The Scarlet Letter

When I worked in the deli this summer it only took one salami and a bad customer to ignite a lively round robin of penis jokes that would reach towering heights of bad taste and then collapse under its own weight amid stifled snorts of suppressed laughter.

One day, I was sure I had the joke that would decisively win the round and I couldn’t wait to detonate it in front of my all male crew of co-workers. As soon as I delivered the joke, I realized it would have been a slam-dunk, had my audience been made up of middle-aged men and not college aged boys.

For about a year now, I have been seeing ads on TV which never fail to stun me. Considering how infrequently I watch TV, the fact that I have become conversant with the freshly minted malady known as “Low T” speaks volumes about the power of advertising.

After I gleefully deployed my Low T joke, the guys gave me the puppy head- tilt look of utter incomprehension and a sepulchral silence settled over us like a fog. Clearly, they had not received  the message that I had gotten so unequivocally during very rare excursions onto channels other than Comedy Central. I had assumed that the whole country knew about Low T just as they know about ring around the collar.

Performing some quick social calculus, I concluded that trying to explain the concept of Low T to an audience of young men was a fool’s errand. How could they possibly relate to the notion of low energy and erectile dysfunction? Asking them to believe in such things would be like asking them to believe that the world is flat.

This latest mens’ health crisis, now brought into the light as “Low T,” is a condition that I have always understood to be the result of aging, roughly equivalent to menopause in women. Being someone who profoundly distrusts Big Food and Big Pharma in equal measure, I have vowed to endure menopause when it happens to me. Presumably, I will emerge at the other end of the experience as a Prophetess of the Hot Flash, clad in a shapeless goddess dress befitting my mature station and rank, accessorized with giant necklaces, loony eyeglasses and a halo of dry, unkempt hair.

Like so many women before me, I will stoically accept the indignities of aging/menopause and then ritually immolate my fine collection of vibrators and righteous nighties in a huge bonfire under a full moon.

For the men, accepting the natural reduction in the hormone that creates the biological imperative to fuck anything with a pulse and/or get killed doing something stupid has been deemed unacceptable and given the gravitas of a treatable medical condition.

Thanks to this new “treatment” I predict that we women (and those untreated men with low T) will finally be run off the road by flotillas of horny sexagenarians in red convertibles and teenaged boys driving their dad’s cast off Buicks.

Just when we ladies thought that we could let our guard down a little and chill out in our voluminous Goddess dresses without worrying that we aren’t as hot as we were when we were twenty, Big Pharma starts peddling testosterone gel to our male counterparts in the form of something ominously named Andro Gel (Latin for “man gook”).

Since the Low T message is ubiquitous enough to have penetrated my bubble, I won’t belabor just how intense a substance the actual product is. Suffice it to say that if women and children come into contact with it, they are at risk of turning into men.

It is a fact that there are people who do not wash their hands after using the toilet, therefore, it is not too much of a stretch to hypothesize that there will be those who eschew the soap and water after applying the T to their underarms. Doubtless, the recklessness that excess T engenders will make some men scoff at the very idea of prophylactic hand washing because it’s so gay.

Being contaminated with secondhand T by a hormonal fifty-something is just one of my many misgivings. Being leered at is another, as is the requisite aggressive driving by a born-again teenager who is, paradoxically, at risk for high cholesterol, enlarged prostate and stroke.

To put it in a nutshell, I feel that by the time we ladies reach fifty, we deserve a break from the relentless male culture that has overshadowed our lives since the day we were born. To have testosterone redux, just when we had reached the point when we could relax and take a breather from our preordained female roles of sex object, mother figure, virgin and whore seems unfair.

I propose that for those of us who have public health concerns about the effects High T, there should be a law in place comparable to the concealed weapon laws that were established to try to protect the liberals from the gun-toting vigilantes. If there is someone behind me in the subway masquerading as a reasonable middle aged man, who is in fact a raging hormonal party-in-his-pants, I want to know about it so I can go stand next to the toothless tiger.

A simple and time honored solution to thwart concealed T in public spaces would be to take a page from Nathaniel Hawthorne and require those men partaking of Andro Gel to simply display a scarlet “T” whenever they are out and about in public.

Unlike Hester Prynne, who was supposed to feel ashamed of her sexuality by being forced to wear a scarlet “A”, most middle aged guys won’t want to keep their reclaimed energy, endurance and stamina a secret. In fact, I can easily imagine a suite of “T” accessories from jewelry to custom monograms, iPhone cases and bedding.

Just as the people who habitually wear a blue-tooth device in their ear in public unwittingly cue the rest of us to steer clear, the public display of the scarlet T will alert us to the presence of excess testosterone in the vicinity.

The “T” on men will be comparable in effect to the short shorts with  “Juicy” printed on the ass that those brazen hussies wear. It is also entirely likely that The “T” will crush and dominate the hapless Playboy bunny because he’s a pussy.

Imagine how men would feel if they were the ones suddenly faced with a national advertising campaign promulgating the use of Estro Gel (Latin for “Orgasm”) to combat Low E. You an almost hear the groans that would issue forth from coast to coast as the straight men contemplated the impending fempocalypse “Jesus Christ. First she wants to ‘talk about it’, and then she wants to be ‘satisfied’ because she says it’s about high time, and I just don’t have that kind of jam anymore…”

The fact is, Big Pharma already tried pedaling menopause as disease to women, and as far as I know there was that little matter of the increased breast cancer risk that popped up when women started thwarting their biological clocks.

Gentlemen, don’t be foolish, just ride it out.



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  1. K Stoddard Hayes says:

    “To put it in a nutsack” — I was already giggling, this made me almost fall off my chair. You win the Internet today!

    1. admin says:

      Thank you! I had fun with this. It is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I just needed a little vacation time to compose my many heated and indignant thoughts about this latest outrage by the pharmaceutical companies.

  2. Kathy says:

    This is fabulous! Although I don’t wear those Goddess dresses (and neither should you!), it was just hilarious to read about the T-men. Required reading for any of a certain age!

    1. admin says:

      You do not need to wear Goddess dresses for any reason. You are my inspiration!

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