September 18, 2015

Giving The Finger To Getting Jacked: It's YOUR Body, Not Theirs.

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook about the “Spornification” of male beauty standards:

A man who works to have the body of “modern porn-stars, sports heroes and of course, movie stars… the lean-yet-jacked look has become the [ultimate display] of masculinity”.

A stock photo of the Spornosexual.
This is the male body type our culture is now pressuring men to conform to. It’s an entirely artificial, completely unnatural “designer” body type. To maintain the spornosexual body, a man has to work out obsessively and stick to a diet that borders on religious doctrine.

Now, before I continue, one important clarification…

If you actually enjoy the military-style life that getting jacked requires, if to you building such a body is a passion, an interest, something that makes you happy in your heart of hearts… If body-building for you is a fun, enjoyable pastime… You can stop reading now. Good day, sir, and happy [kettlebell] snatch to you!

But if you are stuck on the gym treadmill, if when you look at yourself in the mirror, you feel nothing but contempt and disappointment at your apparent failure to get “fit” or “jacked”, keep on reading. If you’ve ever let out a wan sigh, and bemoaned your “gaining 10 pounds” and “feeling hideous and fat” as a result, keep on reading.

I see guys who work hard to maintain this jacked-spornosexual body type. From what I can tell, it’s a full-time job. Hours at the gym. Endless plates of greens and boneless-skinless chicken breasts. Self-flagellation publicly shared if they eat a piece of cheese cake. I see updates on their lowered body-fat percentages, their trimmer waists, their bench press gains, and so on. Photos of 6-packs, legs, arms, and more. It seems to me they’ve commoditized themselves into a collection of body parts that they, and others, rate in value.

I wonder, “Has this man placed the foundation of his self-esteem onto his physical body? What is going to happen to him as he ages, or if he has an injury? Will he feel unworthy as a man, and undeserving of love if this happens?"

"Will the people who profess to love him, but only began to love him when he became ‘jacked’… Will these people abandon him?”

September 4, 2015

So A Gay Guy Walks Into A Redneck Bar…

I’d been in Minnesota for the past week for work, and I decided to stay through the weekend to hike and hang out at a lake. Friday rolled around, and after a dip in the quarry near the office, I was sitting in my car deciding how to spend my evening.

My client had told me about a country/western bar out on the east end of town. She said it was very “authentic”. I popped onto the bar’s website, and it turned out that there was a country band playing that night. I decided to go because I like a good bit of country music now and again.

I got in my car and headed east of town, where the bar was.

When I first saw the bar as I pulled up to it, I thought for just a moment, “Maybe I should turn around and go back into town…”

I was about to go full-on redneck.

You see, my client was NOT kidding when she said it was authentic. So authentic in fact, that the bar had the word “Redneck” in its sign out front. And a GIGANTIC “Budweiser” sign on the side. And a “Harley-Davidson” sign in bright neon lights. The parking lot was filling up with massive, loud pickup trucks. 

I parked and steeled myself in my car for a minute. Perhaps my fear was a irrational. But perhaps not. I've read about, heard about, and experienced the obstinate, irrational hate in redneck communities and so walking into a place like this wasn’t necessarily an easy thing to do.

I took in a deep breath and got out of the car. As I walked towards the bar, an older guy smiled at me.

“Nice car!” he said as he gestured towards my Camaro.

“Thanks! They’re pretty great cars,” I said. The short exchange calmed me down a bit.

I walked through a set of double doors, into the bar. And then saw a sign right there, proudly displayed for everyone to see as they walked in. I wish I’d taken a photo of the sign - but it said things like:
“Warning! This is an All-American bar.”
“There are going to be guns in here.”

There were Confederate flags peppered throughout the space. Good ol’ General Lee was on the wall.

I felt really, really out of place. I did not belong here, and boy, did I feel it! I didn’t feel out of place because people were throwing weird glances my way or anything like that, though. It was because as I looked around…

...I realized this was the straightest space I’d been in in a long, long time.