I saw a picture of an old friend recently. It was from way back when he was younger, fitter and slimmer. “You were so thin,” I said to him, thinking in my ‘I-still-haven’t-lost-the-baby-weight’ brain that he would take that as a compliment. He did not. “What do you mean ‘thin’?! Can’t you see those muscles?” he retorted, pointing to his arms.
Well yes, I could actually see a bit of muscle, not too much though, just a hint. What had drawn me to the picture wasn’t the hint of muscle though, it was his face. There was no fat to it at all. It was all lines and angles, and yet very youthful. From his face, my eyes were immediately drawn to his midsection, which was very trim. I am willing to wager that there was even more muscle behind the baggy tee-shirt he was wearing, even though I couldn’t see it.
His entire frame was long, lean and tough looking, like a man who probably skipped the gym, but spent his weekends splitting logs and hiking...or something. An outdoorsy, man’s man type who was wont to throw his woman over his shoulder, carry her over the threshold and then proceed to have his merry way with her.
A man like that can afford to be over-the-top and swaggalicious, one) because yeah, he’s a lean, mean, heart-breaking machine and two) because he doesn’t have to bypass a paunchy belly to put the rest of his body in motion. It’s not just about aesthetics folks. Yes, walking around looking like you have a tonne of burgers tucked into your shirt is not exactly a good look, but think about it in practical terms. A man’s tummy is right bang in the middle of all the action; so as a woman, whether you’re heading north or south, you have to navigate this huge bump in the road, which is not only unsightly, but also extremely challenging to errm...surmount.
And as a man, with all that blood-feeding the fat cells in your ‘tum tum,’ is there any left to head anywhere else? Not only that, with the extra weight on your lungs, how long can you go before reaching for an inhaler? It’s just not practical for a man to pack on the pounds in that area, not if he wants to keep his woman happy - or to stay alive, even though he would probably die happy. This is why the ‘pot-bellies-are-sexy’ movement has to be starved of oxygen before it naturally runs out of breath.
There’s nothing ‘come-hither’ about a man with a beer mug in one hand and his beer belly in the other. Even if he had a glass of the most expensive whisky clutched between his thumb and pinky finger, if his other fingers are caressing the vast expanse of adipose tissue in his mid-section, most women will think twice about that mountain and run for the hills.
Guys, look. Obviously, the preference is a multiple-pack of hard, unyielding muscle. But no one is saying you can’t have some padding in that area. A slight protrusion of the belly may even make you look distinguished. But this ‘I’m-so-sexy-I’m-stroking-my-gut’ activism is a non-starter. If we wanted to fondle love handles, we’d start with our own.