Cock and Bull: Thoughts on Low Testosterone Ads and Aging

We have all seen the commercials. We are bombarded by them every day. That’s right: low testosterone. From over the counter pill form therapy (incidentally not endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration)to ads warning men that their lack of so-called sexual drive may be due to a low testosterone and that they should consult a physician. And within these ads a litany of other ailments may prohibit a guy from taking whatever pill they are pushing. Listen, if you’re taking nitrates for your heart, and I’m a writer, not a doctor, then it’s my guess that you have bigger problems than whether you’re getting it two or three times a week.

The other night I saw one of these ads while watching television with my fiancée. It used to be that I was skeeved by advertisements for catheters. For some people it’s seeing toe fungus on the screen. Call me a wacko but I can’t take the thought of using a catheter and I truly feel for those people who do. But the other night it was yet another commercial about “a condition known as low testosterone.” I am not skeeved out by the possibility of low testosterone, but it the onslaught of television ads have caused it to surpass my otherwise latent dislike for catheter commercials.

“They should just call it for what it is,” I told my other half.

She made a face, a cross between cringing and smiling as she waited for me to pontificate further. I can’t help it. I am an Irish-American. My people are blessed (or cursed) with a gift for storytelling.

“Here’s what I would do,” I said. “I would put together an ad and show what it really is. A middle-aged walks into a doctor’s office and tells his physician ‘Here’s the thing doc. I want to start banging women half my age. You got anything for that?’ That’s what these ads are saying.”

Low testosterone is not a condition per se, no more than menopause is. At the rate we are going as a society there will one be a pill to stave off death. Dying used to be a serious condition. But not any longer. But I digress.

Yes, I am a writer. And the only qualifications I have where psychiatry is concerned is that I once saw a psychiatrist for a period of time. Imagine, if you will, how devastating it was for me for my therapist to tell me, a writer, that I was sane. It was disappointing. I felt empty. I felt like I had failed. I wanted to be crazy…but this is a topic for another post.

So, here’s my suggestion for all of those guys out there my age an older: if you find yourself with a diminished sex drive, with having no energy to do the deed, then try not to fill your day with futile pursuits to stay young. In one commercial about low testosterone a man is depicted surfing (presumably in California as the sun sets over the ocean which would mean this bloke didn’t get to go surfing until he finished work that day). In another a guy looks fatigued playing basketball with his other portly friends.

Sure, it’s a commercial. But my humble estimation is that in real life many men bother with physical activities and save none of it for the bedroom (or living room, or the garage, or the laundry room, everyone’s taste is different). And why? Because by the time we get home from work and the gym, from the evening run that we believe helps to blow off steam after dealing with high-paid morons who have no business running a business much less being trusted to tie their neckties in the morning, we are pooped. Sorry, babe. I am tired.

Most guys reach a certain age and all the mirrors in their homes turn into fun house mirrors, distorting the real image looking back at them. So how do we cope? We rent porn. We drink. We smoke. We eat shitty foods because we were emotionally arrested somewhere in our teens due to some calamitous situation that we can no longer recall. We flirt with that 20-something dipshit at the office whose annoying voice is negated by her voluptuous build. We contend with significant others our own age who become infatuated with movie star hunks twenty years younger than us and in our twisted, manly logic we justify affairs, prostitutes, and lots worse. None of this has to do with low testosterone, the so-called mid-life crisis. It’s not a crisis. It’s nature. Everyone gets old. It’s not a condition. It’s called biology. But we pretend that we are still 25 years old because society expects it of us; only, just as when we were that age, it’s laughable to 25 year olds everywhere.

My point is that there is something greater at play in our society. No one wants to get old. No one wants to die. When did this happen? When did the notion that we can somehow defer aging enter into our collective psyche?

I am not denying the importance of regular check-ups to include blood work to ensure one’s health. You might think that some guys have all the luck, and for the rest there’s erectile dysfunction. But life is never that polarized. Ask yourself as you get older what’s most important. If your answer involves landing that annoying 20-something dipshit at the office then these words have fallen on deaf ears. But if you have problems with diminished performance during intimacy try leaving the gym early. Try cutting your run in half. And look in the fun house mirror at home and ask yourself “Am I a professional athlete? Am I going to the Olympics?” If the answer is no then go home early and surprise your partner. You may not have a “condition” at all. And you damn sure won’t need medicine to fix what ails you.

Far F***ing Out, Man!

There are 18 days left until the election. Tempers are flaring, people on both sides of the political fence are chomping at the bit, desperate to have their voices heard, to exercise their right as citizens to vote in a democratic and free election, to see their candidate in office, to turn the tide of our collapsing economy, to ensure that America rises from the ashes of the ruin it has become (ok, this might be a bit harsh); more now than ever before we are sick and tired of being bombarded by multi-million dollar ad campaigns, of neighbors turning vicious over silly signs in yards, of friends deleting friends on Facebook over liking a candidate’s page; anger and resentment fill our days and nights, talking points have become sacred texts we regurgitate on social media; and for all of this, when we close our eyes, we can feel it: the center will not hold. It is an exciting time in history, but this blog, today, is not about that.

I should preface this by saying my 12 year old son put me up to this. One day we were watching Ancient Aliens on the History Channel and this guy popped up on the television screen:

 My son and I watch this program from time to time, duped into the various episodes; never allowing for one cold hard fact: proof positive of extraterrestrial intelligence would make headlines news around the world; or as one scientist, whose name escapes me now, was quoted as saying: show me the UFO muffler that falls out of the sky and I will believe.

So, there we were last week, watching yet another episode of Ancient Aliens. Mr. Tsoukalos appeared on the screen and I mumbled something about his hair. To wit, my son chided me: you should write about that in your blog.

“Did human hairdressers create that look?” I said, invoking the narrator’s voice from Ancient Aliens. “Or was there some outside perhaps otherworldly influence involved?”

I mean no disrespect to Giorgio Tsoukalos; nor do I mean to mar the good name of History Channel’s Ancient Aliens. Sometimes, it takes children to force us to take a moment to breathe, to forget the ills of the world, to pull us out of our own heads and see what life is really worth. And if I have offended UFO and alien enthusiasts, or the over 57,000 diehard Twitter followers of Mr. Tsoukalos, by poking fun of that anti-gravity hairdo (to say nothing of the Mangerine tan he sports), then I offer my most humble apologies.

My intention was not misbegotten. If in reading this post you forgot about the political morass that is the 2012 Presidential Campaign for the minute or so it took you to read this post, then my work is done.