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Ugly Is All-Natural; Beauty Takes Work
I'm sick of the celebration of the supposed egalitarianism of ugly. Garance Franke-Ruta writes in The Wall Street Journal that the push for women to be accepted "as they are" or to be seen as beautiful without any effort is what's most anti-egalitarian:

It is far more punishing than the one that says any woman can be beautiful if she merely treats beauty as a form of discipline.

Only in America do we think that beauty is a purely natural attribute rather than a type of artistry requiring effort. Look at the French: They are no more beautiful as a people than we Americans, but they understand that every woman can be attractive--if not beautiful--if she chooses to be. Yes, we are given forms by nature, but how we choose to present them is a matter of our own discretion. Few people are blessed by nature and circumstance with the Golden Mean proportions that seem to be universally appreciated. Thus, in the end, it is more democratic to think of beauty or attractiveness as an attribute that one can acquire, like speaking a foreign language or cooking well. To see beauty as a capacity like any other--the product of educated taste and daily discipline--is to see it as something chosen: to be possessed or left aside, according to one's preference.

The same goes, relatedly, for maintaining a certain size. In contemporary America, becoming thin is a choice that for most people requires rigorous and sometimes painful self-discipline. But so does becoming a lawyer, or a concert pianist. The celebrity press is wrongly decried for giving women false ideals. In fact, it has demystified the relationship between effort and beauty, between discipline and weight. It opens up a path for non-celebrities.

One celebrity glossy recently estimated that, in a single year, the actress Jennifer Aniston spends close to the average woman's annual salary on trainers and other aspects of a high-level work-out. Former tween-queen Britney Spears told Oprah Winfrey that she used to do between 500 and 1,000 crunches a day to perfect her on-display abs. Actress Kate Hudson told one interviewer that, to lose post-pregnancy "baby weight," she worked out three hours a day until she lost her 70 pounds: It was so hard that she used to sit on the exercise cycle and cry. Entertainment figures and models are like athletes; it takes a lot of discipline and social support to look like them. Money helps, too.

The celebrity magazines also specialize in a genre of stories best understood as tutorials in beauty as artifice: celebrities without their make-up. Makeover shows like "What Not to Wear" and "The Biggest Loser"--even "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"--show beauty as something created, a condition to which anyone can have access with the right education and effort. This is a meritocratic ideal, not an insistent, elitist one. The makeover shows also help to make it clear that a life of artifice is not for everyone. Once we see the effort and hours that go into making a body more appealing, we may decide not to attempt a labor-intensive presentation of the self. We may decide that other things are more important.

If so, just don't celebrate it as anything more than laziness and/or priorities being elsewhere.

Looking good gives you a leg up. Don't whine about it, girls. Wash your hair, lift and separate, then put on clothes that don't make you look like you're on your way to fix somebody's toilet, maybe a pair of kitten heels, a touch of mascara and a slash of lipgloss. And unbutton a button or two. Oh, sorry, am I yanking away your power by suggesting that? Well, I don't know about you, but I've never found distracting a man while making a deal to be disadvantageous in the end.

Beauty is power -- except for those who'd rather not spend the time. They call it "pandering to the male gaze." Yeah, it's that, too. Like wastrel kids whose legacy relative gets their asses into Yale, sometimes a little cleavage, a nice smile, and a fabulous hat get you a better seat on the plane. When they offer to move you to first class, what do you do, offer your seat to the ringer for Andrea Dworkin?

Posted by aalkon at January 8, 2007 12:41 PM

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Comments

> except for those who'd rather
> not spend the time.

And the ancient, and the tragically wounded, and the congenitally unfortunate, and the medically challenged and most of the impoverished. Some of us are just never gonna be fun to look at, and it's not a moral failing.

Dworkin had other problems.

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 4:38 AM

Yes, attractiveness is very egalitarian. IMO, fitnes = attractiveness, that is, pretty much anyone who's fit whatever their height or hipbone size or facial shape, looks good. Not to cut into my own business as a trainer, so keep it a secret, but anyone can get fit on a very low budget, in a small space, Britney may have done 500 situps a day, but this has nothing to do with whether your abs are visible. 3 hours a day is a ridiculous amount of time to train; world class athletes weight train 3-5 hours a WEEK. THe downside to this kind of celebrity mag is that people think, oh, well, I don't have that kind of time, so I may as well forget it. In the personal training community, we all would naturally like to be training these celebs (cha-chiinnnng!) but it's widely known that celeb trainers get to BE celeb trainers by knowing the right people, not by giving brilliant advice.
Providing they start relatively early (in their 20's) it's pretty easy to get in shape, and even after that, a weight set that costs about $100 and will never wear out will get anyone in shape.
Now if you wait 'till you're 45, both knees hurt, your back hurts, you have 2 kids and have no exercise skills or habits whatsoever, that can run into $, as now what you need is more like rehabilitation. Even then, it's still worth it, and cheaper than the alternative. If you don't work out, you will spend (increasing) amounts of time, money, and effort, trying to look and feel as though you did.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 8, 2007 4:40 AM

"And the ancient, and the tragically wounded, and the congenitally unfortunate, and the medically challenged and most of the impoverished. Some of us are just never gonna be fun to look at, and it's not a moral failing."

The ancient can certainly exercise, and would be well-served to learn how to exercise before becoming ancient, just like any other life skill. Today's old people were not in a culture that, for the most part, suggested exercise outside of work. THis was/is unfortunate, but is changing.
The impoverished can certainly exercise. Be fit, dress neatly in whatever you have, be clean, bam, you're attractive.
The wounded and congenitally unfortunate have a steeper hill to climb, yes. Nothing is across-the-board egalitarian.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 8, 2007 4:51 AM

It's easy to stay in shape!

Just don't get sick.

Ever.

Don't let anything outside your control like shockingly unusual disease stop your quest! Blood clots be damned! Otherwise people will think you're a chunk-o slob who doesn't give a rip.
/facetiousness

Some of us don't have obvious ailments, and we are kept out of "regular "exercise regimens because they have the troublesome aspect of being potentially fatal. We do the best we can and are still occupying more cubic feet than we'd like.

Eat less? I consume 1000 calories a day and maintain my weight. I'd like to see if living alone would make a difference! Eating an evening meal with my family is killing me.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at January 8, 2007 5:06 AM

> /facetiousness

Don't stop!

> just like any other life skill.

Human nature will readily quickly pervert anything attractive and admirable into a way to make distance from others, and that's apparent in your rhetoric and Amy's. If those are your values, good luck with them. But no tears if they bite you on the ass, OK? "A steeper hill to climb" doesn't quite cover it.

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 5:46 AM

readily OR quickly. Pick one.

It's not even first light here, people.

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 5:47 AM

Some of us are just never gonna be fun to look at, and it's not a moral failing.

There are French women I've seen who are not beautiful yet who are attractive. They make an effort. They have an individual look. And they walk like they have pride in themselves.

I have a friend who is not thin, but who is very sexy because she puts herself together and also walks tall. Black women are better at this.

Part of the problem with obesity is the American diet -- the eating of low-fat food, for example. I eat fat, which fills me up, and then I work out 20 minutes a day. Vigorously. It's like those stories of dogs and the obesity pill. Lucy isn't a fat dog because she NEVER gets human food (except in the rare occasion something gets dropped and she gets to it before I do).

If you can't do vigorous exercise, do housework, gardening, walk, something. You have to burn more calories than you take in.

