Transcript | This American Life

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Updated on October 25th, 2018
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Ira Glass

It's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. Each week on our program, of course, we choose some theme, bring you a variety of different kinds of stories on that theme. Today's program, Testosterone. And just how much does it determine of our personalities and fates? We have arrived at act three of our program, Act Three, Contest-osterone.

At some point in putting together this week's radio show, Alex, who you heard a lot of in the first half of our program, suggested that it might be a fun thing to do, it might illustrate some interesting principles about testosterone, if everybody on the radio staff would get their testosterone level checked. We could each predict who would come out as number one, number two, and so forth, based on their personalities. And then we would compare the results with what each of us had predicted. Since men always have a lot more testosterone than women, we would do two rankings, one for the men, one for the women. We invited two of our regular contributors, David Rakoff and Sarah Vowell, to take part with us, making it five men and four women in all.

It turns out to be remarkably easy to get your testosterone assessed. You spit into a little tube twice a day and send it to a lab, in our case, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. And I think it was Jonathan and Starlee, producers on our show who you sometimes hear during stories on the air, who pointed out first that the entire enterprise might not be such a good idea.

I just think we're opening a whole can of worms here that we don't want to be doing.

It's all very-- well, this whole thing's sort of a mess, diplomatic-wise.

Like either we'll walk away from this finding out that Starlee has more testosterone than I do, and she'll end up being incredibly upset, and I'll be upset. And everyone will just be upset. What do we hope to gain from all of this? This whole thing is going to lead to heartbreak somehow.

I've been thinking a lot about it. And I can't really decide whether I want to have more or if I want to have less.

This is Wendy, another producer.

I don't know. Having more makes me seem like an [BLEEP] hole. And having not enough makes me seem like a pushover or sucker.

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Transcript | This American Life

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