The concept of wellness is a relatively undermined one by now, if not entirely disgraced – thanks to sterling work from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop – regarded by many of us with a healthy (not in the Goop meaning of the word) scepticism. If we would like to be well, we would also like not to be taken for suckers, and new entrants into the field must find an approach that, simultaneously, exploits what remains of audience credulity without triggering our kneejerk distrust. Or, to put it in terms framed so ably by Mr Banks in Mary Poppins, wellness these days has to avoid transmitting the vibe that it is still rooted in “slipshod, sugary female thinking”.
Welcome, then, to the world of rugged wellness podcasts and newsletters, fronted by bearded men with large shoulders and Orson Welles scowls, or bearded men with large shoulders and frank open faces, or just bearded men. The prevalence of facial hair in this space is striking and also, I suspect, linked to a desire among providers to indicate maleness straight out the gate. No aromatherapy candles or vaginal eggs here! Just men, offering muscular insights backed by science – science, not vibes! – and a range of behavioural and therapeutic suggestions that have absolutely nothing in common with weedy self-help but, did I mention it, are rooted in science?