For men, it doesn't matter so much. Beauty is female thing. And yes, even with a poor roll of the dice in the genetic lottery, you can be beautiful or at least sexy. I'm thinking of a female friend who's under four feet tall, who's also a bombshell. She puts herself together well, and dresses like she's hot. I see women all the time who look plain and haggard who could be pretty. (A woman Lena and I saw recently comes to mind.) They just don't care enough to do it, and are, perhaps, bolstered by the socio-political pluses of looking like shit.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 8, 2007 6:24 AM

I think you're wrong about this.

> like they have pride
> in themselves.

...And they looook MAHvelisss, Dahlinks! F'nando here!

> she puts herself together and also walks tall.

Right! Um hmm. She's beautiful on the inside! She has great *inner* beauty!

> Black women are better at this.

When they are, it's because black men are less stupid about it, too. And black women often suffer less from a feminine foolishness afflicting the white and the coddled: The presumption that in the realm of feeling, identity becomes unimportant... That if a woman feels good about herself, others will feed off that warmth and forget that she's got weeping sores and deformed bones and crossed eyes, whereas Beyonce sitting next to her doesn't. When we talk about feelings, we always always always have to say whose feelings we're talking about. We share them less often than you think.

And it is bettah to loook goood than to fillllll goood!

Listen, beauty's beauty, it's a globally popular intoxicant. People write songs about it. But it's not possible to leverage this natural response into some kind of admirable egalitarianism. Good people often resist natural feelings when judging others.

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 6:58 AM

"Human nature will readily quickly pervert anything attractive and admirable into a way to make distance from others..."

Chaucer based his work on a pretty similar observation, so you're cool with me today, Crid. (Also, I like the natural compassion).

The elephant in the room, of course, is also the sometimes unthinking world view of the naturally skinny. I am tallish and slenderish and when I get porky - very occasionally - dump the weight with more exercise, cutting down cheese greed. Six weeks - it's done - even in my comparative dotage (compared to Britney, that is!).

However, I know I am extremely lucky in this respect.

My adorable, if grumpy, sis-in-law occupies many more cubic feet than she'd like in a family of mainly skinnies. It's always been that way. Meritocracy be buggered - she started at the bottom of a steep hill.

I've given up being openly appalled at the constant "pleasant" ribbing of the family fattie. It's a microcosm of the world to watch her being smugly watched reaching for the extra cookie after a big meal - hey, it's the family sport! It makes everyone else feel virtuous.

She's now pushing 60 and embraces chronic knee problems as a way of completely giving up a fight that was never fair in the first place. (And doesn't everyone tut-tut knowingly about that self perpetuating turn!).

Possibly because I was ludicrously near sighted - long undiagnosed - as a child (to the extent of being an excellent high jumper - but only when I managed to spot where exactly they'd put the bar equipment on any particular day!) I've always felt sympathy for the unblessed.

Sometimes lipstick and a hat ain't enough.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 8, 2007 7:04 AM

There's doing the best with what you have and there's no effort at all. What I'm talking about with the French girls, Crid, isn't just walking tall, it's making an effort and walking tall. There are few women I couldn't, with a little effort, make over into something attractive, even ones who are fat.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 8, 2007 7:33 AM

> I like the natural compassion).


You flatter, but I can't resist disagreeing. Compassion can be no less decent for being artificial.

Years ago there was this story that Keanu Reeves was asked who in Hollywood he most wanted to screw, and he said Streep, "'Cause she could make me think I was fuckin' brilliant in bed." Again, again: Whose feelings are we talking about?

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 8:13 AM

Britney counting...

"38, 49, 1000."

Posted by: Hasan at January 8, 2007 8:30 AM

I know this French girl that everyone agrees is very cute. But I have some photos of her and she is really not that good looking. She is a live wire and just gives off this great vibe. So yes she is really very cute.

The rest of your story reminded me of when I was at a karate training that went over a long weekend with many practices a day starting at six in the morning. One morning I was facing this girl in what was called one time engagement. Where she would try to punch me in the face and I would block and counter. Then we would switch back and forth until someone call for us to go to the next one down the line. What struck me was she had this perfectly done makeup around her eyes and as I was focused at how each little eyelash seemed to be just right and how it was six AM. Wondering about her doing all that when we were all just fighting each other all morning long. She almost takes my head off with her first punch, that snapped me out of that pretty quickly and I had to laugh at myself being so distracted by her makeup. Which by the way I really don't like makeup... except on clowns that is, but that's just me.

Posted by: -x- at January 8, 2007 8:38 AM

Hey, Crid, Billy Crystal hasn’t been funny for a decade. Amy’s point still stands; the women may not be classically beautiful, but they dress and stand right, and carry themselves well. Black men are less stupid about, what, exactly (quick, everyone picture Crid, down on the block, hangin’ with the homies, ‘cause he gets the word on what the brothers like from the streetz, yo) ? Not quite sure what your point is about how blacks feel different than the coddled honkies. They’re less judgemental about body and clothing? More judgemental?

If your point is, someone who looks like Arseface from Preacher will never be seen as beautiful, well, maybe. Those people are a very, very small part of the population, as are people with exotic conditions that preclude exercise. The point of this thread goes to the other 99.9% of the population.

You quoted me on ‘life skills,’ but didn’t address the point. Yeah, people should grow up learning to take care of their bodies. Would you be attracted to someone who didn’t brush their teeth, who said, hey, some get born with perfect teeth, some don’t, I didn’t, so why sweat it? Bet you’d be thinking of yourself as superior, and at best you’d feel pity for someone who took that fatalistic a view. So we think it’s natural for parents to teach their kids to brush, and borderline abusive if they don’t. Why is the state of your teeth more indicative of your soul than the state of your stomach?

If you think, well, I’m just doomed to be my current miserable fat fuck self (your description), you’ve got something bigger biting your ass than I’ll ever have.

Diedre B, I didn’t say it was ‘easy’ to stay in shape, I said it was in (almost, there are exceptions to every-damn-thing) everyone’s grasp, regardless of money, and a large amount of time is also unnecessary. Re your caloric intake, a calorie is not a calorie. I recommend the writings of Dr. John Berardi, most of which are available free online.

Jody, re your relative, well, hard to comment without knowing her. But before I agreed that she was just….damned to chunkiness…..from birth, I’d sure like to see her exercise schedule, starting at age 18. The rest of the family are jerks for watching her eat that extra cookie, but it’s equally jerk-y to enable someone by sympathetically saying, No, it’s not your fault, it’s all genetic.

What –X- said about the French girl.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 8, 2007 9:25 AM

There is no room for self-discipline in the victim mentality that exists today. Why take responsibility for your actions when you can blame somebody else?

I'm tired of getting the evil eye from some women, and the occasional comment 'how do you stay so slim?', as if I was cheating at the game of life. I decided that since I am dating, and it's a competitive world out there, I am going to look and be the best I can, so that I have my choice of men, according to my own criteria. I personally like fit, young guys. They also must be intelligent and career oriented (I can't escape the influence of my female hardwiring!). Because I am slim, fit, attractive, dress well, and have done a lot of work on my own personal growth, I do have my pick.

The guys I don't pick get angry, and I think it's because they have a sense of entitlement. They accuse me of being shallow. I reply by asking them why they were attracted to me, since they know nothing about me as a person. If it was because they liked the way I looked, or they liked my body, they were just as shallow.

Some guys really will try anything to manipulate women into giving them what they want! I feel sorry for women who are attractive and not shrewd enough to see how devious some men can be. They get burned so often that they wind up very bitter and angry at all men.

Posted by: Chris at January 8, 2007 9:52 AM

Amy’s point still stands; the women may not be classically beautiful, but they dress and stand right, and carry themselves well.

