That Golden Potion

"It has a slightly golden hue, suspended in an oily substance and injected in a needle about half as thick as a telephone wire…."

So the needle, though it doesn't sound any worse than the one that channeled blood from my arm into a plastic sack the other day, sounds a bit unnerving, and its destination, a carefully swabbed rump, wouldn't be my first choice for an injection. Still I don't quiver like a little girl at the imagining, because this is testosterone we're talking about, baby, and I want some.

I thought I had an understanding of testosterone as a chemical agent, but did not recognize it as a magic elixir until I read Andrew Sullivan's cover article entitled "The He Hormone" in The New York Times Magazine of April 4th. Among the benefits he claims for testosterone are the ability to think more clearly, an increase in confidence, tenacity, and libido, greater strength and endurance, and a decrease in depressive tendencies.

Testosterone gives the will to grasp business opportunities, and the fortitude to lead in all endeavors, private and governmental. If you have the greater amount of testosterone in a relationship you will dominate it, if you have the greater amount in a conflict you will win it. If you are a bird, testosterone will give you beautiful plumage and a varied song.

Okay, so I'm not a bird. After reading about "the natural disadvantages of gender" in "The He Hormone," I don't want to be a woman, either. I now realize I see life though mouse brown colored glasses, unable to fully appreciate life in its full brilliance, and possessing the sole aim of enticing vital men into my monogamous lair and domesticating them-thereby reducing their own testosterone levels. As embryos, Sullivan writes, females are "the default sex." So even at the every earliest stages of life, women are indolent, men aspire. Unsex me now-I renounce this miserable existence!

There are a few little tiny drawbacks to consider. An increase in heart disease is possible, but as heart disease is notoriously under diagnosed in women anyway I probably wouldn't notice. Hair loss may occur, but hair I can spare. I might pick a fight, but for once in my life, I might actually win it. What a small price to pay for "the ability to risk for good and bad; to act, to strut, to dare, to seize."

Sullivan detects a widespread mollycoddling of the American male, a passivity that would never fly in, say, the Balkins. "Our main task in the gender wars of the new century may not be how to bring women fully into our society," he muses, "but how to keep men from seceding from it." I like that "our." Perhaps with the correct injections, I could someday be comfortable knowing I am a vested member of that society and not an invitee or pledge.

The blurb which introduces Sullivan's article reads, "As testosterone becomes increasingly available, more is being learned about how men and women are not created equal. So let's accept it and move on." Move on, or centuries back, I just want to be on the winning team.

Written by Sharon C. McGovern

From Vol. 17

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