, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hypogonadism, Snod read.

So, The Head”s not coming back, he said to himself.

‘It means he needs to have continued treatment for the condition.’

The Headmaster’s wife added that her husband had self-prescribed a

Harley-Davidson and a trip through the Gobi Desert with a friend who

had been similarly challenged.  Apparently she seemed very happy

about the outcome, as he should be away for some weeks, if not


Virginia came into Gus’ office quietly and put his rolled tie on the desk

and left him his tea tray, before exiting like a shadow.

He had removed the said garment at her house the previous night, but

had not removed much else and he had left ( in the early hours it must be


Being of the old school, he had not stayed the night chez Virginia.

In the morning he had nearly been late for the first time in his career, as the

only tie he could find was one that Diana had given him, which bore a tiny pig

and the initials MCP.

He thought that had been a joke.  Had it?

He looked in the mirror in his private loo.  He had felt an old rush of

testosterone last night.  He knotted his favourite tie and smoothed his hair.

He looked younger; his skin looked fresher than John Humphrys’ and yet

that old dog had scored in later life.  What did the presenter have to be

grumpy about? He was raking it in from Mastermind, no doubt.  Mind you,

he had to work with Sarah Montague on the Today programme.


So, the job advertisement would have to be published in order that interviews

could be held in May.  Would he apply?  As Eliza Doolittle nearly said:

Not By our Lady Likely! ( Snod always censored himself, even in quotations, which

amused his pupils.)  But was that adjustment blasphemy instead?  Hmm..

He sat down to drink his tea and eat his Bourbon biscuits- ‘Back to two now’,

he noticed.  Well, Lent was over and the flesh was operational again.

And how!

He typed ‘hypogonadism‘ into Google.  Yes, he had been tired recently.

Apathetic, even.  Grumpy?  Well, he had been irritable for years.  Pupils- he

would not use the term ‘students’ for boys in L5-9- such as Boothroyd-Smythe

had been grit in his oyster for decades.  No wonder he was a little impatient.

What didn’t kill you made you stronger, however.

He read a comment from a comedian called Stephen Colbert who quipped that

Low T, or a dip in manly hormone, was ‘a pharmaceutical-company-recognised

condition affecting millions of men with low testosterone, previously known as

getting older.’

Was that why he had bought the leather jacket in Turkey?  It didn’t look the

same in this cold Northern light.  Maybe he should get it out again?

Smiling to himself, he thought that he would ask Virginia to High Tea at

Bradley Manor some time.  It was a seduction technique that would

overpower most women, he suspected, never mind any age-related

inevitabilities of Low T.

And he was getting to be such an expert on women. Anthony Revelly’s genes

were still spiralling around his son’s DNA, like moths round a guttering flame.

Anyway, if Life was Too Short to Stuff a Mushroom, as he had read

somewhere, and goodness knows, he had never felt a desire to perform

such an activity, one’s mortal coil was definitely too short to allow his

vegetable love to grow vaster than empires yet more slow, or however

Marvell had cavalierly put it.  He should seize the moment- by the cojones,

if necessary.  Where had he learned that word? Carpe diem and all that.

He could even take up fly fishing. He didn’t have 30,000 years to appreciate

Virginia’s quaint honour.  (He was uncomfortable with the etymology of this

adjective, but no matter..)  No, they would make the sun run.

Complaining by the side of Humber he would leave to miserable poets, such as

Larkin, so he would serve out his time as Senior Master only.  Let others take

up the accursed mantle of Headship; he was going to take up his life-and walk,

nay gallop!

He may even apply to be on Mastermind.  Maybe it was the moisturiser he had

taken to using recently, at Diana’s insistence, but-yes!- he definitely had fewer

wrinkles than the Today presenter.  It couldn’t be attributed to post-coital

relaxation, as the activity had not yet taken place.

Title card