...If your point is, someone who looks like Arseface from Preacher will never be seen as beautiful, well, maybe. Those people are a very, very small part of the population, as are people with exotic conditions that preclude exercise. The point of this thread goes to the other 99.9% of the population.

Precisely. Thank you. I was started to worry that I'd slipped into Swahili or something.

A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Eat small portions, don't eat lowfat food (if you do, throw some fat on -- butter on bread, oil on salad), and you won't be hungry. And move, and not just your finger across the buttons of the remote.

Getting back to what she says in the article -- some nights, I'm bone tired, but I drag my ass up on my indoor bike do 20 or 40 minutes (got one that the arms move on along with the pedals so it's a pretty vigorous workout if you go fast). It's just one of those things that's got to be done, same as waking up at 3:30 am when I'm on deadline and all the words are still reading like somebody vomited them onto the page.

P.S. Chris, just above, is very smart.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 8, 2007 9:55 AM

Wash your hair, lift and separate, then put on clothes that don't make you look like you're on your way to fix somebody's toilet, maybe a pair of kitten heels, a touch of mascara and a slash of lipgloss.

Don't forget the pantyhose! ;-) (And yes, Lena, I know: "shaddap an' wear 'em yersef!!" I did once, for Halloween a few years back. Still got 'em too.)

But Amy & Co., what do you think about efforts to make the (formerly?) unattractive more attractive, as a former boss of mine is attempting to do here?

Posted by: qdpsteve at January 8, 2007 10:20 AM

The point is, do the very best you can with what you have. I'd say doing the best in this case would start with eating fewer doughnuts and engaging in a little farm labor, but if you're large format, well, these outfits beat cramming yourself into a sweatsuit and running around in plastic clogs.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 8, 2007 10:30 AM

> Billy Crystal hasn’t been funny
> for a decade.

Snobbery about appearance hasn't been amusing for centuries.

> about, what, exactly

Presuming that attraction towards the slender is the best thing you'll ever feel. It's true that certain qualities (youth, athleticism, symetry etc) are universally admired... That doesn't mean that they're the top of a scientific pyramid. They're just the fastest attraction. Gould used to write about how evolution was a broadly branching tree, not a ladder towards a single point of excellence. If you spend you're life (and your attention) saying "Anniston is champion!" you're going to miss out on a lot of thrills.

> more indicative of your soul than the state

I don't think its all about souls, I just think you two have weird ideas about attraction.

> miserable fat fuck self (your description),
> you’ve got something bigger biting
> your ass

Are you upset? Have your feelings been hurt?

> everyone’s grasp, regardless of money,

The two of you are complaining that other people aren't as attractive *to you* as they could be if only they had the good character to try harder. And you'll mumble something about universal standards of attraction, but it's really silly.

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 10:51 AM

Qdpsteve, well, 2 things -
1. Your boss will probably make a lot of money, as there are a lot of fat women, with more coming all the time as the current crop of obese kids (most of the fat cells you'll have for life are made by age 12) comes of age. I can't picture fat men calling themselves 'gods,' but there you go. Any business venture catering to the overweight is almost bound to make money. In America, that is. I just had a client return from Quebec, who said what has become a common refrain from Yanks out-of-country,"My God! THere are no fat people!"

2. It's a free market, go make money. There's nothing immoral about it. As far as that goes, then, I'm opinion-less.

Psst - Chris. (Makes 'call me' gesture with one hand).

And yes, out-of-shape people of either sex will proudly defend their out-of-shapeness, but when asked to describe their dream date, will say, "Oh, you know. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie.."
"But you just said that your fat was a sign of naturalnessand a refusal to Bow Down to the Man....And if you think chunky = beautiful, aren't you kind of spoiled for choice these days?"
"Hey, I can't help it. That's just who I'M attracted to. Not my choice. It's like the tide...."

So yes, a lot of people are raging hypocrites.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 8, 2007 10:55 AM

Oh, and Crid, no, my feelings aren't hurt. Why would they be, reflecting back to you your own kind of sad self-image. Really, you ought to try harder when imitating the schoolyard bullies that still haunt your dreams, or stop trying altogether.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 8, 2007 11:01 AM

The two of you are complaining that other people aren't as attractive *to you* as they could be if only they had the good character to try harder. And you'll mumble something about universal standards of attraction, but it's really silly.

They have a saying about an apartment: "It has nice bones."

The same goes for some people. There's a girl I know, not beautiful but not ugly. Not a fabulous body, but slim and in good shape. I regularly see her wearing painter's pants and some schleppy huge sweatshirt and old sneakers, with her hair all ratty and no makeup on. Now, that's her prerogative, but when I see her, the first thing she usually does is complain about not having a boyfriend.

Laziness about one's dress and appearance has become the habit, not the exception, in much of this country, and for women looking to appeal to the visual sexuality of men (or to simply have a little pride of appearance, which feels pretty good), that's a very negative development.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 8, 2007 11:11 AM

So, shoes with no socks on men in Florida, atrractive or no?

And ladies, heed Amy when she says "kitten heels". Unless you're a potential foot model, leave the flip-flops at home.

"Some guys really will try anything to manipulate women into giving them what they want!"

For the record, Chris, right back atcha:p

Posted by: Hasan at January 8, 2007 11:28 AM

Amy and Cat, first of all, thanks for your responses. Re specifics:

Qdpsteve, well, 2 things -
1. Your boss will probably make a lot of money

She has. Prime example: she doesn't even need to be open regular business hours. She's appointment only M-F and 10-6 Saturdays. (If Amy would be so kind as to let me take up the bandwidth to whine a bit, she won't ever hire me back an an assistant either-- I worked for the owner, Jennifer, years ago when she was my boss at a job I held with the City of Lakewood public access TV studio. Grrrr!!) ;-)

And yes, out-of-shape people of either sex will proudly defend their out-of-shapeness, but when asked to describe their dream date, will say, "Oh, you know. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie.."

Agree 100%. I'm no prize pig either; I am significantly overweight and hoping once again to lose a few the old-fashioned way (exercise more, eat less) by 1/1/08. But I try to be just a little less hypocritical than some; for instance, I personally found Monica Lewinsky rather attractive, plumpiness/questionable character and all. I also think Wendy Jo Sperber (remember her?) and Nicole Parker (a Monica doppelganger who's on the cast of Mad TV) are, or in Wendy's unfortunate case were, very attractive ladies. But alas, they're all out of my league so I'm not sure why I'm blabbling on...

Although it's been said before, it's also a little scary to recall that Marilyn Monroe probably would have been considered "fat" by Hollywood standards today...

Posted by: qdpsteve at January 8, 2007 11:38 AM

I agree the key is movement of any kind is beneficial. Articles on how Nintendo's Wii game system are getting kids to exercise and move around. Using muscles they never knew they had from previous game systems of passively pushing buttons on a game console.

Personality is very important. In many interviews Jack Nicholson revealed that his secret was that he would walk around his house completely naked, so he would be comfortable in his own skin.

Posted by: Joe at January 8, 2007 11:50 AM

So, shoes with no socks on men in Florida, atrractive or no?

I'm not saying men can go hog wild -- if shoelessness is hogwild for you. For me, as long as I don't see their toes, it's generally not a big deal. You have heard of Docksiders, no? I'm assuming you aren't talking about the plastic version of Florsheims and no socks.

