They say that laziness is an art form. That makes me an artist, because I have perfected laziness. I have the amazing ability to stare at a screen for hours, sometimes days on end, usually binge-watching shows that I stopped liking a long time ago (read: American Dad). However, laziness is risky. Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins alongside pride, greed, wrath, lust, envy and gluttony.
Me: I just listed all seven deadly sins. I’ve been reading up. Enriching my mind. Broadening my horizons.
Observer: Stop lying. You don’t read. You got those from a movie.
Me: You’re right. But please don’t tell anyone.
Laziness hasn’t caused Kevin Spacey to come kill me (yet), but it did result in me gaining a bit of weight. What was once a six-pack had been reduced to a faint two. This was no matter. Nothing a bit of exercise couldn’t fix. It was in the middle of said exercise that I stopped to consider a few things. The one thing I kept asking myself was ‘is it worth it?’. Suppose I got back my former physique, then what?
Despite popular opinion, living with a body that resembles the cast of Magic Mike isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. This post will highlight some of the things we have to deal with every day.
When I was a kid, I didn’t take off my clothes often, so people didn’t know what was underneath. Things were simpler back then. Fast forward to today, when most of my friends have seen me in the nude thanks to a wave of insanity a few years ago, and suddenly that’s all my life has become. Almost every conversation I have leads back to talk about physique. Nearly every time I’m invited somewhere it’s to go swimming, even though my swimming’s not too good and my friends know it. When the majority of people you know are actively trying to get you to take your shirt off, you find yourself always wondering whether they really like you for you. You can never rest easy when you’re constantly questioning whether they’re your real friends or not. Your fears are strengthened every time you change just a little and they organize demonstrations to get you ‘back into shape’ as soon as possible.
We live in a world where popular culture places more value on people based on outward appearance. This doesn’t even need illustrations that go further than socialites. This is what is referred to as objectification. When your character, talents and achievements mean nothing in the face of your undressed state. There was one time I was chatting with a friend of mine, and the conversation naturally drifted into talk about me taking off my shirt. It was in the middle of this exchange that she referred to us as ‘eye candy’. That made me feel like an object, an item characterized by nothing but my rock-hard abs despite all my talents, skills and accomplishments.
That hurt me very badly, and any feelings I might have had for her faded away instantly. I left to go drown my sorrows in all the junk food I could find. Teach her a lesson.
Speaking of junk food, another problem we face is the constant barrage of questions when we eat out in public. Woe unto you if you’re in shape and order anything with even the slightest amount of cholesterol in it. You’ll definitely have somebody on your back asking for your ‘secret’ to how you can ‘eat such food and stay fit’. Nobody ever asks how you’re doing, they never want to prod your mind and engage in conversations that don’t involve looking like Chris Brown. It hurts me every time.
This objectification is the reason I haven’t inserted pictures of anything related to Magic Mike, Chris Brown or any other six-pack reference that will appear later in this post. If people are going to reduce human beings to objects, they’ll do it with photos seen elsewhere, not here.
There is the very incorrect notion that I’ve come across countless times, that all abs are the same. Anyone with even the slightest ability to distinguish anything from anything would find this perception to be extremely wrong.
I can’t even watch any more Terminator movies with people because there will always be that one person who compares me to Arnold Schwarzenegger saying something dumb like “he’s got a six-pack just like yours”, even though mine look nothing like his and are more like what Brad Pitt had in Fight Club. One can’t even take pride in the uniqueness of their own abs, because they’ll always be compared to someone else.
Not to be confused with generalizations, assumptions are the stereotypes that we’re associated with. We’re generally taken to be strong-willed, without feelings of any kind because we look like we were born to be G.I. Joes. They don’t know that behind this John Cena exterior is a Channing Tatum interior hiding a Ryan Reynolds interior hiding a person. A person, like everyone else. We’re supposed to maintain the image of sternness, never expressing emotion. That’s why I wasn’t allowed to cry when they turned Superman into a murderer in Man of Steel. The only thing I was allowed to do was express my sentiments in the form of a very casual ‘meh’.
Most people also assume that we have terrible personalities and are superficial because we ‘put too much thought into our bodies’. I would prefer that these people actually take the time to know us before they make such brash suppositions. Of course, my personality is just plain horrible, but I want people to find out for themselves by getting to know me instead of making gross postulations.
It’s not nice.
The verbal abuse
‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’, is something that doesn’t apply to us, at least not in its native form. It has to be changed up a bit. Sticks and stones can’t hurt us, because of obvious reasons.
But names do hurt us. I can’t recall how many times I’ve been on online forums being attacked for how I look, or seeing it happen to someone else like me. We’re always getting hurtful messages.
“Why do you look like a Greek god? Are you ashamed of your own religion?”
“1984 called. They want their abs back. Beards are the new six-pack”
“Why do you have a xylophone where your belly should be?”
“You’re nothing but Photoshop and you know it. Being in a video doesn’t make it real. Maybe they invented Videoshop”
I just wish people would stop it and appreciate how much we went through to look like Calvin Klein underwear models. Understand that it’s not easy.
But unfortunately, we live in a world where genuine empathy is near non-existent. For this reason, I’ve decided to hang my boots…errr…sit-ups…and give up my six-pack. From now onwards, it’s me and pizza. Maybe then my life can go back to what it was.