“Pulled all the poison ivy in the front yard!” He grinned like a lunatic. A lunatic soon to be covered in oozing welts.
“You didn’t,” I replied, stunned yet again at my husband’s thought process. Or lack thereof.
I should probably say here that my husband is terribly allergic to poison ivy. Violently allergic. This is a man who can get a poison ivy rash simply by standing a hundred paces downwind of a lone plant.
“Yup,” he continued blithely. “I used rubber gloves. But then I noticed a couple of plants that I’d missed so I wrapped a plastic grocery bag around my hand and pulled them. I’m pretty sure I got them all.”
“Oh, god,” I moaned.
This little story leads neatly into my topic for today: fatal and near-fatal testosterone poisoning in the human male. I got to contemplating this subject when I was researching dueling for my third book, The Serpent Prince. Amazingly, I ran into a veritable goldmine of Stupid Male Behavior in History. Such as…
The year was 1613, the gentlemen in question were Edward Sackville, the Earl of Dorset and Lord Edward Bruce. Both men were interested in the same lady, Venetia Stanley, and naturally they decided to settle who would wed her by dueling. But dueling was very much frowned upon by the king at that time, so first they had to travel to The Netherlands. There they fought with rapiers. Dorset started off fairly badly by immediately receiving a sword thrust through his chest. You might think that would be the end of the whole thing right there, but if you did, you would be a) a female and b) not taking into account testosterone. Dorset kept fighting, in the process losing a finger. At one point, both duelist were locked together by their blades with each refusing to give ground. Eventually Dorset wrestled his blade free and stabbed Bruce twice, killing him. Dorset returned to England in triumph—only to find that Miss Stanley had married a third man in his absence.