Marilyn Monroe probably looked like Kate Winslet. The notion that she wore a 14 is mistaken. She wore a 14 in clothing that I wear a 10 or 12 in -- vintage stuff that isn't size-inflated. These days, in American sizes, I wear a small or extra small in shirts or sweaters (and sometimes extra-small isn't even small enough), and a 0 or 1 in clothes at a place like the Limited. In pants, because I'm a white woman with a black ass (or so I've been told), I wear a six or eight. Again, if I put on vintage clothes, I'm in a much larger size. I'm not a tiny woman. I'm just not overweight.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 8, 2007 12:30 PM

'"Some guys really will try anything to manipulate women into giving them what they want!"

For the record, Chris, right back atcha:p '

Hey, I agree, some women are manipulative too, no argument there. Just reporting what I've seen, and the years of listening to my friends complaining, that's all.

'I just had a client return from Quebec, who said what has become a common refrain from Yanks out-of-country,"My God! THere are no fat people!"'

I live in Toronto (Canada), which is very multi-cultural. People from all over the world have moved here, and my observation is that the only really plus-sized ones are Caucausian. The large people that you see living in, for example, Texas, you rarely see up here. You'd have to logically conclude that a person's attitude towards food is very much influenced by culture.

Posted by: Chris at January 8, 2007 12:33 PM

Personally, I like to keep myself skinny as a rail. Those are the standards I set for myself, because that's how I think I look best. I think Kate Winslet and Monica Lewinsky are both hot, but I think Kate Moss is, too. I don't expect everyone in the world to want to look as skinny as I do.

But nothing gets my eyes rolling faster than to listen to a self-admitted overweight person rant and complain about those "shallow, self-obsessed people who have nothing better to do than constantly worry about their weight." Yeah ... bitter, party of one. It takes a lot of self-discipline to count my calories every day, resist treats when they are brought to the office, and force myself to work out several times a week. But it's still worth it. Guys don't refer to me as someone who'd be "hot, if she just took off a few pounds." Plus it feels great - I can ride my bike 80-100 miles at a stretch if I feel like it.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at January 8, 2007 12:57 PM

I'm a self-admitted overweight person, and I refuse to rant and complain about slender people who pay attention to proper diet and exercise. Good on them and hopefully I'll join the club someday. Even though I suffer from an auto-immune thyroid disease which makes losing weight much more difficult, I'm still responsible for what I put in my mouth, for hauling my ass to the gym four or five times a week, and for walking whenever I can. It may take me longer to lose the weight, and I may never get all of it off, but that's no excuse not to improve my overall health or, let's be honest, my appearance. In the meantime, I will continue to get facials and pedicures, wear appropriate levels of face paint, go to my hair stylist every six weeks, and look for clothing styles that are reasonably flattering to my current proportions. I think it's the least that I can do for myself, let alone for others!

Posted by: Ms. Gandhi at January 8, 2007 2:37 PM

I'd love to not have to cook at all.
The men in my family would get scurvy if I didn't.

When I read a Spenser novel (the Boston private detective) I like reading about how much time he and Hawk spend at the gym.
It's something I'm looking forward to when my life isn't completely circumscribed by others' needs.

There really are ways to get good exercise. I've created methods that have surprised my doctors.

Plus, I buy fab clothes. Embracing my Inner Rock Star is the best thing I've ever done for myself and my career.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at January 8, 2007 2:38 PM

Hey, I like the Spenser workout scenes too! I set birthday goals, and for my last one, one of 'em was to do 25 dips in a row, which Spenser did in (I think) the very first book. Regarding more time to work out, 2 words, Dierdre - garage gym. Screw Gold's. You'll love it. And put up a double-end bag.
I do think the author goes a little overboard giving Hawk, I think it was, 19-inch arms and a 28-inch waist, and him in his late 50's/early 60's.

Ms. Gandi, good for you. Properly done deadlifts are your friend.

I guess my main point here, not to hijack Amy's, is not to be too quick to settle. Most people, especially women, really have no idea of what levels of strength and fitness they can accomplish, and they early on settle for being in mediocre shape, thinking they have to be rich and have tons of time to be anything but.

Back to teeth - 200 years ago, everyone accepted that nobody had teeth for long. It was all, "What, you're 35. of COURSE your teeth are turning brown and falling outta your head, whaddya want?" If someone came from a country where toothbrushing was known, people probably said something like, "Yeah, check out Mr. Pearly Whites...he thinks he's SO special, with his lack of gum disease and all..." Natural teeth, as a perusal of National Geographic primitive tribes, are not pretty teeth. Except for the Masai, who I heard had pretty nice chompers what with their all-protein diet.
Now, good teeth, or at least trying to have them, is pretty much taken for granted. Kids are taught to maintain their teeth, not just to look nice, but because going through life with bad teeth or no teeth is painful and costs more time and money than maintaining them in the first place. If a kid grows up someplace with inadequate dental care, that doesn't make them a bad kid, it's not a moral failing, but it will make for a rough life, so we try to educate that child. We don't tell him, "Your mom and dad had crappy teeth, and so do you, it must be genetic. Better learn to live with it. Really, it's natural, for you."

I meet people almost every week with bad hands, whose doctors have told them that painful hands are part of getting old, and they should get used to it, and here's your antidepressant. If these people had been actively strenghtening their hands, they may not be pain free, but they'd be way way better. They're usually delighted and amazed that they can make their hands stronger, so less joint stress, so less pain. They don't have to settle, or to settle for so much.

So, you may never have perfect cheekbones or big knockers or whatever, but for most people, your degree of fitness and muscle tone, what gives you an energetic vibe (especially after 35) is controllable. Angelian Jolie is not classically beautiful, but almost everyone on the planet, including straight women, would run through fire to get up in her good stuff. Fitness, carriage, and attitude.

And Amy, you know I love you, and especially after the black butt observation, I'm hard at work making my latex Greg mask a la Mission Impossible followed by a ticket to CA, but a calorie is not a calorie. If you were on, say, 2500 calories a day, you would look, feel, and perform very different if you got them from lean meats, fish oils, low-glycemic-index carbs, and greens, than if you got them from HoHos and Cheetos. Foods have different thermic effects on the body, carbs convert to sugar at different rates of speed, there are different levels of roughage. Food choice is one of the first things I tackle with clients.

But you've got a great ass, so YOU can say it.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 8, 2007 3:15 PM

Jolie is a big theme with you.

Why?

http://tinyurl.com/yhkvgv

Blech.

This post in two parts to avoid filtering....

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 4:18 PM

... But Lala is everything Angelina wants to be when she grows up! She's authentically exotic (no surgery), she can trust her director (the best short narrative composer since Monty Python) and she's WARM... Not a frosty/inane Hollywood machine.

http://tinyurl.com/wkern

I love that kid. She can play along with a joke. And after almost two years of this, nobody knows anything about her.

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 4:21 PM

Let's take a step back in time!

http://tinyurl.com/yym5xn

After five days, we'd have thought the thread was dead... But we'd have been wrong! Someday very soon, we'll all laugh about how bad commenting software was back in 2007.

Let no shot go unanswered! Here's the response to the last comment, lujlp at December 30, 2006 07:24 PM.

> you never answered the
> firstquestion put to you.

Did too; I said the proposition was being offered as a fait accompli, one incompatible with a culture that has its childrearing priorities in order. This is like the guy who kills his parents and wants sympathy because he's an orphan.

> it is so oviously apparent to
> everyone

It's not all that ovious. Thinking independently is liberating as fuck. Do some math without asking anyone for help.

> how bigoted you are on this
> subject

You're unable to distinguish prejudice and judgment; no skin off my nose.

> everything you sayjust
> rings hollow.

Oh yeah? Well, I think you wear shitty neckties, and don't know how to parallel park! So *know* that, buster!

Posted by: Crid at January 8, 2007 5:29 PM

Now, that's her prerogative, but when I see her, the first thing she usually does is complain about not having a boyfriend.

