August 19, 2013

"I didn't know I was skinny-fat until my Russian boyfriend told me so."

"Actually, I didn't even know that was a thing until he told me so."
The longer I stared at myself, the more I began to notice what it was that made Julio cringe. My chest was dystrophic. My arms were unformed. My neck was frail. Skin hung over the band of my underwear and, on top of that, I was hairy. Everywhere.
Yes, we're talking about 2 men here, but that doesn't let you heterosexual men off the hook. That just means that if your love partner wasn't female, he might tell you some things she's thinking but is too nice to say.

17 comments:

Jules Aimé said...

It doesn't let women off the hook either. And you see a lot more women who are skinny-fat than men.

Wade Calvert said...

My wife likes me just the way I am. 15 lbs overweight. I know this because she's never told me otherwise. I mean, she would just say what she's thinking, right? It's just like when I say, "Where do you want to go out to dinner tonight?" And she says, "I don't care. You pick!"

Ann Althouse said...

LOL. You know women. We always tell you what we think!

LCB said...

Thank goodness I'm fat-fat...and don't have to worry about being skinny fat. The shame would just be too much to take...

gadfly said...

Perhaps Charles Bukowski said it best: "Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink."

But Carly Simon probably nailed the prevailing human frailty reflected here when she sang about "clouds in my coffee and . . . ."

dbp said...

BRANDON AMBROSINO argues against "The Tyranny of Buffness" but a true description would be the "social pressure" of buffness.

Really, nobody is forcing you to be thin, fit or muscular. That's not to say they don't have influence though: One would have to be blind to not notice that homosexual men tend to be fairly fit and well dressed--especially in comparison to homosexual women. As for heterosexual couples, the ones I know are usually homogeneous in that either both are fit or both are out of shape. In cases where they are heterogeneous, it is usually the husband who is out of shape and his wife is fit.

My wife has never given me any pressure to stay in shape but I've got to say that the fact she works at being fit makes it easier for me to do so too. This is a good thing.

Carol said...

After the AIDS crisis, he says, many gay men hit the gym to avoid looking thin and frail,

And before the AIDS crisis, to - ? What? Meet buff gays? I mean geez, gays have been hanging around gyms since forever.

Nice to see them go through the same meat grinder women have gone through since gays began determining tastes. Straight and gay...because women were putting up with some pale flabby unsexy male bodies since forever too.

Carl said...

What an interesting mental region to inhabit, where you are too nice to say unkind things, but not too nice to think them.

I expect it's a narrow little coastline. Probably most people who are too nice to say you're unpleasantly shaped are too nice -- really, too enamored -- to even have the thought to harbor secretly in the first place.

I don't have to bite my tongue with respect to my 50+ woman. She looks spiffier to me than any twentysomething gym rat. I realize the rest of you clowns may not agree, but that's your problem. You all bought AAPL at $700/shareand elected Barack Obama twice, too, so I have no particular respect for your judgment.

Ann Althouse said...

"What an interesting mental region to inhabit, where you are too nice to say unkind things, but not too nice to think them."

What human being doesn't inhabit that region? I would think only perhaps some children or the mentally ill.

Ann Althouse said...

Who, on seeing a very fat person, doesn't take note that the person is fat and also decline to blurt out that observation?

Ann Althouse said...

And what niceness is involved if you don't even have the thought in the first place? The niceness comes precisely in thinking one thing and saying another.

You act like you love niceness but in fact you are demonstrating that you don't think there is any such thing.

Ann Althouse said...

And what niceness is involved if you don't even have the thought in the first place? The niceness comes precisely in thinking one thing and saying another.

You act like you love niceness but in fact you are demonstrating that you don't think there is any such thing.

Matthew Sablan said...

On the discussion of niceness: One of the most interesting things on this topic is something I heard a priest say, back when I was in college at a Catholic school, was that good people weren't tempted less. It wasn't like winning a jackpot: They managed to be good in spite of the constant temptations.

"It is no great feat to not cheat on your wife, if you never see anyone but her," or something like that. "Not stealing the money you didn't see isn't virtue."

So on, so forth. You know how Catholic priests do go on (see? That wasn't nice; I thought it, then I said it. But -- is it humorous enough to warrant it? We're tying it all together now.)

Carl said...

What human being doesn't inhabit that region?

I just asserted I didn't. So that's one. I believe I know others, but that's hearsay from your point of view.

I would think only perhaps some children or the mentally ill.

Hmmm. Grace suggests I say nothing to this.

Who, on seeing a very fat person, doesn't take note that the person is fat...

The presence of "very" is moving the goalposts, since we weren't talking about very ugly or very beautiful people. If I may also indulge in speculating what's inside someone else's head, the fact that you wish to move the goalposts might suggest you uneasily suspect that there do exist individuals to whom the thought "He's fat!" would not be among the first mental reflections after meeting a person of relatively ordinary overweight.

Which, yeah, is where I say I dwell. Generally, an impression of how heavy or skinny people are, within the broad typical range, doesn't bubble up in my mind at first. For example, I could meet a 5'4" woman, and I might notice right away how she's dressed, how she walks or looks at other people, how she talks, whether or not she wears glasses, nose piercings, or tats -- all pretty direct reflections of her nature -- but whether she's 95 or 130 lbs isn't sufficiently important to me to notice. I have found it doesn't tell me squat about what I can expect this person to be like. (I would notice if she was 70 or 160 lbs, your new goalposts, but as I said I disagree that the extremes of anorexia or morbid obesity are at issue.)

The niceness comes precisely in thinking one thing and saying another.

That is one type of niceness, yes, and I said as much in my original post. But there are others, and some are reflected in the thoughts that first spontaneously arise. An experienced con man, for example, might instantly size up a new acquaintance for whether he is a good mark or not. May I assume that this thought does not occur to you, and that you consider this a reason why you are a nicer person than a con man?

It's possible you may assert that no thought that spontaneously arises is ever under sufficient control to be part of a person's character. In which case, I beg leave to disagree. I think individuals can develop habits of thought, both good and bad (particularly by the time they reach middle age), and that choosing to do so, or not, is an element of character. Perhaps a much more important element than whether one chooses to develop habits of exercise that lead to physical fitness.

You act like you love niceness

Indeed, yes. Although I suspect you meant "speak" or "write" here, as the context suggests you mean to accuse me of hypocrisy.

...but in fact you are demonstrating that you don't think there is any such thing.

If you say so. Personally, I think my comment suggests that I have acknowledged your definition of niceness (suppressing expression of thoughts that would wound), but have gone on to suggest there are additional and more satisfying forms, one of which is reflected in habits of thought developed over decades that really don't care very much -- and don't really notice very much -- whether individuals are a little skinny or a little fat.

I do admit, however, that it is perfectly possible that far more people than I think are sufficiently focussed on body weight that they right away notice when a person they meet is 15 lbs under or over weight, and have to bite their tongue to avoid mentioning it. So if you argue my division (narrow coast and vast interior) should be recast as vast alluvial plain and smallish interior uplands, there is no important disagreement.

SGT Ted said...

That just means that if your love partner wasn't female, he might tell you some things she's thinking but is too nice to say.

You mean like when the wife asks "Does this make me look fat?"

Peter said...

Sexual attractiveness is what it is- if it's a "tyranny," then so be it.

If you don't care about your sexual attractiveness then you can look however you please.

But arguing that somehow your appearance shouldn't matter seems futile- whatever the reasons, it just does.

sonicfrog said...

I'm just old and gay... So nothing really matters anymore!