While much has been said about the way advertisers have always hawked their products to women by playing on their insecurities, men have not been immune from similar pitches. While they may worry less about crow’s feet than ladies do, there are still some things that make men feel insecure. Hoping to capitalize on these insecurities, some downright wacky products have been sold.
Here are the top 10 worst products ever made for men:
Products for Hair Loss
The telltale signs of shedding hair in the sink can worry even the most self-assured of men. Companies have long recognized this and marketed hundreds of different products to stop, slow, or cover thinning hair. From hair plugs to toupees, none of them truly achieved the desired effect. Here are some of the worst hair loss products ever invented:
Hair in an Aerosol Can
The “spray” from this can is actually made of tiny fibers that stick to your head and hair. Just spray it all over and-poof!-thinning hair is thick and full and bald spots are gone.
The idea behind the spray is to help insecure balding men feel more confident. But can there be anything more confidence-sapping than having to worry that a spontaneous swim, rainstorm, or excessive sweating will melt your hair off?
Crosely Xervac Head Vacuum
This large device (which you could rent for home use) operated on the principle that sucking more blood into your scalp area would make hair grow healthy and strong and prevent it from falling out. A hose attached to a skull cap surrounded your head with suction power. This reminds me of Garth using the Suck-Cut on Wayne‘s World. “It’s sucking my will to live, man!”
Chest Hair Toupee
While some men shave or laser their chest to achieve a smooth, hairless look, other, naturally smooth chested men, pine for a manly carpet of chair. For these men, the chest hair toupee was invented. Available in black, brown, or gray, these chest pieces are made of real human hair. How do you even apply this thing? Glue? Tape? At any rate it is perfect for its target audience: middle-age men who like to wear halfway unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts and yet are lacking the tuft of hair sticking out that is necessary to complement their gold chain necklaces.
Products for the Prostate
Another area in which many men feel insecure is their sexual prowess. Some of the wackiest inventions ever made were designed to help the male libido.
The Prostate Warmer
Invented in 1918, this device promised to “stimulate the abdominal brain!” (I am not sure what that is, although men have long been accused of thinking with it). The device consisted of a 4.25 inch probe which was plugged into the wall and then inserted into the rectum. When plugged in, a blue light bulb lit up to tell you it was working to restore your manly vitality. Brings new meaning to the phrase “blue light special.”
Radioactive materials were once thought to impart healing and vitalizing powers to people. Radium was infused into drinking water, baths, and even suppositories. Perhaps the scariest way it was administered was through a radioactive jockstrap for men. ”Weak Discouraged Men!” one advertisement proclaimed. ”Now Bubble Over with Joyous Vitality Through the Use of Glands and Radium.” Joyous Vitality'..and glow in the dark junk.
This dilator promised to cure “piles, constipation, and prostrate problems.” It was designed to break up, your, um, “piles” and to lubricate the rectum. The tip had holes in it through which ointment could be released. How it was supposed to cure your prostate problems can only be imagined. But with a motto like “large enough to be efficient, small enough for anyone over 15 years old,” how could you go wrong?
Heidelberg Electric Belt
In the early 1900’s many people believed they were suffering from “neurasthenia,” a disease cause by modernization and over-stimulation. This “sickness” produced a wide variety of symptoms from depression to impotency to fatigue. The Heidelberg electric belt, touted as a cure, sent electricity to your genitals and promised to restore your vitality and strength. Ouch.
Anti-Self Pollution Devices
During the 1800’s and early 1900’s, extreme measures were recommended to control the sexual libido of young men. Several devices were invented to prevent men from masturbating. Here at the Art of Manliness we support self-discipline and harnessing the male libido, but genital mutilation is definitely not the way to do it.
Spike lined ring
This device was aimed not only at preventing masturbation, but nocturnal emissions as well. Young men would tie this ring of death around their member, and whenever they became aroused, the spikes would sink into their flesh, causing excruciating pain.
The spermatic truss, patented in 1876, was designed to make erections impossible by binding the genitalia down. 21 years later, the designer changed the truss a bit, making erections possible. The only downside? An erection would now drive the genitalia against painful spikes.
Invented by Frank Orth in 1893, The Timely Warning was a penis cooling apparatus designed to prevent wet dreams. A man would attach the device to his penis before he went to bed. When an erection occurred during the night, levers opened to allow cold water to flow through tubes around the genitalia. This cooled “the organ of generation, so that the erection subsides and no discharge occurs.” Basically, it was like taking a cold shower, but without the shower.
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