I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Meat on our bones

The hot water is turned on and I’m standing in front of the sink after shaving. A towel is around my waist since I’ve just had a shower, as well. By the time I’m about to clean up, a soft knock is heard at the door. It’s my sister and she wants to get ready before she goes to bed.

“Can I come in?” she asks after I open the door a crack.

“Yeah, I’m just finishing shaving. Do you need to use the bathroom?”

“Yeah, I want to get ready to go to bed.”

“That’s fine. I’m almost done.” I leave enough space for her to move between the door and me as she enters the bathroom.

While I lean forward, towards the mirror, my sister begins to inspect my back for any pokeys – the small corpuscles of protein that appear on my upper arms and back – to squeeze. After a couple of pinches of her nails, she leans back.

“It’s not fair,” she says.

“What isn’t fair?”

“I should have your body and you should have mine.”

“I didn’t choose my body.” Even though she’s female and I’m male, our body types are nothing alike. Whereas she’s curvy, I’m lean and lanky. The only things we have in common are broad shoulders which help make our waists appear narrower than they are.

“Still -”

“And, if I had two kids, I’d look just like you, so…” I let the rest of the sentence linger. I know what she’s getting at, and it isn’t about having us re-enact a scene from Freaky Friday.

She’s frustrated, and with good reason. After her first child, her body bounced back (with time), and she looked good. When the second baby arrived in the summer, her body hasn’t returned to the shape it was before.

Looking at famous faces in magazines doesn’t help, either. They’re shockingly skinny within weeks after delivering babies. Then again, they have nutritionists and personal trainers to help them out with their bodies, while nannies take care of the growing brood.

She’s not immune to the pressure to look good. More often than not, men are succumbing to the same pressures. Flip through any men’s magazine and it’s all about the arms, abs, and ass. If I lived in a cave, I’d let myself go, but since I live in an environment that expects me to look thin, that option isn’t available to me.

This society makes us believe that if we don’t look perfect, we aren’t perfect. Perfect is in the eye of the beholder, like beauty. In some cultures buff bodies are looked upon negatively because it’s assumed their owners can’t afford to eat.

If we could only love the body we’re given we’d be happier. Or we would be happier if we weren’t constantly reminded that we have to be thin. Either that, or we could move to a society that doesn’t mind a little extra meat on our bones.


Blogger Dead Robot said...

Is that why your profile picture is of your torso?

May 09, 2008 12:23 pm  
Blogger Phronk said...

I think it's good that society values health, but yeah, it's gone a little too far in some ways. A lot of supposedly beautiful people in the media are grossly thin. The skin and bones types are totally not boneable.

May 09, 2008 2:13 pm  
Blogger Random Thinker said...

you shave after you shower? that's wierd.

and you shave at night? that's really wierd.

what's the wierdest part is that you let your sister (a) in the same bathroom as you when you're just wearing a towel; and (b) pick at growths on your back. did she pop your face pimples when you were a pubescent teen?

May 09, 2008 5:17 pm  
Blogger Shirley Heezgay! said...

i'm trying to avoid the magazines but the internet is a devil too. as i slowly lose the weight i gained over my LOA, it's sometimes quite discouraging.

i always shave after the shower, sometimes at night depending on how my skin is feeling...

no one, i mean no one is allowed in the bathroom when i'm in there.

that's just how it is on Walton Mountain.

May 10, 2008 10:39 am  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

As a newly-single straight guy, I'm definitely succumbing to the pressure of the perfect body. Hitting the gym 6-8 times a week to keep the modelesque body that the mags tell us is necessary to get the girl, and stressing when I look in the mirror and see the imperfection. When people tell me I "look great" I always disagree.

I'm not obsessed to the point that it alters my life, but I do find it a mental distraction.

May 11, 2008 11:17 am  
Blogger Dop said...

After 40 it gets even harder. All that stuff you could eat in your 20s and 30s now stays with you and doesnt just metabolize out. Because your metabolism is shot too. Ive accepted that looking young is FOR the young. I'm moving into DADDY now. And its alot easier.

Incidentally, my word verification for this post was "tbbag"

May 11, 2008 12:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eat lots of ice cream. make her feel better.

May 12, 2008 11:44 pm  
Blogger franck said...

For the record, I think it's perfectly normal to shave after you shower, and to let your sister in when you're only wearing a towel.
I also think your body looks perfect.

May 13, 2008 3:17 pm  

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