Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Foolery #29: The European Rats' Underpants

First, a bad joke I heard in Fairbanks, Alaska:

Question: How is going to the bathroom an international experience?

Answer: You Russian to the American, then European!
(say it out loud & slow down the nationalities if you don't get it)

As a librarian, I was slightly miffed that our online staff newsletter that brought us this gem (If you're brave you can order this or the penguin poo T-shirt) did not give us the author's name, journal title, or even a date for the actual scientific research conducted by a urologist that involved real rats wearing real rat underpants. The squirrels are so behind. yeah, so why did you have to torture us with that lame joke?

Thanks to the ubiquity of 'rat underpants', I found the research citation and my beloved husband (who was present during the bad Alaskan joke) exploded with laughter for it is

Shafik, A. "Effect of different types of textiles on sexual activity. Experimental study." European Urology 1993;24(3):375-80. (PubMed ID) PMID 8262106 if you don't believe me.

The abstract begins:

The effect of wearing different types of textiles on sexual activity was studied in 75 rats which were divided into five equal groups: four test groups and one control. Each of the four test groups were dressed in one type of textile pants made of either 100% polyester, 50/50% polyester/cotton mix, 100% cotton or 100% wool. Sexual behaviour was assessed before and after 6 and 12 months of wearing the pants and 6 months after their removal.
Bottom line: Nobody performed well with polyester. Duh.

If all this sounds vaguely familiar, you were listening to All Things Considered on National Public Radio just over a year ago on April 9, 2008.

It is a good thing with my current part-time schedule that I'm not on the reference desk because I would be hard pressed to keep a straight face if someone asked me for European Urology in the near future.


Matt Hoy said...

This research is covered in-depth in Mary Roach's "Bonk". She interviewed the researcher, who is supposedly a well-known sex researcher. Funny stuff.