Good News/Bad News

Flash! This just in from England’s Daily Mail newspaper. It seems that scientists have found the secret for men to live longer lives! One word: castration. That’s right, you heard me. Researchers inKorea have shown that eunuchs — castrated men living centuries ago — outlived other men by a significant margin. Their findings suggest that male sex hormones are responsible for shortening the lives of men. After careful studies of genealogy records of noble members of the Imperial court of the Korean Chosun dynasty (AD 1392-1910) were made, this evidence has come to light.

Kyung-Jin Min, ofInhaUniversity, said: “This discovery adds an important clue for understanding why there is a difference in the expected life span between men and women.” The castrated boys inKorealost their reproductive organs in accidents — usually after being bitten by dogs (what’s that all about?) — or underwent castration purposefully to gain early access to the palace (talk about being obsessed with status and power). Eunuchs were allowed to marry and had families by adopting castrated boys or normal girls.

Min and his colleague Cheol-Koo Lee, ofKoreaUniversity, studied exacting records made at that time and found that eunuchs lived 14 to 19 years longer than other men did. Out of the 81 eunuchs they studied, three lived to the age of 100 or more, a feat of longevity that remains relatively rare even in developed countries today. Can you imagine waking up one day and saying to yourself, “I think I’ll devote my life to the study of eunuchs.” What would that be called, eunuchology? Do you get a degree in Eunuchological Studies?

The scientists noted the incidence of centenarians among Korean eunuchs is at least 130 times greater than it is in the developed countries, and that can’t be explained simply by the benefits of life in the royal palace, either. They said most eunuchs spent as much time outside the palace as they did inside it (although they didn’t have much of a love life in either place). And, in fact, kings and male members of the royal family had the shortest lives of all, typically surviving only to their mid-forties.

The research team, whose findings were published in the journal Current Biology, not to mention Neuter Quarterly, said their findings may offer some clues to life extension. My question is, did these guys really live longer because they were castrated or did it only SEEM longer? After all, those winter nights inKorea really drag on without your rootie-kazooties.

Once you eliminate date night in your life, what have got? Bowling with eunuchs might make for an interesting reality show, but it doesn’t exactly add up to an evening filled with high voltage passions. My guess is looking forward to a life of tending to the garden and sock sorting might make each additional year feel like an eternity.

Here’s another question. Let’s say they PROVE that getting de-jeweled really does add years and years to one’s life … then what? Do you think we’ll suddenly see long lines of men waiting to get the operation just to have a few extra years of life watching Wheel of Fortune? How many real men are willing to separate themselves from their two best friends? How many guys do you know who are willing to make the trade? And for what? To sing lead soprano in the Community Chorale?

Oh sure, there’ll be a few. Some people will do anything it takes, no matter how stupid, if they think it’ll permit them to live longer. How else do you explain yoghurt and tofu burgers? So of course some egocentric idiots who actually believe their silly lives are so valuable that they deserve to live more years on this planet than other people will be first in line at the chopping block.

Some guys don’t even need the surgery, of course, because, let’s face it, there are some guys that just come that way naturally. Matter of fact I can think of several guys I knew in the film industry, as farfetched as that might sound. Or am I confusing courage for cojones? I don’t think so, how many really brave eunuchs do YOU know? I can’t name one.

OK, I think we’ve gone about as far as we should go on this subject. Or as Jack Benny might have said, “Now, cut that out!”

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