…He walks into the bar with the leather jacket, silver rings dangling from the seams. He has the upside-down, bushy and elongated pyramid hanging from his chin and the broad shoulders of a silverback gorilla. He looks awkward not because of his wearing sunglasses indoors but because he lacks the pot-beer-belly you would typically find on a man of his stature in a bar. Wrapping his jacket around the barstool before sitting down, you observe he’s almost as sinewy as the front chest of a Churchill Downs racehorse. His presence commands attention from not only those within his immediate vicinity but also from the girls playing at pool across; they pause slightly but not long enough for him to catch them staring. It’s only a matter of time before he gets his non-alcoholic beverage, stands up, and makes his way over to the girls at the pool table for conversation…
I googled ‘courage and testosterone‘ once. I was curious about why I am the way I am. No, I’m not the guy above – my upside down pyramid would be rather flimsy and airy, I prefer modest leather jackets and I’m probably as sinewy as a teenaged tiger. What led to the googling was a two-pronged attack from my history.
- A girl I was seeing when I was in Japan admired my outgoing personality and she wished she could be more courageous and less timid.
- I remembered a former female mentor saying, ‘women just don’t have as much testosterone as men. They have this fear always in the back of their mind.’
Maybe the two were related, I thought.
The google result says: *Bing (Survey Says)
Testosterone is present in males and females, but females have a lot less unless you are Caster Semenya. I’ve never had my levels of testosterone tested. And I don’t think my Bro or Cousin has had their levels tested either. Men with higher testosterone levels are more out-going, risk-seeking, aggressive and muscular.
I question what makes us different. According to 23andme’s customer care, Bro and I share 50% of our genes while Cousin and I share 12.5%. The facts: both Bro and Cousin work a traditional, secure 9-5 job with, they don’t follow the religion of physical exertion and they enjoy the luxuries of an air conditioned car ride home or a leather sofa equipped with large flat screen TV. Comfort is neatly intertwined with their DNA.
Think of me as the opposite in almost every respect. No 9-5, body-weight exercise guru, and sweater – I’d rather rely on my body’s own cooling mechanisms than to blast it with cold air.
My bank account may not be as fat as Bro’s and Cousin’s, but I am completely comfortable and confident that I’m on my right path. I’ve bungeed in Nepal and now I’m looking forward to skydiving – maybe New Zealand on a working holiday visa. I’ve worked with massive, 800KG+ dairy cows and was even stepped on by one of them. I walk up to random girls on the street to strike up a conversation with them, hoping that there’s some sort of chemistry that prompts me to ask them for their number. I am not afraid to be in a foreign place. I don’t worry about 99% of the things my family worries about – if it’s my time to go, its my time to go.
… I’m 5 years old and Mom, Bro and me are flying somewhere making use of Mom’s flight benefits with American Airlines. The ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign is on because there’s a crazy amount of turbulence. I look over to my Mom and tell her, “Don’t worry, Mom. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go, right?” She looks at me in shock. People seated around me turn and stare at me.
Mom may have taught her son a wise saying to prepare him with prospect of death, but she forgot to teach him there’s a place and a time to say such a thing.
Whether the testosterone comes before the lean muscle mass, vice versa, or they come simultaneously, I would suggest to start some sort of weight-training regimen. I think this is what sets me apart from Bro and Cousin in terms of confidence, motivation, and risk-taking. I hope they’re reading this so that it will give them a kick in the butt to get up off the couch. Writing this post has definitely given me a slap in the face to catch up to them in terms of financial security although living on the edge has been quite cool.
I don’t know if women, from a testosterone point of view, have the capacity to be as bold as men – they just have significantly lower levels of testosterone. Or maybe they’re even more badass because they can do some of the same things as men but with lower levels of testosterone.
It’s easy. Lacking confidence (testosterone)? Do some push-ups. Cut out alcohol. Fast. Take cold showers. Jump into a foreign situation and climb your way out. I remember being in high school and observing the alpha males in society wherever I went – grocery store, shopping mall, movie theater, gym. I remember wondering how I could become one of them in the future.
The future is here. Yes, my eyes still scan the crowd, but it’s happening less and less. I have found comfort within. Still climbing.
The outside world is a great teacher, but the work is done inside.