And you haven't introduced us yet???

Posted by: LYT at January 8, 2007 5:42 PM

Funny how being "empowered" as a woman is supposed to mean "dressing like you just came from rugby practice." I take the time to color and style my hair and put on makeup because I know I look better afterwards and I feel better, too. I make an effort to be presentable when I do things with my man. This doesn't mean I show up at his work in a bunny suit or six inch heels (if I did I'd be six inches taller than he is) but I wear fitted, feminine clothes with low necks and a skirt if I can. "Natural beauty?" Hell no- it takes a lot of chemical intervention to make me attractive. Thank god for modern technology. Without it, I'd have snaggle-teeth and Coke bottle glasses. I don't really fit anyone's idea of beauty, being pale and skinny with a big rump (I feel you, Amy. I have little chicken legs and thighs that don't touch and a big honkin' padonkadonk that won't be contained by most pants. So I wear pencil skirts and knee-high boots to make the most of it.) and lots of tattoos, but I feel better and carry myself more confidently when I'm made up and dressed up, and people notice it and respond to me accordingly. I appreciate it when my boyfriend makes the effort to look nice when we do things together; why shouldn't I reciprocate?

Posted by: amh18057 at January 8, 2007 7:31 PM

The discussion of Amy's acquaintance who complains about not having a boyfriend reminds me: Maybe my experience has been unrepresentative of the general population, but from what I've seen, the idea that men want women who are super-skinny, as I occasionally hear people moaning about, is bunk. Okay, there are SOME men who want super-skinny women. Most men, though, are perfectly happy to have something to hold onto - as long as that something to hold onto looks its best and isn't TOO hefty. Thought I'd mention this because Amy brought up the Hollywood celebrities struggling to maintain their weight. IMHO, the biggest issue with them isn't their work toward that goal, it's that so many of them are so skinny that they're no longer that attractive. I'm remembering Courtney Cox from a few years ago, for example.

I, personally, am a lazy git. I don't want to have to fool with my hair...so I go to great lengths to have a hairstyle that looks good (compliments, et al) with little effort beyond washing and brushing. I spend time finding clothes I look good in, come up with mental outfits, and have enough that I don't look like I'm wearing a uniform. I have my makeup routine down to a science. You don't have to re-invent the wheel every day in order to look presentable, but you do have to do advance prep work if you want to keep your daily routine to the minimum level possible to look good.

Posted by: marion at January 8, 2007 11:36 PM

Heh. Arseface. I miss Preacher. That series seriously rocked.

Back on point. I once knew a cancer victim in her late 40's who was one of the most attractive women I'd ever met. Even going through radiation, she never left her home without wearing something pink and stylish. She had gorgeous skin, an amazing body (swimming was exercise of choice), and she always smelled great. Eau de Hadrien. Looking great was really important to her and extremely therapeutic on her worse days. Wicked sense of humor too. I miss her.

Posted by: snakeman99 at January 8, 2007 11:58 PM

Sorry about your friend, Snake. I think it's exceptionally important, and both amh and marion bring up great points. I, too, have a "uniforms" for days when I have no time. And if you understand men at all, when yours is having a rough day, come to the door in a slinky, low cut dress. He'll feel much better. Aesthetically-induced amnesia, you could call it.

And LYT, she's not for you...trust me!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 9, 2007 12:24 AM

> I have little chicken legs and
> thighs that don't touch...

Don't touch what?

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 4:09 AM

Marion is absolutely right. Men of whatever race like a small waist/big round outthrusting ass. Women, at least white women in my experience, often will call this woman 'fat,' even if they are this woman, and say, "No, no, it's too big," while all the men in the room are going "Too fine, maybe, but not too big." The contrast between waist and hip is hardwired in us, I surmise.
Hairstyle-wise, I've always liked ponytails.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 9, 2007 5:24 AM

Women shouldn't be so self-critical. Guys really are all individuals, and have vastly differing tastes in what type of woman they find attractive. Accept yourself as you are, make the most of what you have, and find a guy who is into your body type.

The guy I'm seeing is 6'5", and 195, so that's pretty lean and lanky. I'm 5'10" and 134, so I'm lean and lanky myself. He is gaga over my ass, which is tiny (I'm no JLo!). I do not try to convince him that he is wrong in his obsession, like some women would ('whadda mean you like it, it's too small, it's not bootylicious, etc. etc.'). Since I know he likes it, I work it!

Posted by: Chris at January 9, 2007 6:53 AM

> Guys really are all individuals,
> and have vastly differing tastes

Nope, wrong. Amy says all guys prefer hip-to-waist ratio of (x3/7)/(10*3.1415)=323*310-867-5309, and that's that. She'd like to help you, but she can't. Because science has spoken. Famed sociobiologist Mary Jane Stamp at the University Walla-Walla did a study, it's been demonstrated conclusively, so that's that. Guys dig women who obsess over clothes. Sorry.

Next!

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 7:00 AM

That's actually Dev Singh's WHR work, and it's very good. The thing is, as his research and that of others shows, men across cultures prefer certain things, just as women do (women like men who are taller than they are). But, just this morning, I'm working on a question from a woman who likes a man who's much skinnier and shorter than she is. There are individual preferences, but can you tell me there are men out there who aren't attracted to a woman with a waist (as opposed to a more android [manlike, straight up and down]) form? Are there men who prefer ugly women to pretty women? What we want stems from centuries of evolutionary adaptations. It's not that a bunch of magazine editors in New York got together and decided to torture women.

Yes, men's tastes vary -- but not that much. Same as women's. Women care more about men's status than their looks...which is why you see the ugliest old rich men out with really beautiful women.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 9, 2007 7:31 AM

See Chris? It's a done deal. She'd love to help you, but we're compelled to be snotty by logic and white-coated lab scientists... And you *know* how erotically and emotionally adept those people can be.

It's a shame, but the matter is cloesd. Let's move forward now.

Just remember: (x3/7)/(10*3.1415)=323*310-867-5309!

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 7:37 AM

Crid, women who want boyfriends should make an effort in the looks department. Men who want girlfriends should make an effort to get up off the couch and get a job.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 9, 2007 7:52 AM

Everybody, everybody makes choices about how to spend energy.

> to be possessed or left aside,
> according to one's preference

Feminism used to be mocked for saying every woman should have a choice, but no woman should choose to be a stay-at-home Mom. Similarly, real people find comfort from women who don't care about clothes and waist-to-hip ratios and men who don't worry about shiny Beemers and Employee of the Month.

Science doesn't know what makes real people's hearts beat.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 8:07 AM

"Everybody, everybody makes choices about how to spend energy."
Yes, that's true. And the people too lazy or unmotivated to make healthy choices often try to cover their actions by declaring themselves 'real.' You see this a fair bit in rap music videos - "No, I've never picked up a book, but I'm Keepin' It Real." As Chris Rock says, yeah, Real Dumb.

I suspect, Crid, that your tolerance for less-than-perfect doesn't extend to functional illiteracy - you may not be insulted if someone were to call you fat, but you would get mad if someone said you couldn't read or write well. Why? Because everyone SHOULD be able to read in this country, or should have the opportunities to learn, and anyone who deliberately doesn't avail themselves of these opportunities is making their own lives harder, plus the lives of anyone they're responsible for, or who's responsible for them.

It's comforting for people to think that they have to be rich or have a lot of disposable time to dress well or to change their waist-to-hip ratio. The idea that you can do it on the cheap is threatening, because now if they don't do it, it's not their genetics or karma or fate or something else, it's on them. Amy has several times mentioned that she doesn't spend much on clothes, she just puts some thought into dressing. With little or no equipment, a space the size of a yoga mat, and info available free on the Internet, you can work out about as hard as you want to.

