Thursday, 5 September 2013

It's All In The Testosterone, Dontcha Know

David writes…

Something you need to know about your London Walks guide...

His testosterone levels are spiking.

Or her testosterone levels - if the guide's a gal.

How do we know that? It registers. In the saliva.* They - scientists not guides - measure it.

And why are the guide's testosterone levels spiking? It's because he - or she - is the centre of attention for two hours. When that happens - it'll have happened to you, dear reader, happens to everybody - our testosterone levels go up.

Has to do with power - or so the physiologists say. You're the centre of attention that's a "power position" so up goes - better be careful how I phrase this - the old testosterone.

Invites the question, what must the Queen's testosterone levels be like?

And the other side of the hormonal coin? While the guide's testosterone levels are spiking your progesterone levels are also "reverse depth-charging" dear walker. I.E. going up and off like a Roman candle.

The reason? Quite simple, really. When we're in a social situation - an agreeable gathering of people we like or are favourably disposed to - our progesterone levels go up. And a companionable gathering of intelligent, civilised people - well, that's the textbook definition of a group of London Walkers.

For the record, it doesn't even have to be "live", doesn't have to be the real thing. Scientists say that if we're looking forward to an agreeable social gathering - envisioning it - our progesterone levels go up.

And where's all this come from? A young German scientist who specialises in this field and who was on my Little Venice walk on Sunday.

The things you learn on a London Walk.

But seriously, remember my passing on Angela's excitement earlier this summer about the goat farming family from Texas. The dad, you'll recall if you read the post, "broadcast" Economist articles into the barn so his teenage daughters had something cerebral, something informative to listen to while they milked the goats.

Angela's heartfelt conclusion: "I never, ever want to stop doing this job - not least because of the people you meet!"

Amen, Angela. And indeed amen Texas goat farming family and amen fräulein scientist.

*And elsewhere, presumably. But they measure it - test for it, take their readings - from the saliva.


A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at


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