“I’m loving pilates,” says a male friend in the pub. “Doing wonders for my pelvic floor.”
To which I stupidly, naively, clumsily, whatever-ly in this day and age where making gender assumptions can lead to ostracism and alienation, and that’s just in the pub never mind online, but it just came out, said: “Do men have a pelvic floor?”
“Course they do!” chorused everyone around the table, a motley crew of assorted genders who I identify as my friends and who are obviously much better schooled in male anatomy than me.
“It does the same as ours, holds everything up and needs exercising,” says one, a person with a female pelvic floor, and a keen eye for detail.
Every day’s a school day. I’ve never noticed (people who appear to me to be) men standing at bus stops counting to ten with a faraway look in their eyes as they do their pelvic floor exercises, or pleading with people to stop making them laugh, but I’ll watch for that now.
And if I’d paid more attention at childbirthing classes I might have wondered whether the anatomical model of a female was based on the male pelvis with a uterus lobbed in. No wonder childbirth was so nippy.
Mostly it doesn’t matter because those of us with smaller skeletons are adaptable around everything from car seats to powertools sized for those with bigger skeletons. And who doesn’t like a man’s hoodie or jacket - extra pockets, quality zips, cheaper price tag, especially in the sale. I’m happy to roll up sleeves and fasten clothing on the “opposite” side (gender-specific buttonholes and zip locations - what’s that about?).
“That’s why your clothes are always too big,” says Youngest Child.
“And I’m able to carry all your stuff in my pockets,” I reply.
So I’m pleased about a news report of a new 3D female anatomy model being used to teach medical students, stating that previously anatomy was taught based on the male form with the differences in females - breasts, uteruses, added on. It seems women aren’t just small men - despite a past partner often referring to me as ‘wee man’, although he could have been having a conversation with his own anatomy. No, we have different arrangements and dimensions, but we’ve known this for centuries. Surely it’s been crucial in diagnosing women’s ill-health? But why has it taken so long? And should I take up pilates?