pressure and load on his leg?
KATY: What about the waistband? You’ve got a waistband, like a waistband cutting into your belly all the time. If you put on your underwear and you see pressure marks, like you’ve got gut pressure, you are pushing on your body again so much more than what is natural for the sake of these things that may or may not be necessary.
DANI: So does a man have to worry about having National Geographic balls if he doesn’t wear underwear?
KATY: I don’t know. Is there a National Geographic ball? How come everybody is busy Twittering –
DANI: Yeah! How come that didn’t show up in the issue?
KATY: Yeah, everyone’s like, I pored over the National Geographic pictures, and – Dani, you talked about that last time, about how everyone’s looking at the boobs of National Geographic. It’s like, I don’t remember anyone poring over the ball pictures.
DANI: There were never any dangling ball pictures in the library in Lewis & Clark Elementary School. Dangit. That’s a good point, Katy Bowman.
KATY: Dangling. Is dangling, like, it’s a part that’s supposed to dangle. Why do you want it to not move around? We’re not really interested in things wobbling around on the body; everything’s gotta be tight and moving all as one lump of lead, you know? It’s like, I’m just made of steel, and nothing will move. I don’t know. I like, I like wobbling, dangling things.
DANI: It’s good to be free.
KATY: And I think, also, too, I was just thinking right now of hunting – when you’re hunting, you use the wobble and the shape – I’d, anyway, use the wobble of the balls and the penis to identify a male, right?
KATY: That for me, that’s an important part of spotting, is to, you know, know what kind of animal you’re going to take. And I wonder again with the breasts, we talked about the breasts – part of their wobbliness and the amount that they hang and move has a lot to do with the tone of the muscles underneath. The fact that you hardly do anything with your arms. So I wonder, yes, if we think about the balls in a vacuum (hee hee hee) – If we think about the balls in a vacuum, that they have this shape of either being up high or down low without considering of, what is the tone of all of the muscles in the adductors, in the abdomen, and how would the shape of the balls be affected if you, in fact, had better whole body alignment and movement practices as a whole over a lifetime? So I just think that it’s bigger than underwear. Again, we’re talking about what types of movement do you get as a whole, as a whole entire structure, that it’s not just about taking off your underwear, it’s about looking, like, why is my groin so tight that it’s like guitar strings, you know? That there are other support systems there that you can be working on. Because again, this is about your health, right? This is about your testicular health. It’s not about appearance. I mean, it could be about appearance for you, but for me I’m talking about the health of the cells in that area and the functions in the area.
DANI: Yeah, it’s good stuff.
DANI: It’s a lot to think of. I was going to say it’s a lot to chew on, but we don’t want to go there, so. Well, what are you going to go out and do today?
KATY: I think I’m going to go out to my obstacle course and play?
DANI: That sounds good. I’d like to go see that someday.
KATY: I’m going to hike my leg up and over something.
KATY: That’s a good strengthening, right? So you’re in the chair. You’re in this chair, with your leg up, doing your stretch, which I’ve assumed that everyone listening is doing for the last 20 minutes since we talked about it. But from this standing – from this position where your foot is up maybe 2 feet off of the ground, can you – probably not good if it’s on an office chair – but can you press that leg down and stand up onto one leg on the chair?
DANI: Wow. I’ll have to go out and try that on a stump in the back yard or something.
KATY: Yeah, right? So there is – talking about all of the muscles in that area. Without, you know, you also have to look at how much do you have to really use momentum and use all of the other muscles besides the muscles of the groin and the hamstring of that leg? Because you’ll be able to do it, but it’s about doing it more with a particular region and less with others. So anyway, just something to play with. Something to play with for the balls show.
DANI: Oh, as always, that was a pleasure. That was fun.
KATY: Love it. Love the dangling shows.
DANI: Dangling bits are important. Just as important as all the other bits.
KATY: If not more!
DANI: Well, thank you very much for your time.
KATY: All right, well, have a good one.
DANI: I hope you have an awesome day.