I am a relatively simple man. I graduated from high school in 2019. I tried to go on a gap year in 2020, but that got cut short (thanks COVID-19). I am now in the third year of my degree, and despite all of the lockdowns and restrictions, I have still had a lot of fun.
However, my life throughout university has not been all sunshine and rainbows. While your university years may be the best years of your life, I would also go so far as to say that they can undoubtedly be some of the hardest. We learn that life is volatile during our university years because this is the period where we progress into adulthood. We undergo significant change, and from this, our general apprehensions and insecurities emerge.
But, I am not here to complain about the hardship of university life. Instead, I want to comfort you by addressing some of these insecurities. Personally, I am vulnerable to some of them, although you don’t get to know which ones! I have written a few short words of affirmation. Of support. While the words may be small in quantity, they are large in empathy.
Ever been called a five-second man? Or a one-pump guy? It’s a funny joke ... until the realisation hits you and you find yourself asking, “Why do I finish so quickly?” Well firstly, you are not alone; 1 in 3 men suffer from premature ejaculation. Take a look around you, it is a lot more common than you think. Secondly, there are heaps of little tricks to help you last longer. A friend of mine told me he flexes his thighs. Another told me he thinks of baseball. If you can divert your attention away from the sex, this will usually help (or so I’ve heard).
Being a Virgin
Oh yes, one of the funnier high school insults. But that’s simply it; it’s funny ... in high school. After high school, being called a virgin is like stubbing your toe. It hurts. But why does it hurt? The stigma of being a virgin has grown significantly in recent decades. The average age to lose your virginity was 19 back in the 1950’s when to be a virgin was to be clean and innocent. Fast forward to today, and the average age is barely 16, and losing your virginity is a status symbol to gloat about with extreme pride.
Now, the problem arises when people are shamed for still being a virgin. Pop culture has constructed virginity as if it is some dirty tag that you need to get rid of without consideration of how individuals move at different paces. If you’re struggling with this, remind yourself that being a virgin does not make you any less worthy. Virginity is merely a construct, and you should never rush yourself to have sex. Allow it to happen naturally, whenever it feels most comfortable, with someone you trust.
Hair loss is real. Fear of hair loss is a terrifying feeling. There is nothing worse than looking at some older man with what looks like a bird’s nest on his head and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s going to be me in ten years’. Every time you see your dad and grandfather, their shiny heads remind you of the inevitability of your fate. Well, I’m here to tell you that being bald is something you should embrace. If the signs are there (thin hair, bald spots, hair loss), take a leap of faith and shave it off! Okay, some people may be alarmed if they suddenly see a bunch of bald people walking around campus, but again, what’s so bad about that? In fact, being bald has become quite popular, and you could almost call it in fashion! Patrick Stewart, Samuel L Jackson, Mr Worldwide, The Rock, Jeff Bezos, John Travolta, Mike Tyson, Dr Evil ... Do you think these millionaire celebrities are bald because they can’t afford hair loss therapy? No! They love being bald, and so should you. I’m not even insecure about this anymore ... where are the hair clippers?
This is often more of a deep-rooted, private insecurity for people. While some people love themselves, only need themselves, and are happy alone, others can’t stand it. These people long to snuggle up in bed with someone they love, and they beat themselves up for their inability to find a soulmate. However, while there is nothing wrong with wanting a partner, it is still important to realise that relationships are hard, and like all good things, you need to work at them for them to become stronger. They’re complicated, and certainly can’t rush them. That is where my reassurance comes in.
To those craving a partner they can cuddle, I’d suggest you stop looking for it and take a leaf out of the self-love book. Work on yourself. Love yourself. Learn more about yourself. What do you like? What do you hate? What do you want to do? How do you plan on giving your all to someone else if you don’t even fully understand yourself? You should be your number one priority — everyone else can get in line. Work on this, and you might just find your soulmate in the process when you least expect it.
This one goes a bit under the radar. Having a clear face is a rare luxury these days because acne is so common. Yes, you heard that correctly. Almost 90% of us experience acne, and no Tik Tok or Snapchat filter is going to help that. Acne can really undermine your self-esteem.
The first reassurance I can give you is that most people have dealt with acne during their lifetime, so you can usually confide in most of your friends for support. The second reassurance is that there is a range of medications available to treat acne if you wish to do so. Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert, so definitely turn to your GP for proper advice, but there are a variety of treatment options available to help you feel confident in your skin (if you need the extra kick).
Body shape can mean a bunch of different things. However, societal expectations have defined the ideal male body down as having a toned physique with defined abs and large biceps. To say this is unrealistic is a massive understatement. The most important argument in any body shape discussion is the notion of self-acceptance. That is my first reassurance. You need to learn to look in the mirror and be happy with the person staring back at you (excuse the cliché). I cannot preach enough the significance of self-love.
Okay, so you love the person looking back at you in the mirror, but now you want to change your appearance. Change is good, but the bad news is that the best time to get this change underway was actually a year ago. The good news is that the second best time to enact your change is today!