A Hairy Subject

Warning: This post is 99% tasteless jokes, 1% serious writing. I tried to do better. You see, I wanted to write a smart and sensitive post about eunuchs, but I didn’t have the balls.

I warned you.

The pun all began with a quote from an article in this month’s Smithsonian (Jan/Feb 2023), “Sheer Willpower: The Life of the Last Empress,” by Tony Perrottet. In the decades I’ve been reading the Smithsonian, I don’t think there’s ever been a dud issue. If I had to let go of all other periodicals, I’d keep the Smithsonian.

Perrotet says, “Born around 390, the daughter of a patrician named Galla and Emperor Theodosius the Great, (Placidia) spent her infancy as a nobilissima puella, “‘most noble girl,'” in the Great Palace of Constantinople in modern Istanbul, where the royal family could watch dolphins at play while being fanned with peacock feathers by eunuchs.”

Eunuchs. Now there’s a practice long gone out of style. Though maybe not; what would I know? I’m no nobilissima puella, though I did take several years of Latin. How can something so beautiful be so painful to learn? It’s like classical ballet – those shoes hurt.

Eunuchs. How cruel, that servants of the ancient world were castrated to render them harmless to the upper echelon’s families. To think, ancient Romans were more comfortable around those with an altered gender, while we (the royal we) stigmatize transgendered people.

That’s nuts.

Eunuchs. They bring to mind my current experience with male hormones.

I have androgenic hair loss and am treating it with an androgen blocker. As far as I can tell, the drug’s Latin name translates to “twisting milk tension”. Sometimes, the cure is worse than the cold.

Apparently, my scalpular sparsity is due to male hormones. You’d think a little masculinity would make me hairy. My husband, The Yeti, is hairy. But somehow, no. It gives me male pattern baldness instead. I don’t have strong muscles or an extra twenty cents per dollar salary, just the baldness.

How might this medication change me (besides growing more hair, please)? If I’ve been manly this whole time, I’ve enjoyed it. I’m not sure I want to be eunuchized. But then again, in the words of Betty White,

“Why do people say, ‘Grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive.
If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina. Those things really take a pounding!”

And that concludes today’s deep thoughts. I’m sorry. I promise to do better next time. Until then, carpe diem testiculis, ya’ll.