Know Thyself (and Thine Man)

Don’t get emotional, but today’s post is about hormones.

We have an uneasy relationship with hormones. They affect our behavior more than we’d like to acknowledge. They interfere with our perceptions of self, personality, and free will. Quite frankly, hormones can be a little creepy.

It would behoove us women to know the average hormonal levels of the men we date. High testosterone men tend to be more aggressive, ambitious, obnoxious, and likely to chase other skirts. Lower testosterone men are more passive, thoughtful, family-oriented, and likely to exhibit borderline deadbeat behavior. It’s a sad fact, my lady friends: you can’t have it all. But you can choose.

Truth is, you can sort of tell which end a guy leans to. Those with stronger jaw lines tend have higher levels than those with more effeminate features.

Now, at this point someone is probably thinking that I’m stepping over a line here, talking about people’s hormones like this. Well, I believe it’s important to understand hormones, and not just once you’ve been married for two years without a child. Knowledge is power, and hormones are the key to understanding yourself – and your spouse.

For example, did you know that men have daily hormonal cycles? When they wake up they’re flush with testosterone. This is when they’re ready to jog and go to work and beat up the world to bring home the bacon. (For Jewish men: bring home the brisket.) If you have a male boss, the morning is a bad time to ask him for a raise. Nor is it a good time to discuss your Macys bill with your husband.  If you’re a guy, mornings are a good time to start big projects.

Levels drop by as much as 43% over the course of the day, so afternoon finds men feeling mellower. Now’s a good time for a mid-year review with your boss or to discuss remodeling the kitchen with your husband. If you’re a guy, evenings are a good time to hang with your wife.

It gets even more interesting, though. Because testosterone levels fluctuate depending on circumstances. Playing video games, team sports, or watching a favorite team win raises them. Watching their team lose, on the other hand, drags levels down.

It makes one wonder, really: which came first, NYC or the Yankees?

It also makes one wonder why women get the bad rap as the hormonal ones. At least our ambition and mood isn’t decided by who wins the World Series.

So why am I telling you this? First, because it’s my intro to what I really want to say, which will be tomorrow’s post. Second, because I do think this could improve shalom bayis. Just imagine the following common scenario.

Guy comes home from work and flops into armchair, tired. Wife comes and massages his feet, feeds him supper, and then reminds him that he promised to fix the step before someone falls down the stairs and breaks something. He says he’s really tired and just needs to unwind and he’ll get to it. She points out that he’s said this every evening. He points out that he’s tired every evening. Begin squabble.

Now imagine if this couple understood the effect of hormones in their life. The conversation would go somewhat differently.

Her: “Can you fix that step tonight? Moishela tripped over it on his way up to bed. He was crying for five minutes straight.”

Him: “I’m tired, I just need time to relax and unwind.”

Her: “No you don’t. You’re just in a hormonal slump. Why don’t you go play a half-hour of Duke Nukem to get your testosterone pumping and then take care of the step?”

Him: “Oh well, if you insist, dear. But I’m only doing it for you.”

There, you see? Knowledge is power. And “Know thyself” is among the most important knowledge you can have, after knowing thine spouse.

Part 2: Know Thyself

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7 thoughts on “Know Thyself (and Thine Man)

  1. Bad4:
    Looking forward to tomorrow’s post – can’t argue with the science, but would it work in practice??? There might also be a need to consider the kind of day the husband had before coming home, his testosterone levels could have been high all day…

    Anon613-London

  2. Male testosterone levels also decrease after becoming a father, probably to ensure he remains as a caregiver. But one can also use endorphins to as a boost. A bit of exercise, dark chocolate, red wine, spicy food, laughter, listening to some music can help boost levels. So don’t plunk him in front of the x-box just yet. Just tell him a good joke.

  3. So, if it is ok to look at men’s jaws and speculate how much testosterone (and, therefore, masculinity) they have, might it be ok for the men to look at different female body parts and speculate how much estrogen they have (and, as a result, how nurturing mothers/wives they will be, etc.)?

  4. Pingback: Know Thyself « Bad for Shidduchim

  5. CA – you mean if they’re bloated and pimply? Sadly for you, women are a cocktail of several hormones, and if there are physical signs of any, it’s usually due to an imbalance that means they can’t have kids.

    muqata – then they grow into Halo. Whatever.

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