Men Behaving Badly – The Progressive, 11/30/2003

In late August, major pharmaceutical companies began a full frontal publicity campaign for their new Viagra spin-offs. Apparently, men had been having a hard (or not-so-hard) time synching their Viagra four-hour window of opportunity with their dating, which could last five or six hours. Barring traffic jams.

To ease this crushing time-management problem, one new Viagra variant lasts thirty-six hours. It’s called Ciallis, which is Latin for “long weekend.” Thirty-six hours? So much for Homeland Security. Get out that duct tape again.

In more unfortunate timing, the Gap people have just reintroduced their classic flat front chinos. Dockers will soon introduce pants with eight front pleats called Cockers. Sansibelts is thinking of unveiling Alta-Cockers.

Then came the news that male boomers are getting shot up with testosterone to stave off erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, and bouts of depression. The constellation of symptoms is known to some as andropause, the male version of menopause. Like early hormone replacement therapy for women, the bimonthly testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) for men has unknown long-range health effects. Nevertheless, nearly 1.3 million prescriptions were written in the first six months of 2003. Bring it on!

But such therapy may not be enough. Men seem to be facing a relentless loss of potency at a very basic genetic level. Biologists have determined that the Y chromosome has been shedding genes for some evolutionary time now. As a result, it is a fraction of the size of its partner, the X chromosome. Mother Nature has barred the Y chromosome from the standard genetic swap meet called recombination, otherwise the Y chromosome would sneak into the X, making everyone male. Hey, you can’t blame the Old Splice Girl. (All this was detailed in an article in The New York Times, post-Howell Raines, so it must be true.) Denied the benefits of recombining with the X, the helical strand of Y has been forced to survive by making a hairpin turn and recombining with itself. The sentence in Nicholas Wade’s “Science Times” article that jolted me more than my morning java was, “This narcissistic process . . . seems to be what has saved men from extinction so far.”

Now I know why men are narcissistic!

Whenever we read the paper or turn on the news these days, we see male narcissism on display: arrogant self-importance and entitlement, haughty lack of empathy, grandiose fantasies of power and security, and vengeful reaction to criticism.

Here are some prime specimens:

Joe Lieberman, freshly dipped in Betadyne for the Democratic debates, looks expectantly for a reward for his poco de Spanish. Meanwhile, he, Kerry, and Gephardt, feeling unappreciated, gang up on Howard Dean, who dares to run against the DLC.

Wesley Clark, fresh from map pointing in the CNN studios, announces his candidacy in his home state of Manchuria, while old Gore guys swarm behind him in Angela Lansbury drag.

Hummeroid Arnold Schwarzenegger disses Arianna Huffington while claiming he does not now and never has dissed women, much less pawed or groped.

Michael “Uday” Powell, head of the FCC, whines that the defeat of his proposal for new media ownership rules was caused by a “concerted grassroots effort to attack the commission from the outside in,” which used to be called democracy.

Donald Rumsfeld, wearing his Alta-Cockers, sneers at every reporter’s question, before spinning a globe to see where to invade next.

Karl Rove, now on the hot seat, may yet have to claim he overdosed at his TRT session in July as an excuse for the trashing of Ambassador Wilson and his wife.

Then there’s W. at the UN Apparently, the Occupier-in-Chief did not get the reality show memo about what poor form it is to call someone irrelevant and then return a few months later and demand cash. That might be how they date in Texas, but those so-called chocolate makers in Old Europe are not having it.