02
Jun
10

Is it just me? or are men in better shape than ever?

There is now apparently a garment, labeled “Shapewear,” available to help men “streamline their appearance.” At first I thought this was some kind of a joke, a theory which wasn’t threatened in any way by the fact that one of the spokesman for the item is named Nickelson Wooster and that much of the article sounded like an advertisement “[Although Mr. Viscusi is 39, he wears Spanx* T-shirts routinely. He recently wore them to see executives from Bravo and VH1. ‘It gave me pecs, gave me definition, it gave me confidence,’ he said. . .”].

And maybe it could only be a good thing for the world if men felt a little bit more of the pressure women feel to look a particular way. A little shared pain in the interests of empathy and all that.

One problem is that the men who really need this particular item are most likely the men who are walking around without any shirt on at all.

The other is that I think most women would just appreciate a little less pressure.

Instead we have created yet another market to appease yet another set of insecurities people feel about their bodies. Instead of learning more about how to eat healthfully, taking actions against the salts, sugars, and chemicals hidden in our foods, getting more exercise, and developing self-esteem which includes acceptance of ourselves and our imperfections, we have managed to devise yet another way to improve our “appearance” without actually changing anything.

To paraphrase the woman who has looked in a mirror after having removed her Spanx “foundation garment” (now THERE’S a eumphemism), “I look like a blob, an amoeba.” Or how about the man realizing that the “shapewear” garment he wears routinely has only served to mislead his date, and can only cause her to wonder how he has managed to gain 45 lbs between the restaurant and the bedroom.

The thing that really cracks me up is the myriad ways men justify wearing these garments. Rather than just admitting that they weigh a little bit more than they should, they emphasize the fact that it improves their posture, eases their back pain, and/or masks their man boobs nipples. One man complains about the tendency of undershirts to bunch up, causing it to look like you are wearing “. . .a tire around your waist.” It’s not the shirt, dear, it’s the tire around your waist. They don’t even call it what it is — a girdle foundation garment — it’s “Shapewear.” But no, actually: it’s spandex and rubber made into a garment that’s one-to-two sizes too small for you and hides the fact that you eat ice cream every night when you really shouldn’t.

Apparently there is also such a thing as “profile-enhancing underwear,”

which seems to act as, and I quote, “the equivalent of a ‘push-up bra’ for men.” Seriously? Do we really want need to see more of That?

Supposedly these garments have not been designed to “take off” pounds. The woman who designed them points out that stars as lean as Gwyneth Paltrow wear Spanx, and that she herself designed them when she was a size 2. Maybe it’s just me, but what exactly is the spanx holding in if you’re a size 2? Your kneecaps? Your spine? And if Gwyneth feels the need to wear it

I’m thinking that maybe the rest of us should just stop going out in public altogether.

Maybe we should all just wear Spanx/Shapewear and never take them off.

*Why “Spanx”? Why?

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1 Response to “Is it just me? or are men in better shape than ever?”


  1. February 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Believe me, I’ve considered not going out in public any more! It would be such an easy solution, lol! Who knows what Gwyneth Paltrow is holding up? Maybe her abomen sags 1/8″ after having a baby, oh no!

    I love that fat men’s wear shops are called “Big and Tall”. Did you ever notice that? They have all these gigantic sizes, but no one ever mentions the men are fat. Male actors and politicians are usually called “big”. I recently saw John Goodman describe himself as some great word (that I can’t remember) that sort of meant grand and portly at the same time. And anyway, it’s so much more unusual to see a man’s name in print and have attached to that a description of his looks, whereas when you see a woman’s name, invariably something about her looks is included.

    Face it, the standards for men and women are and probably always will be different. Women’s attractiveness is more important than men’s. I wish it weren’t so, but it is. I hope we can eventually get over this, but sincerly doubt in my lifetime it will happen.

    I pray for your daughter that she is able to retain her feelings of self worth and confidence as she gets older, and is also able somehow latch onto her brains and abilities as her true beauty, and not just her physical appearance. It’s so hard with all the bombardment she’ll get through every avenue of society. But I am hopeful, because you are such an aware and thoughtful mother.


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