“I’m a man”Anyone who can remember Frank Spencer lisping those words out on “Some Mothers do ‘ave ‘em” realises that there is a divide between being male and being manly; and furthermore, it can be a pretty funny divide. About a year ago, I created a twitter hashtag - #beastsofbrewdom to use when one was discussing tea in a manly manner. For too long tea has seemed the province of your Aunt Mildred, sipped from delicate china cups, or otherwise consumed in a way that is at best effeminate if not downright girly. So, we bounced back. I created a Beasts of Brewdom blog and invited some normally mild mannered male tea writers to take part in an exercise of macho posturing; half to laugh at ourselves, but also to counteract the unmanliness of being a tea drinker, and what’s worse, one who not only wants to know what estate the Darjeeling is from, but would appreciate knowing the year and flush! We are the true tea renaissance men – 50% Chuck Norris, 50% Einstein, 50% Golden Yunnan and notoriously bad at being happy with just 100% of anything. It’s a great break from our “normal” blogs – we all have them – and generally, it’s hilarious. Myself, Ken and Geoffrey are the main protagonists, and to be brutally honest, as typical manly men we wouldn’t even make it as extras in a Jackie Chan movie. Ken is a musician who faffs around in Munich, Geoff’s story concerning impotence-curing teas has pretty well killed his street cred and I never had any to begin with. I shoot cooking videos in a bow-tie apron, for Christ’s sake. But I am a man, and when I was asked to contribute to Naomi’s special push on prostate cancer this month, and I jumped in with both feet. My dad is a Prostate Cancer survivor. He has been through an incredible regiment; surgery, radiotherapy, a lifetime’s worth of hanging around doctor’s offices and hospitals. I myself have had “the test” a few times. Is it a simple blood test? You wish. Well, it is, but my results are always borderline. So, that means further testing. More blood tests? No. Isn’t it funny. Men would rather wrestle a grizzly bear - or even braver, eat a roadhouse hamburger – than submit to a procedure where someone who has had a decade’s long high quality training in shoving a highly sophisticated, steam cleaned, smooth tube a few inches into a colon does exactly that. How is that worse that putting an unsanitary lump of beef and breadcrumb, half cooked by an acne-filled hygiene-challenged minimum-wage-slave in the other end? And so we procrastinate. Go hand-to-hand with a gorilla, ride a shark or even skull a boiling hot Lapsang Souchong whilst juggling chainsaws. All very worthy uses of our time. Tea has the most marvellous health benefits and very few negatives. It can hydrate us. It keeps Alzheimer’s away. It offers fluoride for our teeth and anti-oxidants for whatever it is they do. It can fortify us. It can gird our loins, when girded loins are required. But sometimes, girding them is not enough. They need to be poked, prodded and “hmmm…”ed at. And not by your significant other. So, if you are over 45, please do this for me. First, have a cup of tea. Of course. Everything worthwhile starts or ends with one. Then, make an appointment to have that blood test. And whatever the result, be prepared to follow up. Go on, be a man.