Other Writing Index

Skip the Testosterone Gel;
Pass Mayo and Ice Cream

Well, they've done it again. Those crafty drug company suits have done it again. They had meetings and did studies and funded research and conducted market analyses and came to the conclusion that what the American man needs is to feel more manly. Someone alert the Nobel Prize committee.

I'm sorry, call me a party pooper, call me the enemy of fun, but just don't call me after you've smeared a new product called AndroGel on yourself, alright? And whatever you do, don't call Chuck Heston. If the NRA gets a hold of this stuff, we're all in trouble.

AndroGel, a topical testosterone gel, is expected to hit the market mid-June, and I, for one, plan to duck.

The prescription drug, which is being marketed by Unimed, a subsidiary of Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., was approved by the FDA in February as a replacement therapy for men who have conditions associated with an absence or deficiency of testosterone.


Let's stop here and say a few words about the name AndroGel. It's like something from an ad in the back of a comic book. Very 1960's sci-fi. Say it out loud, slowly, with a deep voice. AndroGel. ANDROGEL. Hair gel for androids.

Okay, we're back. Now, I will grant you, some men have actually been diagnosed, by a doctor, with abnormally low levels of testosterone, and those men absolutely deserve the best medical treatment available. To those men, I say: Smear away.

For the rest, well, we all know how intolerable it is to feel draggy or to not be in the mood to have sex every waking minute. But for a culture that is obsessed with male virility, wait, let me rephrase: a culture in which the men are obsessed with male virility, the ease with which AndroGel can be administered is at best, worrisome. At worst, well, if your boyfriend/husband/handyman claims to be putting on sunblock in the dead of winter and then wants to stay up and partay with you all night, let me recommend a good at-home drug test.

In past years testosterone was administerable by patch or injection. How clumsy and inconvenient, like the penis pump! How medicinal, how Bob Dole! Which reminds me that the largest potential market for AndroGel may well be the over fifty crowd—millions of divorced, balding yet ponytailed baby boomers vying for the attentions of anorexic models. But I digress.

Can't you just see bodybuilders and athletes and even ordinary men, who will eventually start to look like bodybuilders and athletes, caressing the gel onto their sinewy arms and bulging pecs and washboard abs?

It has also been suggested, by, surprise, surprise, the president and CEO of Unimed, Bob Dudley, that women, whom he coyly refers to as part of the "interesting, larger market", might also benefit from his company's product.

Well, Bob, I'm pretty comfortable with my current testosterone level, thanks very much, but I'll call you next time I'm in the mood for a brawl. And as for the paradoxical warning that women should avoid skin contact with the application sites in men, perhaps even wearing a shirt for protection, well, excuse me if that doesn't inspire me to immediately commence conjugal relations.

On the other hand, I like to feel peppy and, if I pretend I don't have a six month old son, sexual. There are definitely things I do to boost my energy and my libido.

Ice cream makes me happy. I guess I could try smearing it on my arms and chest. Come to think of it, I respond particularly well to anything that has Hellmann's Mayonnaise on it.

And I have to say that my dependence on it has increased with age. I used to just mix it into tuna fish. When I found that it not only made me less hungry but improved the quality of my writing as well, I started putting it onto a turkey sandwich. Now I can often be found dipping carrots or little tomatoes right into the jar. The obvious next step is direct application to the epidermis.

Someone alert the Nobel Prize committee.