Kalah Allen
John handed me a blue pill and I swallowed it.

"Um, okay," he said. "I'm going to jump in the shower."


"I'm going to jump in the shower. You get the movie ready--fast forward through the FBI warning and then stop it right at the beginning. And get the girls to take a cigarette break so everything will be ready."

"We're going to watch a movie?" We'd both just taken 50mg of Viagra. Watching a movie wasn't what I had in mind.

"Well, it takes about an hour for it to start working."

"So we're going to abandon everyone in the middle of the movie?"

"No, we can make it through the whole thing. It only starts working once you get aroused."

I'm 23. I was already aroused.


Before deciding to write this story, I had read several recent news articles about the recreational use of Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs. The craze seemed desperate, ineffective, and pathetic. But here's what really scared me: What if I was MISSING OUT ON SOMETHING VITALLY IMPORTANT?

This singular doubt drove me to try Viagra.

After reading those articles, I was sure of one thing: the only thing standing between me and Enlightenment was a diamond-shaped pill specifically designed to aid the impotent.

I had to know. Now.

Despite my need to know, something about the idea of taking Viagra MADE ME NERVOUS. Every time I decide to try a new drug, I PANIC. I take the drug and then I start to panic until SOMETHING HAPPENS. Somewhere in my mind I still can't shake the notion that ALL DRUGS KILL YOU. I refuse to believe I'm not dying until the proposed drug effect starts and settles in. Before that, I firmly believe that the impending intoxication will be CATASTROPHIC.

It doesn't matter what it is. Someone could give me a multivitamin and tell me it was OxyContin, and my body would release enough nervous adrenaline to rival the effects of most addictive substances.

In my opinion, the best drugs are placebos. The reality of a drug never lives up to my fantasy of what it might do, so for me, the best drug of all is "Mystique."

Another rule I have is this: If something makes me nervous, I just have to do it right away. If someone hands me a tablet of Viagra and I get a little shaky, I swallow it immediately. That's what scientists call a "fight or flight" situation. The way I see it, the best way to fight drugs is to do them and be done with it. It's better for my health to have the knowledge that I'm not missing out on anything by not taking Viagra.


And so I sat there, dizzy with nerves and very quiet, fast forwarding through the credits of Mifune and joking with John's roommates. The pill was disintegrating in the sea of my stomach acid. The entire time I kept thinking, "I'm going to die. I'm going to die. All the blood is going to rush to my penis, and I'll turn white and pass out and have to go to the hospital and they won't be able to stop my erection. My penis will explode--no, they'll have to amputate it. I'm going to faint and wake up a castrati and that will be the end of it."

For a moment, I wished I'd never swallowed that blue diamond.

Finally John got out of the shower and we started the movie. We sat dangerously close to one another on the couch. Subtle chemical changes asserted themselves in my nether-regions; I felt the blood migrating to my package. I got a little bit of a headrush. On top of that, my balls felt like they were GLITTERING.

The film turned out to be serious, melancholy, and therefore, Scandinavian. I experienced several moments of inappropriate semi-hardness during those two hours. I wasn't rock-hard, but I felt that I was always about to get an erection. My dick felt primed.

When the movie ended, John and I retired to the bedroom.

"So, how's your Viagra?" I asked.

"Good. I felt a little light-headed."

"Yeah, me too," I said. "You know, I'm feeling pretty tired."

"Me too."

"But we have to have sex. It's my job." I considered the truth of this momentarily.

We started kissing. We got erections, which wasn't unusual. My erection did seem a little harder than usual, but it was nothing to write home about.

We had sex and came and that was that. Personally, I'm limited to one orgasm per day. Once I've come, it's over--I'm not getting a second erection, so just forget about it. However, I did feel the stirrings of a second wave of arousal while on Viagra. But they were just stirrings.


The next day, I'd forgotten about the whole Viagra business. I had a little headache when I woke up, but nothing else to remind me of the experience. Viagra, like everything else that had ever made me nervous, was really nothing. As far as I was concerned, my relationship with Viagra was over.

But Viagra had other plans for me.

I spent the afternoon gathering plums and cherries in a pasture near Reed College. The sun beat down; the juice of the cherries ran down my naked torso and made my hands sticky. Something about the luscious curves of those fruits and their sweet filth just took me over. As I was leaving, I started to get hard again.

I couldn't believe it. "This must just be one of those over-relaxed erections that you get on a long bus ride," I thought. "It'll disappear in a second."

It didn't disappear in a second. The erection grew and grew, swelling against my jeans and demanding attention. Believe me, I don't develop demanding erections out of the blue. I don't get hard unless I'm messing around, or thinking about messing around, or on public transit.

I got in the car, groaning about the insistence of my erection. It just got harder and harder as we drove. When I got out of the car, it was really in-your-face; the obvious shape of my penis stretched sideways against my pants, struggling to escape.

"You know," John offered, "I've read that those drugs can take up to 36 hours to exit your system." He went on to admit that similar residual effects had haunted him throughout the day, summoning erections out of the blue.

When we got out of the car, I immediately picked up some plastic lawn chairs and positioned them strategically before my crotch. I carried them into the backyard nonchalantly, calling out to John's roommates as I passed:

"Oh, hey, we were just picking cherries! Hahaha! I'm going to take these chairs into the backyard!"

I ran into the bedroom and silenced my relentless hard-on.


I was in Powell's just the other day and saw a new book called Diary of a Viagra Fiend. That's one way of knowing when something isn't funny anymore: when someone writes contemporary fiction about it. On top of that, The New York Times recently ran several articles on the recreational use of the drug: methheads are cutting their wares with a little Viagra; club-kids combine it with ecstacy and call it "trail mix."

That's what people are snorting now.

The whole idea is ridiculous, like getting high on fresh nutmeg or smoking banana peels. Call me conservative, but you're better off doing nothing; it's easier, cheaper, and less boring.

If you really feel like you have nothing to do, I have good news: Viagra is good for nothing. For those who don't really need it, Viagra just adds another unnecessary thing to think about. Sex, above almost anything else, should be simple.

So if you want my advice, here it is: Skip the Viagra. If you want to fuck, just fuck.