So, my S.O. and I got to talking about Red Bull the other night. Neither of us drink it — he doesn’t like it, and my heart would probably explode if I looked directly at a can of it for too long — but somehow the topic of Red Bull and bull semen came up.
Somehow, long ago, there was a pervasive myth that Red Bull energy drinks contained bull semen. This probably has something to do with Red Bull containing taurine, an amino acid most people don’t think too much about (but was one of the drink’s selling points). Taurine was first found in cattle bile, hence the name “Red Bull,” but theirs is synthetic. At some point, I think “an amino acid derived from cattle bile” took a spin through the Rumor Mill and became “Red Bull is just chock full of bull jizz, my dudes.”
Anyhow! My S.O. and I were talking about a post he’d seen perpetuating the myth, and he was trying to dig up the Snopes article explaining why Red Bull being some kind of bovine spank sauce was, no pun intended, a cock and bull story.
Let me preface this by saying that I have a weird job (and no, it doesn’t even involve masturbating cattle). I accept assignments from people I’ve never met or spoken to before, I write articles about them, I send them away, and money appears in my bank account. Most of these assignments are things I would never, ever think to delve into on my own, like the natural range of pine borer beetles. Or cow insemination.
So, naturally, my response to him was, “Never mind that. Have any of these people actually seen what a unit of bull semen goes for?”
Because, for real — it’s not cheap. The fact that there’s no special substances found in bull semen and literally only one use for it (as this article points out) notwithstanding, who’s gonna waste it on soda?
It’s a lot like the “McDonald’s hamburgers use ground earthworms as filler” story. I can guarantee it is only believed by people who have never had to buy bait or raise worms. Likewise, if you’re shelling out actual money for units of bull semen to put in soda, you’re going to end up charging a pantload more than four bucks a can.
Like the Snopes article about McDonald’s points out, rumors don’t have to make sense — our imaginations get captured by the gross-out factor. Usually, though, even the most compellingly disgusting rumor doesn’t really hold up when you look at its monetary practicality.