That nagging low back pain you feel? Is that a badge of a 'real' person? The neck and knee pain to come, the hip replacements, the Type-2 diabetes and heart disease if you stay fat and get fatter, when that's knocking on the door, will you fling it wide open and say, "Ah, thanks for coming, now I know I'm keeping it real."? There's over-focusing on your appearance, and there's taking care of your health. There's taking an hour to get dressed, and there's dressing well, which I believe is all Amy's ever suggested.

If you don't care about clothes or waist-to-hip ratios, you must be living in Paradise, here in America today. But you'll forgive some of us if we doubt you'd keep these beliefs if your fairy godmother granted you a few wishes, if you had the opportunity to change your health, your looks, and your station with just a wave of a wand. Lacking that, it's easier to decry what's not coming your way except by your own effort.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 9, 2007 11:00 AM

"...which is why you see the ugliest old rich men out with really beautiful women."

I agree this pairing exists.
But I'm not sure that it MUST be simply an extreme example of the norm?

Are the majority of couplings based on such an obviously calculated trade?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 9, 2007 11:11 AM

"If you don't care about clothes or waist-to-hip ratios, you must be living in Paradise, here in America today.."

Aw, c'mon, Cat!
I think we're just talking priorities not Amish versus Armani, surely?

Anyway, the problem with the old "waist-to-hip ratio" as a point of data is that it's useless as a prediction.

Whatever shape of partner a guy selects, the "waist-to-hip" theory person will simply say" "Aha, but the blobby love of your life has OVER compensated in another desirable department, hence her attraction for you."

Or "but as a pussy-whipped dweeb you have clearly deliberately opted for a shape that SUBVERTS the ideal paradigm..."

Or...I could go on.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 9, 2007 11:33 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with Jody.

Don't be frightened.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 11:40 AM

""If you don't care about clothes or waist-to-hip ratios, you must be living in Paradise, here in America today.."
Aw, c'mon, Cat!
I think we're just talking priorities not Amish versus Armani, surely?"

We are certainly talking about priorities. My point was, there are a lot of fat people in America now, with more all the time. My taste in what women wear's a little different from Amy's, but it does seem like women are dressing more androgenously than they used to.

I'm not sure what you mean by waist-to-hip as a prediction. I like it because, first, small waist + flaring ass looks good, to me. Also, after a certain age, a small waist takes some work, which indicates the woman is into exercise. I'm certainly not trying to make it a universal taste - I don't care what other men find attractive.
If a blobby love-of-someone's-life overcompensates in a different attraction arena, doesn't that make her more attractive to HIM? Not to her? I'm not sure I got the syntax here.

Yes, I'm sure there are people who pick their partners to deliberately go against what their culture says is attractive, as one in the eye to The Man.
My point in this case was, depending on who you are, you only have certain choices regarding partners (I still kind of hate that term, but it's descriptive). A fat guy who lacks (to quote Garden State) money, drugs, fame, or status, will have a tough time pulling a hardbodied woman. It is very easy, then, for this guy to say he doesn't want one anyway, because that declaration will most likely never be tested.
I submit that most people would, in fact, like to be with someone in good shape, and would like, if they could do it by pressing a button, to be in good shape themselves. And every single person, without exception, would like to FEEL like they're in shape. Nobody ever says, "I got out of breath going up five stairs, and it fuckin' rocked!" Or "My back was killing me when I got out of bed this morning - suh-weeeet!" But this feeling does indeed require work - less work than a lot of people think, witness the Britney article and the 500 situps - but yes, you have to make it a priority.

I don't find people who don't make it a priority admirable, any more than I admire inner-city gangstas who slag on book-learning, because both situations are both self-destructive and make more demands on the other people in your life. Deliberate organized exercise is not 'natural,' to go back to the title of this thread, but neither are polio shots, braces, or air travel. I am grateful for all three.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 9, 2007 12:55 PM

If you're a woman who has a man or wants a man, you should be concerned with your looks. It's basic, or used to be. Good point above, too, about working on your appearance being like working on your brain...or attending to your finances. To leave on area of your life untended is your choice, but it isn't admirable, and if you're a woman and you're letting your looks go, it really isn't smart.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 9, 2007 3:00 PM

What about shoulder-to-waist ratio?

I'm a goddess.

When I have physical phitness programmed as part of my "career" it is easier to make time for the exercise I can do. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in a day.

One constant:
30 push ups before every episode of playing video games!! I want to add the 30 situps again, but I'll need to figure out how. (won't go into detail, but sit-ups are one exercise that need modification)

Posted by: Deirdre B. at January 9, 2007 3:03 PM

You are right, Cat; sorry, my syntax got screwy as you said.

But, my friend, you most certainly also just proved my point!

You write: "It is very easy, then, for this guy to say he doesn't want [a hardbodied woman], because that declaration will most likely never be tested."

There's your version of the ole data wiggle: never trust a schlub to tell the truth about what he desired and won! The guy will be obviously deceiving himself if it doesn't fit the data!

Pretty tough on all the world's Cyranos, eh?

Look, I believe exercise is great. Most of us should do more. Those of us who do lots and lots are physically fitter than those who don't. Good for concentration too.

And in a sense, my views can't count - being a longtime blissfully married broad and all that; But I can say that during my own extremely enthusiastic dating days any guy who seriously said "and, of course, I make the gym a priority" wouldn't have made it to second base.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 9, 2007 3:21 PM

"But I can say that during my own extremely enthusiastic dating days any guy who seriously said "and, of course, I make the gym a priority" wouldn't have made it to second base."
(shrug) Different strokes. This does seem at odds with saying 'exercise is great,' though.

Dierdre - screw situps. They blow. And they're bad for your back. Spend $5 on one of those plastic 'ab wheels.' They never wear out, it'll clobber your abs, and it works most of the rest of your body. If you get to thirty nose-touches-the-carpet with one of those, you'll have the Iron Abs from Outer Space.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 9, 2007 3:47 PM

> ...people too lazy or
> unmotivated...

It's right there at the top. Is this anything but an urge to condescend? It's not my urge....

> couldn't read or write well.

WTF? I'm a goddamn video editor who writes show notes, emails to the family, and blog comments, with a library card that gets used three times a year,. I'm more concerned with people being good than what they read or don't, and it's annoying when people of constitutional good fortune or incidental enthusiasm pretend they've separated themselves from a lesser breed of humanity, which they are thereby authorized to belittle.

> The idea that you can do it
> on the cheap is threatening

Some of us are happy without pursuing your exercise regimen - and certainly without paying you for 'training'. Maybe that's what this is all about, sales technique, the same way country preachers ask us to fret over damnation. I'm wrapping of five decades of essentially spotless health. I'm a tad overweight but move briskly without giving or taking offense. And old enough to know that a lot of popular thoughts about erotic attraction are bullshit, and...

> all Amy's ever suggested.

...that softening these patties with a pee-stream of science talk doesn't make them any more appealing.

BTW-

> Are the majority of couplings based
> on such an obviously calculated
> trade?

Kinda. Love is a marketplace.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 3:53 PM

...and a battlefield, as Lena likes to remind me.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 9, 2007 5:22 PM

Also, Hell is for Children and Hit Me with Your Best Shot.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 5:28 PM

".... it's annoying when people of constitutional good fortune or incidental enthusiasm..."
Ahhh, there it is! No, they aren't in shape due to effort! It's genetics! Or, uh, they happen to want to work out, but it's, er, incidental! How's that taste, Crid? A little...bitter?

