I Am a Wellness Asshole Now

The only thing more excruciating than soaking in a tub of freezing-cold water is telling people it actually works
Published: 6 June 2024
Matt Mahurin

To be a middle-aged man in southern California is to find yourself saying, with alarming frequency, “Yeah, I’m an asshole, one of those assholes now.” If you’ve come from somewhere else—somewhere more corn-fed and homespun and other synonyms for unhealthy—you may adopt a wholesome habit out here. You may reap physical and emotional benefits, and you will be clowned to death by your friends from home. CrossFit, breath work, bullshitting through a gratitude journal—I’ve tried them all. Some have had a positive impact on my life; others have given me items to sell on OfferUp. (I’m looking at you, matcha stirring bowl.)

This year has been especially busy on the humiliatingly-healthy-habits front. Maybe it’s a post-Covid focus on fitness, or a more robust wellness marketplace, or the fact that I hit my 50s and need to get that shit started now if I want to live forever. Whatever the reason, 2024 has been a boom time for people who want to sell wellness stuff to Dave Holmes, and the truth is that a lot of it works. Here’s an incomplete list of the kinds of asshole I am now.

The Cold Plunge Asshole

You’ve seen this on Instagram: some hot, smiling person submerged in ice-cold water, telling you how painful yet invigorating it is. Hello, I’m one of those assholes now. I acquired a cold-plunge tub from a company called Plunge—because immersion in cold water does not enhance your creative-naming skills. For 30 days and counting, I have voluntarily iced myself in it, and the only thing more excruciating than that is telling you I love it. My energy level is higher, my moods more stable, my skin tighter, and my neighbours get to hear me make an unpleasant gasping noise as I throw my body in each morning.

Like so much that is good for you, a cold plunge is agony at first. You are, after all, participating in an activity from which your body will reflexively recoil (opposite but equal to putting a hand on a hot stove). You lose your breath, you shiver, you think, Wellness influencers, now you’re just making shit up. But then your body begins to warm itself up. You feel a light euphoria. Your breathing slows. Yes, these are all symptoms of mild hypothermia, but so what? Think back to when Leonardo DiCaprio let go of that door in Titanic. Wasn’t his skin glowing? Didn’t you walk out of the multiplex feeling great about his inflammation level?

I’m a believer, so much so that I’ve invited my neighbours and friends: Come jump in this thing anytime, I tell themMy neighbours and friends have largely stopped returning my texts.


After a certain age, American men are known to worry about their testosterone level, and that age is birth. Accordingly, a number of companies geared toward keeping us T’d up have entered the men’s telehealth marketplace. My favourite is a hormone-optimisation company called Blokes; it sends a phlebotomist to your house to collect your blood, which is then run through a million tests to determine which hormones are, I guess, pessimised.

In my consultation Zoom, Blokes’ resident doctor told me my testosterone level is actually pretty high for a guy my age, a piece of news I reacted to by immediately writing it in this column. But there was still room for improvement; he suggested a peptide called sermorelin to stimulate my pituitary gland, plus regular injections and nasal spritzes of NAD+ to aid in the formation of... something in my cells, I don’t really remember, because I was using most of my brainpower to be psyched about the testosterone. I’m sticking myself with a needle weekly now, and I’m popping and sniffing those peptides. I wake up more refreshed, my brain is less foggy, and I’m much harder to run away from at parties. You’ll notice how much more clearly I’m thinking when I pull you aside to share my T-level story.

So I am here to tell you the health claims about these mildly embarrassing pursuits are mostly true. The benefits they promise—better sleep, lower cortisol levels due to reduced stress, higher energy, and more-positive moods—are real. But so is this: These benefits, and so many more, can be achieved by simply not drinking alcohol, something this election season will make it nearly impossible to do.

But what do I know? I’m not a doctor. I’m just an asshole whose T level is actually pretty high.

Originally published on Esquire US

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