This American Life last week was incredible (a repeat from 2002 I've missed all these years.) Everyone should listen to it.
Stories of people getting more testosterone and coming to regret it. And of people losing it and coming to appreciate life without it. The pros and cons of the hormone of desire.
This American Life producer Alex Blumberg explains that he wanted to do this show because of his conflicted relationship with his own testosterone. He tells host Ira Glass that the reasons go back to a girl in his eighth-grade homeroom and the 1970s seminal feminist novel The Women's Room. We also hear from a man who stopped producing testosterone due to a medical treatment and found that his entire personality was altered. (9 minutes)
Act One. Life at Zero.
The interview with a man who lost his testosterone continues. He explains that life without testosterone is life without desire—desire for everything: food, conversation, even TV. And he says life without desire is unexpectedly pleasant. The man first wrote about his experiences, anonymously, in GQ Magazine. (7 minutes)
Act Two. Infinite Gent.
An interview with Griffin Hansbury, who started life as a woman, but began taking massive testosterone injections seven years ago, and now lives as a man. He explains how testosterone changed his views on nature vs. nurture for good. (17 minutes)
Song: "To Sir With Love," Lulu
Act Three. Contest-osterone.
The men and women on staff at This American Life decide to get their testosterone levels tested, to see who has the most and least, and to see if personality traits actually do match up with hormone levels. It turns out to be an exercise that in retrospect, we might not recommend to other close-knit groups of friends or co-workers. (12 minutes)
Song: "What Kind of Man Are You?," Ray Charles
Act Four. Learning to Shut Up.
Novelist Miriam Toews, author of The X Letters (which appeared in an earlier episode of the show), tells the story of a recent road trip she took with her fifteen-year-old son. (11 minutes)
Song: "That's Alright, Mama," Elvis Presley