No, Crid. That's not it. Easier on yourself to think so, but no. It's tough but people do it because they want to, they like the effects, and believe it or not, it's fun.

"Some of us are happy without pursuing your exercise regimen..." Well, you do describe yourself as 'a miserable fuck,' but OK. Then why so upset? If you think your cause is just, why should you care? I won't have to build you a wheelchair ramp or remember to give you your meds, so your ill health won't effect me, other than a very minute spike in health care costs.

"and certainly without paying you for 'training'. Maybe that's what this is all about, sales technique, the same way country preachers ask us to fret over damnation. "
I don't believe I'll end up training anyone on this board - it's hardly the place I'd advertise. Except maybe Amy, after I fly to CA with my Gregg mask, and we make mad passionate love, if she has any energy left. And Amy trains free.
Nope, this whole thread is about attraction, and how much effort it takes. Some, but less than many people think. Those who don't wish to expend such effort, like apparently yourself, are free to (not) do so, and reap (or not reap) what they sow. If you're as convinced of the rightness of your path as you seem, enjoy.

"I'm wrapping of five decades of essentially spotless health. I'm a tad overweight but move briskly without giving or taking offense."
(COUGH) Yeah, well, if you say so. There's a saying in the online training community - 'On the Internet, everyone is 300 pounds and jacked to Cleveland.' And, I'd add, on the Internet, nobody sees you wheeze up stairs or clutch your back in the morning. Nearing 50, haven't and don't exercise, deskbound job, and in 'spotless' health? I've been doing this 16 years, and haven't seen that much.

"softening these patties with a pee-stream of science talk doesn't make them any more appealing."
Hey, Charm School, you've been making your own patties for 50-some years. Don't like the taste? Talk to the chef. Believe me, they start tasting worse, not because of nasty exercise-promoters like me, but because of time and gravity. That's your own pee you're tasting, and it won't age well.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 9, 2007 6:32 PM

> they want to,

I don't want to;

> they like the effects,

that's good, they're good effects, and bully for them;

> it's fun.

Not to me.

> you do describe yourself as
> 'a miserable fuck,' but OK.

You took a mild, incidental self-deprecation very seriously. Is there a laminated copy your wallet?

> your cause is just

It ain't a cause, it's perception. I'm not compelled to ridicule those making other choices in personal habits as lazy or weak-willed. My ego's safe that way.

You should Google the lyrics to the Zappa tune "Oh No." If you own the disk, marvel at the guitar solo. It's got a soft touch, but with all the rhythmic interest that would make his next 15 years of playing so remarkable.

> haven't seen that much.

Next time you're at the Bundy and Santa Monica Starbucks, you can buy me a half-caf.

> it won't age well.

You work too hard at being sarcastic. Relax!

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 7:34 PM

http://tinyurl.com/y7ztbz

Thar she blows!

(Guitar solos' best on the 1970 version)

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 7:40 PM

Cat,
Not going to be a Crid booster (he's right - I am nervous when he agrees with me), however he's hit on something when he writes of your technique that it's: "the same way country preachers ask us to fret over damnation...".

Fitness is your path to temporal salvation, and you are - understandably - an enthusiastic evangelical.

Therefore, if folk don't want to join Cat camp they MUST be unenlightened, self-deluding, heading straight for type 2 hell and can't see that they're wading in the dregs of humanity dating pool.

Hell, you can probably catch out 99.9% of humanity if you gaze softly in a person's eyes and murmur "deep down, you feel lonely sometimes, am I right?" before you produce a box of tissues and the magic ab-roller. Especially when you salt the sell with some cunning testimonials about ex-slobs who found love and career success along with their own hardbodies.

I'm hardly immune to some of it myself (I have an on off high school-level crush on TV fitness lady Denise Austin - partly because she never insults her flock - she's a gentle soul AND she has the grace to look embarrassed when she is contractually forced to peddle crap diet supplements!).

But when you make your philosophy the basis for moral judgements about a person's worth or erotic value, my pert hackles rise too.

Plus I know some really, really horrible hardbodies myself - and I do mean outside the pages of Brett Easton Ellis' later, daft novels!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 10, 2007 5:21 AM

> catch out 99.9% of humanity if you gaze
> softly in a person's eyes and murmur
> "deep down, you feel lonely

Favorite examples:

Bill Murray teen comedy circa 1978, as he tries to soften the resistance in a group of young toughs: "Didn't you cry at the end of Old Yeller? Well, DIDN'T YOU?"

Hillary Clinton in a New York Times oped circa 1996, arguing that since we all care for our children and their education and safety, we must obviously band together... "Through government."

I've hated that witch ever since.

Posted by: Crid at January 10, 2007 6:17 AM

But when you make your philosophy the basis for moral judgements about a person's worth or erotic value, my pert hackles rise too.

Agree with this. Having grown up in a family where body size was judged to be somehow indicative of strength of character, I tend to have finely tuned antennae on this particular form of moralizing. And yes, Cat, whether you intend to or not, you're doing it. I enjoy being active but find going to the gym a soul-sucking experience. I'd much rather go hiking or dance (though now my severely arthritic right hip mostly prohibits the second) or ski or ride a horse. Nowadays most of my exercise comes from the 40-60 minutes daily dog walking I do, and the squats and lunges I'm now doing to get my legs ready for skiing in 3 weeks. I have a recumbent stationary bike that I ride on the few nights per month my hubby actually gets home from work in time to put the young'un to bed.

Sure, "beauty" is (mostly) a choice, though the playing field is far from level, and it boils down to just how much work one is willing to do or money one is willing to spend to achieve whatever ideal. But one shouldn't automatically judge someone with different priorities as being "lazy" or "undisciplined."

Posted by: deja pseu at January 10, 2007 7:10 AM

Well, I'd hardly call fitness 'my path to personal salvation.' It's my business, or at least part of it. I do enjoy it, but I enjoy a lot of stuff. I have seen firsthand, many times, what happens (especially after age 35) if you don't have it, and have heard so many people speak longingly of what they'd like to do/how they'd like to feel if they had it.
Regarding the morality of fitness....Early on in the thread, Crid mentioned the injured and congenitally disadvantaged. Seeing and working with these people, who would do ANYTHING for just the opportunity to exercise, really makes you appreciate having that choice. Of course, you not exercising that choice doesn't affect them, any more than not eating your green beans deprives the starving children of India. It does make one wish that you could trade peoples' places, and have those who wish for that opportunity, get it.
Being out of shape does affect your dependants. They have to spend time, money, and energy, all increasing with time, to try to help you maintain quality of life. I do think there's a place for discussing morality here.

"...if folk don't want to join Cat camp they MUST be unenlightened, self-deluding, heading straight for type 2 hell and can't see that they're wading in the dregs of humanity dating pool."
Since I kind of beat the body-fitness=healthy-teeth simile to death earlier, let's talk about smoking. Now, smoking is bad for you, I think we can all agree. Smokers are not by default bad people, immoral people. They are not automatically unintelligent people; they are of course often quite brilliant. I'm friends with a lot of smokers. But smokers are often unenlightened as to the effects of smoking, or self-deluding that the effects won't matter to them when they manifest. They ARE headed for an increasing cascade of health problems related to their habit, even though everyone knows someone who has an Uncle Bud who smoked Luckies all his life and lived to be 99.
Many, maybe most, non-smokers only want to date other non-smokers. This is probably due to several reasons - in the short term, the smell, the presence of an addiction, coughing, stuff like that. In the long term, you have to think about health prospects, the person dying early, and needing more and more care before then.
I don't lecture smokers. If you light up in front of me, I absolutely will not comment. Lecturing smokers doesn't work, and it's rude anyway. I certainly don't think, if someone smokes, they are de facto a bad person. If they have increasing health problems and three kids, then yeah, I have an opinion on the morality of that, but it's kept to myself.
Smokers might well want to date other smokers, at least so they won't have to go outdoors to light up, but they want to be with people who have the health of non-smokers. I don't care who you are, in filling out a dating questionnaire, nobody checks the box that says "I want someone with a hacking cough and bad breath," or "Wants Stage 2 cancer patient." And until someone comes up with a healthy cigarette, if you smoke, you get negative health effects. You do one, you get the other. And thus it is with being out of shape.

