Rest assured, if you swallow these, you won’t turn into a Smurf, though if you take them you might already have Smurf-sized wedding tackle.
Their official title is « erectile aids » to be taken for what the French call « la dysfonction érectile » We are of course talking about Viagra – those little blue pills that help older men reach their full potential in relations of a sexual nature. Retailing in pharmacies at 72 Euros for a pack of four pills, cheaper viagra is available on line for around 58 Euros. If prescribed by a doctor, then Viagra is, like all prescription drugs, reimbursed by the « sécurité sociale » (which in English terms means you can get Viagra on the French National Health Service, providing that your shortcomings are diagnosed as an illness and not simply a lack of male pride.)
My Viagra musings come in light of a recent survey carried out by the makers of the little blue pills. Of the 22,000 pharmacies that stock Viagra nationally, sales figures were taken from a sample of 4600. The results … France’s biggest Viagra users are the Corsicans. Parisians are ranked third. In a geographical distribution of Viagra use, there are more users in the east of France than in the west. Since the product was launched in 2008, Viagra sales have increased by 23%.
So, originally designed to help all those males of the species who experience erectile problems, Viagra quickly became the preserve of « oldies » who couldn’t quite go the full distance. What does this say about the Corsicans though, who have a Viagra consumption three times above the national average. The Viagra survey gives consumption figures, but there appears to be no breakdown of use by age group. What can we conclude therefore? Are Corsican pensioners more promiscuous than their counterparts on the mainland? Despite the Corsican cult of Mediterranean Machismo , are most Corsican men all mouth and no trousers ? or quite simply does all that sun, wine and easy living have adverse effects on performance ? As for higher consumption in the east of France, one might conclude that all those long cold Winter nights in Alsace simply make for earlier nights and more intimacy – oldies cuddling up under the duvet to cut down on heating bills. Who knows? As for the Viagra news – these statistics are culled from my local paper, which is over a week late with the news. From this last fact I can only conclude that we come far later in deepest provincial France.
Finally, whilst still in presidential mode – that region from which François Hollande hails, has the lowest Viagra consumption of all.