Soft-skinned men in the IT industry are flocking to cosmetic surgeons for the latest 'vanity' treatments. Tired of being accused of 'never doing a hard day's work in their life', computer operatives are paying up to £3,000 a time for ugly, extensive scar tissue transplants.
"When my wife gave birth to a healthy, baby boy, I experienced mixed emotions", explained Gary Nicholls, a website designer in Reading. "Sure, it was a relief to see that he had all his fingers and toes and what-not, but how would I ever tell him I can't even put up a shelf, let alone fend off an aggressive pigeon?"
Emasculated males are rejecting moisturisers and hypoallergenic balms for wire-wool scrubs and engine oil facials, hopeful of replicating their genuine '70s dads. "My old man used to be able to build a concrete coal bunker, change the spark plugs on a Triumph Bonneville and drink 8 pints of bitter, all before breakfast", lamented Gary. "Yet he'd still have the energy to beat my brother up for watching Andy Pandy, then leave us in the pub carpark with some crisps while he chatted with his mates about power tools. He was against them: he even rewired mum's kitchen with just a hammer, a large rock and his own teeth."
A range of cosmetic treatments are being offered, that hint at tough upbringings from the school of hard knocks. As head surgeon Dr Nigel Clarke of Harley Davidson Street Surgeries explained, "Our most popular treatments are Shark Attack, Heavy Manual Labour and Extensive Brawling."
"The treatments don't have to be expensive: we're offering a '2 for 1' on cauliflower ears at the moment, and hand calluses can be bought for £25 each. Or for just 50 quid, we can pump a fey young chap full of pain killers, dress him in a tutu and leave him in Hereford on a Saturday night. That treatment is in its early days, but in my defence, anecdotes about comas are pretty macho."
Many patients are choosing neck and arm treatments, worried that showing off abdominal scars only really works if you're not wearing a vest. "I might go for some tiger claw marks on my torso next year", said Gary. "But I need to save up for a chest hair transplant first."
Psychologists have accused surgeons of exploiting patients. "They're just playing on outdated fears", said Sophie Henderson, an expert on self-esteem. "Most women aren't impressed by far-fetched tales of wrestling tigers, or performing competent DIY tasks. Especially when the proponent is wearing RSI wrist supports."