The Manly Experiment

I woke up to blinding white light and as I tried to get up from the bed I was tugged back by arm restraints. I tossed my head from side to side. The room was white. Not off white but pure white. No pictures, no television, no curtains. Most importantly, no windows. The inside of my head felt hollowed out and full of cobwebs. My mind went to the worst case scenario. I was in an insane asylum. I let out a little laugh because my wife always told me she was going to commit me some day. Our little sick joke. The door opened and a woman wearing a white lab coat entered the room. She was holding a clipboard. She wrote something down and walked over to me.

‘Do you need to urinate?’ she asked.

I hadn’t really thought of it but yes, I had the urge. She set the clipboard down at the end of the bed and undid the restraints. I rubbed my wrists as they were red and raw. I hobbled over to the bathroom with no door and relieved myself. As I finished, I noticed something missing. I patted myself ‘down there’ and looked. My testicles were gone. A wave of dizziness and nausea overtook me. I staggered over to the bathroom sink and grasped it as I looked in the mirror. A pale white face with dark circles around the eyes stared back at me. I heard a voice but it sounded like mumbling and then I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the woman.

‘Do you need assistance?’

I stared back at her and shook my head. She grabbed my elbow anyway, and helped me back to the bed. My mind raced in a million different directions. Where was I? How long had I been here? And most importantly, where were my testicles? The woman stared at me as I crawled back under the covers. I felt no pain, no aggression or rage towards my situation. I tried to muster these emotions but my mind and body wouldn’t cooperate. The woman wrote something down on the clipboard again and I spoke. What came out of my mouth was the equivalent of verbal diarrhea. Ending in one question, ‘how did I get here?’

The woman smiled. She explained that I had been drugged and brought here by my wife. There had been a want ad in the local newspaper: Leading hospital looking for healthy males between the ages of 20-35 with prior history of aggression for experiment on the effects of low testosterone. 30 day hospital stay. Payment $10,000-$20,000. My first thought was, damn, my testicles are worth more than that, however, my mind didn’t register the rest of the explanation. I couldn’t fathom why my wife would resort to such measures. We were in debt but who wasn’t. And sure, I lost my temper now and again but that’s human nature, right? This nightmare continued when the woman explained that the experiment was based on lowering testosterone in men to curb aggression. She spouted medical journal reviews and scientific claims that decreased levels of testosterone would lower the rate of violence. I suddenly felt the hints of a migraine coming on. I looked up at the woman. Her mouth was moving but I couldn’t make out the words. My vision tunneled as if I were looking through a pin hole and then everything went black.

I woke up to blinding white light. This time I reached down between my legs hoping that this was all a nightmare and I would awake next to my wife in my own bed back home. Nope. Nothing down there. Despite the predicament I was in, I still didn’t feel rage or anger. Instead, I felt—tranquil. I tried sitting up and to my surprise the restraints were gone. I lifted myself off the bed and shuffled to the bathroom. The same pale face stared back. The door creaked open and the same lady entered the room. I shuffled out of the bathroom. She explained that the experiment had concluded and that I was free to leave. Someone would be by shortly to drop off my clothing and belongings. She didn’t hesitate or waiver in her instructions. After which, she promptly left the room. I walked back to the bed and sat down, waiting. I thought about my wife and what she had done to me. Still no rage or anger. Only a sense of calm. Finally, a woman dressed in white nurse’s scrubs knocked on the door. She waited a second and entered with a bag that contained my belongings. She instructed me to put my clothes on and she would escort me to the front desk. Like an obedient child, I did as I was told. She led me by the elbow out of the room and down a narrow hallway. I arrived at the front desk and the woman told me to have a nice day. I asked her what day it was and she said Halloween.

I left the building and caught the bus home. Everything seemed the same as I had left it with one exception. No trace of my wife existed in the house except for the couch and the television. Still feeling that strange sense of calmness, I turned on the television and slumped down on the couch. The newscaster reported on how violence in the city had decreased by 80%. I smiled.

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