Paul Solotaroff is currently a Contributing Editor at Men’s Journal and Rolling Stone, and is the former Editor of The Village Voice. He was also once a steroid-using college student who stripped for cash during the free-swinging days of NYC’s disco era.
In his new book, “The Body Shop: Parties, Pills, and Pumping Iron – Or, My Life in the Age of Muscle,” (out now) Paul chronicles one life-changing summer, in which he transformed from a scrawny bookworm into a jacked sex machine. The transformation would cost him.
The Horah! The Horah!
The third-floor men’s room of the Vanderbilt Y was an unhappy place to work through a moral quandary, with its chipped-tooth tile and stink-bomb fetor reminiscent of an Ozark swamp. But there — three stalls down, one foot on the toilet — I stood poised, as it were, over my conscience. I had a needle in one hand, my butt cheek in the other, and a wave of dread working its way north from my chest to my pinched epiglottis. I’m not one for fainting, but the walls were starting to spin, an eddy of ripe graffiti in foot-tall Spanglish.
Angel, in the next stall, had no such qualms. Noisily unbuckling his lumbar belt, he chirped, “The big boys get the toys,” as he blithely self-administered an ampule of Deca-Durabolin. He was a great one for Deca and pushed it strongly on the malleable young men he hired, touting its merits as the “cleanest and meanest” helper in the hormone pharmacy. Even at high doses — a thousand migs a week for guys hoping for twenty-pound gains — you got little or none of the androgenic blowback that the heavier steroids threw off — the squishy-soft pecs known as “bitch tits” by juicers from high-dose Anadrol stacks; the acne, baldness, and blood pressure spikes from the prolonged use of Dianabol. Provided you were canny enough to titer your cycles — going up and down in 200-mig steps over eight- or twelve-week stints, then giving yourself a month or so off and switching to test cypionate– and–something — you could go on taking it indefinitely without fear of your liver springing a leak. Or thus spake Angel, the oracle of Deca. “Ain’t tryin’ to be the biggest one out here,” he’d say. “Just tryin’ to be big for the longest.”