I’ve just started reading a book I’ve been very curious about: “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” by Robert Sapolsky. It’s a breakdown of the various physiological processes that occur when we undergo stress, and what their evolutionary advantage was (and, often, what their disadvantage is in modern times.)
The book has a number of interesting anecdotes. For instance, in the early 1900s, it was presumed that men lost their sex drive as they aged because of declining “male factors” in the testes. As a result…
Soon, aged, money gentlemen were checking into impeccable Swiss sanitariums and getting injected daily in their rears with testicular extracts from dogs, from roosters, from monkeys. You could even go to the stockyards of the sanitarium and pick out the goat of your choice — just like picking lobsters in a restaurant… this soon led to an offshoot of such “rejuvenation therapy,” namely, “organotherapy” — the grafting of little bits of testes themselves. Thus was born the “monkey gland” craze, the term gland being used because journalists were forbid to print the racy word testes. Captains of industry, heads of state, at least one pope — all signed up.
It’s a good thing I wasn’t around back then. People would doubtless observe my awesome manliness and demand — perhaps by force of law — that I contribute my impressive “male factors” to inferior specimens of man.