Having pondered the marketing ploy of suggesting women of a certain age want to date their cats, I want to turn my attention now to another genre of advert on television at the moment which also both puzzles and disturbs me.
In one advert we see women at play, relaxing in the sauna, chatting on the telephone, pushing toddlers in buggies, laughing gaily throughout. On the surface of it these seem humdrum enough activities _ I certainly don't find them inherently hysterical - but the women in the ad must have been on the vodka and happy pills since breakfast because the mere sight of a friend in a facepack is enough to make them piss themselves.
It turns out that all these women have a "sensitive bladder" which means that all the time they were chuckling at how much fun it is to own a telephone they were just going with the flow, confident in the knowledge that their absorbent pad would spare them any embarrassment. I find it slightly unsettling to think that all these women were just dribbling and dripping away like a faulty drain and just laughing about it. Surely they should be considering some professional help with this problem? If it was a leaky tap they would call a plumber. Yet a leaky bladder doesn't warrant a call to the doctor. This bothers me.
There is a second advert, for a rival brand of piss pad, which opts to go for the "don't be afraid to stand out" angle. Of course, some might argue that wetting your pants whilst queueing for a latte at Starbucks might make you stand out quite enough already, but apparently the advertisers actually mean that you no longer need to hide away, avoid sneezing or only sit on wipe clean surfaces if you stick their product in your undies. You can put on a brightly coloured frock and jump around, cough your lungs up, laugh and no one will know that your gusset is suddenly carrying a heavy load.
I think what concerns me is that urinary incontinence is a common problem for women. Thankfully it is, in most cases, entirely treatable. Pelvic floor exercises solve most stress incontinence issues, and there are medical and surgical options for more complex causes. While I can see that if you are constantly in danger of wetting yourself an absorbent pad lets you get on with things outside the confines of the lavatory, it shouldn't be seen as a permanent fix. Because it is less embarrassing to pick up a box of pads than to visit the doctor I foresee many women needlessly tolerating a condition, spending a great deal of money in the process, (along with joining the disposable nappy and sanitary towel users in creating more landfill horridness) when they could probably do some exercises and be fine.
I feel much the same way about the sudden proliferation of extra nappies for toddlers. These strange "pull-up pants" for potty training, and night time pants so that if they wet the bed the sheets are still fine. No, say I! There is no better incentive not to piss your pants than feeling wet, cold and horrible a few minutes later. If you have a dry weave top sheet and moisture lockaway core where's the incentive?