I enjoyed the recent story in the NYT magazine about a new pill (“Lybrido”) intended to enhance the female libido. The pill is destined for women like Zita, 31, who described her problem this way: “It was great at first. My husband and I were like jackrabbits.” Then eagerness became avoidance: there was nighttime cleaning that had to be done, or homework for a physician’s-assistant course that couldn’t wait. She hoped her husband would be asleep by the time she slid into bed. She still found him attractive, “but I don’t know, I don’t know how to explain it. Over time, his sex drive decreased a little, and mine decreased kind of drastically.”
I contacted Daniel Bergner, the author of the NYT article, and he revealed to me that a substantial snippet of his reporting was inadvertently left out of the piece. Here follows the missing part of the story:
A team of neuroscientists based in Belfast, Northern Ireland is on the verge of announcing a competing female libido pill, which causes a predetermined group of stimulating images and sounds to course through a woman’s brain. “Irish men are the most effective, of course,” explained Dr. Fionnuala O’Flanagan, the head of the working group. “We tried Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. But none of them generated the same ecstatic response.” The team attributes the effect to a newly discovered neurotransmitter, dubbed “hindsamine,” that directly affects the female limbic system as well as the prefrontal cortex.
“Ciarán Hinds represents a whole different order of magnitude,” agreed Dr. Siobhan Connelly, the team’s sexologist. “He delivers a unique combination of visual and auditory stimuli. We were casting around for possibilities, and we discovered his fan site online, where women were manually self-administering the raw ingredients, sometimes in massive doses.” The final product, with the trade name “Ciaris,” is said to be a potent cocktail of video clips and still photos from throughout Mr. Hinds’ career, including a scene from the 1990 movie December Bride where his character Frank Echlin sets a lamp swinging, one from 2009’s Above Suspicion where he confronts a bathrobe-clad Kelly Reilly, and several scenes as Julius Caesar where he purses his lips. As the drug takes effect, a montage of stills from the late 90s plays while Mr. Hinds speaks in French and Russian, then reads Captain Wentworth’s climactic love letter from 1995’s Persuasion.
With Nastassja Kinski in The Lost Lover (screen caps by Linnet)
“There were a few we didn’t dare include,” says Dr. O’Flanagan. “like the ‘godless harlot’ scene from Ivanhoe. That’s dangerous even in trace amounts.” Other ingredients, such as a steamy sex scene in the 1998 television movie Getting Hurt, were too rare and elusive to be used in a product for the mass market, and increased the drug’s overdose potential. “Between the nudity and the bull moose call, we had to make the difficult decision to leave it out,” she explained. “though I fear that bootlegged pills containing this controversial ingredient may appear eventually on the black market.”
As DCI Langton in Above Suspicion
“Why is the Hinds factor so powerful?” asks the team’s geneticist, Dr. Niamh Callaghan. “I suspect it’s to do with the genetic profile of men from the province of Ulster. Hinds just may be the most libido-enhancing man to arrive on the scene since Cúchulainn strode the plain of Muirthemne, raising female temperatures to dangerous highs over all the land of Erinn.” She looked nervously about her and added, “Don’t tell them I said this, but if this drug receives worldwide distribution, I have serious concerns about global warming.”
As Adam in L’amante perduto
Facing an array of skeptical pharmaceutical companies and government agencies, the scientists were forced to test the drug on themselves in initial trials. “My husband was ecstatic for about a week,” said Dr. O’Flanagan. “Now when he sees me, he takes to his heels faster than Ciarán in the airplane scene from Deadly Intent.” “Too true,” agreed Dr. Connelly. “Mine calls me Godzilla now.” But both women insisted that by tinkering with the dosages, they have ensured that the end product is safe when used as directed. It is administered with a glass of Bordeaux, or failing that, a pint of Guinness. Side effects are said to include racing heartbeat, rubbery leg muscles, and drooling. Asked whether there was any danger of addiction, the team scornfully dismissed the possibility, insisting that they could stop any time they wanted.
The scene was chaotic as test subjects emerged wobbly-legged from the Belfast clinic where the final trials were taking place. One was already on the phone to her boyfriend. “I don’t care if yer knackered,” she said. “Get your wee arse home right now. Yer about to be knickered!” Others wandered about dazed, bumping into lampposts and muttering nonsense syllables: “dead jammy… dead jammy… happy bunny… happy bunny.”
The team hopes that once the product is successfully established on the market, nanotechnology will enable them to create a next-generation drug that adapts itself to the individual Hindsian preferences of each woman.
With any luck, the Belfast Pill will be on the market soon. But until then… there’s ciaranhinds.eu.
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