I was sitting at the bar at The Tilted Stick, watching the muted television with my friend Jim, when an infomercial for Cenegenics came on. I’d never heard of Cenegenics, but I learned that it’s an aging-management system that teaches healthy aging through exercise, nutrition and—judging from the website—lots of talking to white-coated doctor-types pointing at clipboards and smiling a bunch with stethoscopes around their necks.
As with most nutritional systems, the Cenegenics infomercial splashed its benefits on the screen like those old Batman battle bursts:
“Increased sex drive—va-vavoom!”
I have to admit, that last one made me snicker. “Why on Earth,” I leaned over and asked Jim, “would any man in his right mind want to increase his sex drive?” I mean, for almost all of our lives, our dicks have been dragging us around the world without having any say in where it takes us. It’s like we’re all just passengers on a rickshaw and the rickshaw driver (our penises) won’t bring us to where we tell him to bring us.
“Hey, rickshaw dude, take me to the Taj Mahal, please.”
“Nah, we’re going to the strip club.”
“But I don’t want to go to the strip club. I want to go to the Taj Mahal.”
“Do they have naked concubines at the Taj Mahal? Is there a chance to reach erotic nirvana at the Taj Mahal? Are you saying you prefer those cold marble domes—that don’t bounce or jiggle whatsoever—at the top of the Taj Mahal?”
“Well, no, but that’s not wh—.”
“Strip club it is.”
And this, my friends, is basically how a male lives the first half of his life—prisoner to the bald, belligerent rickshaw boss between his legs. And, with the exception of the occasional sexual encounter that goes well, most of the time that bastard just causes you lots of trouble, cost lots of money and is the reason you miss more than one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Put in a way that all you 20-something testoster-hostages can understand: High sex drive means you always want sex but probably won’t get it. Low sex drive means you rarely want sex and probably won’t get it. The only difference is the amount of disappointment you have when you don’t get sex.
Yes, when you get older, you’re still driven crazy by hot, sexy jiggle-mamas. I mean, even at lower testosterone levels, you’re still coursing with the junk. Only now, you function like a normal person instead of a sex-starved humpdog. No longer when you see sexy jiggle-mamas jogging in the park do you need to jump behind the nearest cluster of bushes and wax the leaves. No longer do you waste perfectly good produce by penetrating all of the various fruits and vegetables flirting with you from the fridge. No longer do you have to blow thousands of dollars on meals, movies and gifts just to give yourself a 15-percent chance of being in a position where you have a 2-percent chance to get laid. No longer is the bald-headed rickshaw boss the boss of you.
I remember the night I realized I was no longer a slave to my phallus. I was in my late 30s, drinking at Winston’s Beach Club, pretty good and liquored thanks to an empty stomach and a half-dozen shots of Jagermeister—my ugh of choice in the ’90s.
I struck up a conversation with a jiggler, and we hit it off. When closing time arrived, she suggested we get a bottle and go to her place. My initial thought was, Hell yes I’d like to spend a night of bliss with you! But then, for some inexplicable reason, I thought about a carne asada burrito.
I knocked the thought of the burrito out of my head and imagined her, in the throes of passion, then imagined the burrito again, then her—back and forth in my brain until finally settling on the image of the burrito, dripping in carne juice, swelling with guacamole, a wisp of steam rising from the end-hole from whence I took my first bite.
I told her I wished I could join her but that I had to get up early (I truly did), took her number and left.
On the walk to El Rodeo taco shop, I was flabbergasted. Did that really just happen? Did I just turn down a chance at sex with that gorgeous creature? Granted, the sex was not guaranteed—not like that carnal asada burrito was a guarantee. But that’s my point. Ten years earlier, I would’ve gone back to her house without even thinking about the likelihood that something bad might happen. And something bad would’ve happened: I would have missed that morning meeting at the very least. Or her boyfriend, Brickfist, might’ve shown up and punched my brain to death. Or, worst, she would’ve taken me to her bedroom to show off her miniature-glass-panda collection, raising each one and sharing the blindingly mundane story behind it until, exhausted, we collapsed on her bed in the no-sex spoony position—my dark-blue balls sparking and sizzling under the blankets like a short-circuiting black-light bulb.
Good grief—why would any man choose that?
Incidentally, there’s a term for having low testosterone levels. It’s called hypogonadism (pronounced hy·po·gonad·ism), and it’s my new favorite word.
“Sorry, honey, I can’t make love to you tonight. I’ve got the hypogonads again.”
“Well, my gonads are hyper, so you better get over here and take care of this shit before I crack you one!”
I guess that’s one problem with low testosterone. Not enough gonads to stand your ground.