Not enough can be said about the not-so-subtle art of scrotum scratching. According to Italian folklore, a swift grasp of one’s generative organs, known to the Italians as their attributi, protects one against bad luck. A funeral procession, or the mention of a natural disaster or disease, results in a flurry of male hands reaching for their junk. A Latin ‘touchwood’ gesture of sorts (pun totally intended). The same hand that consecrates with the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost a few hundred times a day seems to lose no sanctity when it plunges southward mid-conversation for a jab at the money bag. Interestingly, it wasn’t the Holy Papa who put his foot down and asked the Italian machos to keep their hands where we could see them. It was the public, and I’ll wager my iPhone 6 Plus, that this public was primarily made up of Signoras and Signorinas. In 2008, groin-grabbing in public became an offence punishable by law and crotch criminals continue to be frowned upon, superstition or no superstition. Those who just cannot restrain themselves are, however, encouraged to become soccer players and find respite on the football pitch, the only hallowed ground where bollocks are as much in play as Brazucas.

Torres and Ronaldo have turned crotch-grabbing into an international sports ritual, almost as integral as the coin flip. Michael Jackson did his bit by showing us that idle hands are indeed a dancing devil’s workshop. He made testicular torsion an immortal dance meme. What’s with this compulsive urge to feel your privates in public? Is it some form of primal communication with your forefathers, the Neanderthals? Or, is fiddling with your equipment akin to a baby reaching for its pacifier? Could it be that somewhere in the male subconscious mind, there lurks a fear that the junk is going to sneak out of the trunk when they are not looking? And, are the frequent spot checks just to make sure the Jonas Brothers are still hanging around?

We know how attached you are to those bros. But, they’re big boys now. Give them a little space. Is it a logistical issue? The big beasts getting all tangled up in the clothing, necessitating frequent adjustment? Well, guess what the bra is all about, mate? Beneath the subliminal seduction cues lies some heavy-duty ergonomic support that promotes unhindered locomotion. Yep, here’s an idea for all you hungry start-up vultures — the Jock Strap Upgrade. Hey, at least try it on before you torch it. The burning ritual is meaningless unless you’ve worn it for about a hundred years, you know.

Anyhoo, the thing is, I could swear that in some men, nut-grabbing is a sign of boredom. Some people doodle when they’re bored, some play Candy Crush. Others just jiggle their Jabulanis to the strains of Tchaikovsky’s Nutscratcher Suite. Skinny jeans, shorts, dhotis or even the sacred Zegna business suit doesn’t seem to impede this contagion of ball tampering. “Where there’s a Willy, there’s a way,” says my buddy Cyrus, a desi avatar of Desmond Morris and founder of the illustrious IPBL (the Indian Pocket Billiards League). Another interjection is pitched menacingly at me by an irate cricketer. “Playing ball is second nature to men. It’s in their DNA. And, most ball games are contact sport, right?” Flawless argument.

A girlfriend wonders if some men just do it for the TRPs — to put on a show. If television advertising is indeed a slice of life, then the Indian male and fungus seem to have a karmic connection. Primetime across most channels is filled with an unabated flood of cringe-worthy ads for anti-itch male hygiene products. No sanitary napkin ad in the history of advertising can match the horror inflicted on unsuspecting viewers in these grizzly ads. It’s a wonder that our nation’s favourite conspiracy theorist and newscaster hasn’t started an immediate investigation on why the men of this great nation are falling prey to evil and extremely unconstitutional bacteria. Could this be a full and frontal plot by the recession-hit First World to rob us of our precious national jewels? There’s a definite sting to this operation, don’t you agree?

A male philosopher pal scratches his balls thoughtfully and says, “Everyone in the universe has a default resting state. Hands-on-genitalia is simply the quintessential resting state of a man.” You mean like nose-in-ass is the resting state of a dog? It does appear to bring the canine immense comfort, triggering off some sort of deep cosmic connect. So, hand-to-ball is a natural de-stress position in a male human? Question: then, why would you do it in the middle of a client presentation? Or, on the road, while flagging down a cab? Or, while buying apples at the supermarket? What exactly about a high-intensity cardio workout cues deep relaxation and makes you reach for your nether regions? Oh, it’s the weather situation down there, is it? Talk about climate change. The inconvenient truth about heat, humidity, sweat and its impact on human body parts — I totally get that. I have a pair of Bobbsey twins of my own that squirm under the harsh glare of these very same elements. But, no way will you ever see me reaching for my chest and consoling them with a reassuring pat or tweak. Seriously, they cope quite well on their own, and so will yours if you give them a chance.

And, after all this, if you still absolutely must grope your groin like there’s a poltergeist unleashed down under, at least do it for the right reasons. Like Hugh Jackman did. His #Feelingnuts viral challenge to build awareness for testicular cancer inspired celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, William Shatner, Stephen Fry, Jamie Oliver and Gary Lineker to make a public grab for their bits and bobs on video for the world to see. So, there you go guys. Feeling yourself can add length not just to your Masters & Johnson, but also to your lives. Don’t just fiddle. Give your cadets regular reassuring pats to keep them motivated and engaged, their morale high and their fitness levels peaked. This is an official sanction, boys, to free Willy for a cause like no other. But, there’s fine print — in the privacy of your bathrooms or bedrooms only. You wouldn’t pick your nose in public, would you? Ditto. The Wolverine only clutched his cubs to nudge you out of your coma. To turn idle aimless gropes into specific search and destroy operations. Oops, sorry, poor choice of words. I meant to make sure all’s well that hangs well.