When did men become more obsessed with their physical appearance than we are?
It’s just not on. Along with the fixation on shoes that are too expensive and making overambitious to-do lists, stressing about how we look is each and every woman’s right. We fantasise about getting the perfect result, and moan when we fail – the man’s job is to encourage or sympathise. That’s the deal.
But all of a sudden, it’s men who have become the more body conscious among us, and the irritating thing is, they’re better at doing something about it. While a woman will punish herself for eating a cupcake by starving for the foreseeable future and hating every second of it, he makes it look not only easy, but fun. When they put their mind to it, men are far more likely to honour their gym membership with regular attendance, book a tennis or a squash court with their pals, and load up their iPod with banging tunes to go jogging at 6 am. And yet still have double portions at dinner and finish off your leftovers. While we sit at home shooting filthy looks at the exercise bike gathering dust in the corner. Hating the woman in the Activa advert on television for lying through her scrawny butt. You’ve already eaten six of those yoghurts, and two bowls of Special K, without breaking a sweat, and still no closer to even dreaming about getting into that swimsuit. You’re running around all day juggling the family, career and home – isn’t that enough for the weight to just drop dead?
While men enjoy aspects of fitness such as the social bonding, competition, bravado, and improving performance, women just want to lose weight without having to fill our already packed diaries with courts, classes and cardiovascular training. And let’s face it, we don’t like sports.
The problem isn’t just that we associate weight loss with eating less (when was the last time you read about a miracle diet pill like Hoodia or Alli and weren’t tempted?), it’s that most Asian women are torn between two paranoias. On one hand, exercise is considered self-indulgent, and as natural carers, we’re often left feeling guilty that we’re spending too much ‘me time’ when really we ought to be tending to those that need us. On the other, is the issue of being too body conscious – what will the neighbours think watching my lady lumps jiggling on the trampoline in the garden? Surely the gym is full of stick-thin beauties who’ll all laugh at me when I waddle in? But do men have these fears? Nope. They. Don’t. Care.
Not that it’s in the least bit appealing when they do. There’s nothing sadder than a man asking ‘does my gut look big in this?’ Male insecurity about their physique is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon, with many regularly weighing themselves and counting the carbs in their lunch packet, keeping us waiting as they head off to another training session that leaves them feeling ‘exhilarated’.
Yes, we like our men to look good. To take care of themselves. But there are rules. A man must not take away our prerogative to fret about our body shape, or make us feel bad about not working out enough, or worse, look fitter than us!