It’s something off the front page of The Onion, the spoof newspaper, or out of a situation comedy — except it’s true — allegedly. You heard about the Texas study? The one that says watermelon has the same effect on men as Viagra?
It was on Page 1E of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last Thursday. File it under truth is stranger than fiction.
Researchers at Texas A&M University said that the citruline in watermelon is converted to agrinine, which boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, according to an article on ScienceDaily.
In other words, wondrous things happen.
Naturally, the folks in Crisp County, which calls itself the “Watermelon Capital of the World,” are ecstatic. We never buy watermelon, so I won’t be in a position to see if the prices soar, but one would expect a substantial increase. Here we have a reported natural remedy to some of that “ED” you see advertised on TV a lot more than you’d like.
I do see a potential problem. Every time a man buys or eats a watermelon, expect a lot of catty remarks.
“Hey, George — got some big plans tonight?”
You get the drift.
Or, when the lady of the house is seen buying watermelon for the next July 4 holiday.
“Hey, hoping to prime George’s pump, huh?”
Some men may be afraid to buy watermelon — at least in their hometowns — lest someone think their reason is more romantic than culinary. Guys don’t like the idea of other guys thinking they’re not good behind the wheel. It’s the secret behind the success of the SUV.
Overall though, I think the watermelon growers have lucked into the perfect marketing scheme. We all know sex sells. It’s used to sell everything from toothpaste to sports cars, sometimes with clever subtlety and sometimes with astoundingly obvious innuendo. Texas A&M has handed the watermelon growers the best marketing approach possible: Buy our product and perform better sexually. Men will buy it, but they’ll want it in a paper bag.
The really cool thing for the watermelon growers and sellers is that they won’t have to advertise. Once the word is out that the big green fruit (which is really a vegetable) is man’s new best friend, guys will buy it. If the e-mail traffic in sexual enhancement products is any indication, there are a lot of folks out there who are looking for something extra in life and love, er, lust.
Let’s not rush to judgment, however. Texas is home not just to our current president, who has his own credibility problems, but also to a lot of watermelon growers. We may find out that the Texas A&M study is seriously flawed on their behalf, that the pleasure ends when the last slice is consumed.
If the science is accurate, we’ll hear more about it. In the meantime, it isn’t going to hurt to do a little research on your own. If a slice of watermelon (maybe two) leads to greater pleasures later on, does it really matter if the science is flawed?
Mark Beardsley is editor of The Commerce News.