Blog: Turning up the pressure Aussie style

Simon Warburton | 14 April 2010

Not content with being assailed on all sides by the need to moisturise, trim, work out and wax, there now comes from Australia - of all places - news of yet another way to knock men into shape.

Equmen - where do these names come from? - has launched what it boldly bills as "health-improving underwear" in a bid to give men the look they've always craved.

Not since the days of the prim Victorians, whose women shoehorned themselves into eye-wateringly tight corsets, have body-shape garments taken centre-stage, but they're here now with a vengeance.

It has to be said Equmen's description of its products as "physiotherapy-inspired compression garments" doesn't exactly fill me with a desire to rush out and squeeze into one, but it has had some startling reviews on its website and is now stocked in David Jones in Australia for example.

Take this one which quotes a satisfied customer: "For one day, I morphed into Superman with the help of "helix-mapping body-response technology" it trills.

"When I first pull out what is swiftly becoming touted as "Spanx for men" - Equmen's core precision undershirt...I've sliced 3" off my waistline in 7 seconds."

Well speaking as someone who has spent the past four months - let alone seven seconds - trying to "slice" enough inches to get back to my former 32"/32" glory - this sounds too good to be true.

I've trodden treadmills, rowed rowers and sweated in saunas but if I so much nibble a sausage roll, the pounds roll on with ridiculous haste.

The irony is that not many moons ago, I would purchase at enormous expense, weight-gain powder and blend it with full-fat milk - remember that? - in a bid to try and fill my skinny frame out.

No compression garments for me - in fact a fat suit would have been better (perhaps a new avenue for Equmen to pursue for skinnies?) - but now maybe the Aussies have come up with the wheeze for me.

I mean look at how the Equmen customer goes on: "Leaving my flat, I feel firm and invincible, like a pumped-up football. At the tube station, I arrogantly barge softer mortals out of the way, like jelly babies against a balloon. I'm solid. I'm a rock. I'm Equman."

There are perhaps too many people who look like 'pumped-up footballs' as it is, but hey, if that's seen as progress, why not.

There is a serious side insists Equmen in that its products can improve posture and ease back pain. 

But hang on a minute. After a hard day of barging softer mortals out of the way, there has to come a time when our superman retires to the privacy of his home.

Does he resolutely keep the compression garment on, casting admiring glances at his reflection or does he under the cover of darkness, surreptitiously unwrap himself from the health-improving underwear?

And if he does, does our hero finally realise that nature is nature and can't be beaten, as gravity finally takes its inexorable course and it all hangs out.

I'm going to give the good people from Equmen some thought as I plough a lonely furrow at the gym later. They may well find a willing market, but I don't think I'll be one of them.

By Simon Warburton.


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