THE HORMONE TRAIN

Last week I worked with an elderly woman whom, if she had not been dressed in gender-specific clothing, could have easily been mistaken for an elderly man.  Her hair was short and grey, ears elongated, face coursened, bushy eyebrows and in the morning light, numerous whiskers shimmered on her chin.   Her lipstick, earrings and manicured nails seemed out of place, as if dirty coveralls would have better suited her, and I began to wonder where I had seen such blurred dichotomy before.

Then I remembered the cute pudgy faces of babies and children, who if not also dressed gender-specific, could easily be mistaken for one another.   Beautiful, radiant, round-faced and asexual, like the angels Botticelli envisioned.  Innocent of the ways of the world and ignorant of the train.

We all ride that train, the hormone train… the rollercoaster that’s a required ride, the one that scoops us up in youth and kicks us off in age.  And why do we get on aboard?  Because Nature’s desire to continue itself supercedes everything else and we become passengers without thinking.  Without our participation, human life would end and that simply won’t do.

Long before reason and judgment fully develop in the brain, Nature flips our endocrine switch and suddenly we divide from gender-neutral to gender-specific and the only thing we seek is to become whole again.  We search relentlessly for our missing half by coupling with lovers and spouses, hook-up and heartbreaks, and along the way, Nature claims its prize:  a new generation is born.

These future riders will take our seats on the train once Nature has finished with us.  Once our breeding ability wanes, we are no longer useful and our endocrine system will slow, prompting Nature to dump us at some distant station and collect its new riders.   Once ejected, we return to our former asexual wholeness, albeit much sadder and wiser, and wonder how we managed such a whirlwind journey without really being aware of the ride itself.

But such is the cunning of Nature that it does not require our permission, only our participation.  For if it waited until we could give reasonable and objective consent, we might become so finicky and demanding that babies would be rarely born and Nature shorted its proper due.  And that, my friends and fellow riders, simply won’t do.

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