If you say you don't care whether your partner exercises, as I've said a couple of times, in today's America, you're in luck. Yes, I maintain that a lot of people saying this are hypocrites, and no I can't prove it, unless they're busted conducting an affair with a Spinning instructor, as happened in the first case that comes to mind. a woman who lectured me quite primly on how women didn't care much if men were in shape. I don't know if that condemns you to the shallow end of the dating pool. I do know that most people who exercise are attracted to others that exercise. If you're not attracted to those people yourself, you have most of the rest of the population to choose from.

Who I find erotically 'valuable,' on the other hand, IS entirely up to me. I don't feel compelled to share if I find someone unattractive, as I don't think anyone should. I do reserve the right to decline to go out with someone I'm not attracted to. If this raises your hackles, tough.

Denise Austin - OK, sore spot there. She's been pedalling crap equipment and supplements for years, fleecing the people who look to her for guidance, and if her gentle soul suffers for it, she goes home and cries on a big pile of money. Trust me, except for her money-making ability, DA is a joke in the fitness industry. Again, I can't prove that I'm not jealous of her. But you can look up reviews of her stuff (try looking at her equipment on COnsumer Reports), and see that it sucks. Vampires like her that gently suck the life and money from the gullible piss me off. Fuck Denise Austin.

"Plus I know some really, really horrible hardbodies myself "
I bet I know more of 'em. I never said that exercise made you a good upstanding person, any more than, well, brushing, flossing, and not smoking.
This thread was about attraction, how it's work, but it IS accessible. You can get in shape with no money and little space. Amy talks about dressing well with little money and a small amount of effort. I am saying that fitness, which = physical attraction to me, is not only available to the idle rich. That is not just my opinion. What is attractive to me, is.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 10, 2007 7:21 AM

"{Angelina Jolie's] punishing exercise regime has been blamed for leaving her with bulging veins in her arms, hands and even fingers...."

Above from today's unspeakably readable UK paper, the Daily Mail.

Oh Brother Cat! What hast thou wrought?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 10, 2007 7:23 AM

"{Angelina Jolie's] punishing exercise regime has been blamed for leaving her with bulging veins in her arms, hands and ev

I have bulging veins. They're even light blue through my pasty white skin. It's genetic, and related to not having lots of fat on you, and not really a big deal, except for nurses who take blood. They LOVE me.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 10, 2007 7:29 AM

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 10, 2007 7:37 AM

"...It's genetic, and related to not having lots of fat on you..."

Wot?
Angelina's "bulging blue vein in hands gene" got coincidently turned on after the extreme exercise?

That's how genetics works, is it?

Well, I never:)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 10, 2007 7:38 AM

> But one shouldn't automatically judge
> someone with different priorities as
> being "lazy" or "undisciplined."

Exactly. When people are eager to furrow their brows and wearily assert that "You gotta be cruel to be kind," it's a good bet that inside they're looking forward to the being cruel part.

> for nurses who take blood.
> They LOVE me.

Give platelets. They're giving away a Macbook at the UCLA donor center this month.

Posted by: Crid at January 10, 2007 7:42 AM

People with less body fat and more lean tissue do tend to have more visible veins, true. I'd assume that if AJ's bodyfat got to unhealthy-low levels, this would become quite marked. There may well be some exotic vein-displaying disease that I don't know of, but that doesn't seem to be the case. And yes, even the hands have fat, which can come off due to whole-body exercise. It's not that it's a disease that was turned on - she lost some fat, we can see her veins. Muscle also seems to 'push' veins out towards the surface.
But, hey, my thoughts in action! Anyone who sees AJ's veins, thinks 'eww, not for ME,' doesn't bother me a bit. I couldn't care less what other people find attractive. Now, everybody else out of line, 'till it's down to me and Brad.

Hey, Amy, what happens if this thread gets pushed to 100? Gold stars all around?

Posted by: cat brother at January 10, 2007 8:48 AM

Hey, Cat -

I'm good for ten more, if you are - coach?

(For example - I could tell you how gentle, rich Denise looks me straight in the eye on the telly when "we're" exercising and says: "Jody, do NOT buy my crap equipment or supplements. YOU are not gullible! I'm PROUD of YOU, Jody...". But I won't, 'cos I care about your blood pressure!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 10, 2007 9:28 AM

Hey, Amy, what happens if this thread gets pushed to 100? Gold stars all around

I'm already thrilled it's in the 70s now. I guess I have to post more topics like this!

(With my own blue-veiny little hands.)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 10, 2007 9:39 AM

I believe that, on some level, Denise would love to say just that, Jody. She can't be ignorant of the quality of her equipment, and I have a hard time picturing her saying, a la Eli Wallach (sp?) from Magnificent Seven, "If God did not want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep!"
But she continues to put her name on crap, and people buy it, get mediocre or no results, and get soured on exercise, just so she can cash a check, and that makes her an asshole.

Bill Philips, who wrote Body For Life, is (apparently) quite a toolbox, but that book was, for the lay public, a fairly seminal work that went against a lot of mainstream wisdom and had really good guidelines in it. I doubt I'll ever have to share a cab with him, so I don't much care that he's a tool. I would care if he put crap on the market so's to line his pockets.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 10, 2007 9:54 AM

"I would care if he put crap on the market so's to line his pockets."

Can't argue with that, Cat.

I can only add that I am aware that I sound like the worst apologist for Denise when I say that the very first time I saw "my" golden TV girl hawking some crap-in-a-bottle - straight after the physical jerks segment - I was genuinely startled. Her whole body language changed and her gleam vanished.

I actually thought "geez, her sponsors must be blind! She's totally undermining the sell!!"

It's certainly assholesville to shill shit to the sheep - even if other bits of your message are sound. No question.

I guess I've just worked out a personally, pragmatic approach to sweetie pie Denise - because she keeps me going month after month after month. Mostly!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 10, 2007 10:37 AM

You heard it here first: investigative science journo Gary Taubes, who wrote the NY Times Mag article, "What If It's All Been A Big Fat Lie?" is coming out with a book that will revolutionize the American diet. Soon, I hope. I think it's taken him six years or so to write it, because it's data-based, unlike so many of the diet books screaming, "Do it my way!" now on the market.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 10, 2007 10:43 AM

Amy, I think I've had that book on order at amazon since last Feb. Wasn't it initially supposed to be released about this time last year?

Posted by: deja pseu at January 10, 2007 10:46 AM

Just read the Taubes 2002 article for the first time.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E2D61F3EF934A35754C0A9649C8B63&sec=health&spon=&pagewanted=1

Golly.

If it's true an author has put the brakes on a "hot" diet book's publication because he wanted the manuscript to be better - that's cause enough for celebration on it's own!

Publishers usually prefer to screw the author if they have a hungry market waiting.

It does look brilliant.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 10, 2007 11:22 AM

I disagree with the combining fat with carbs part, I like the rest of what's in the article.
I'd like to point out that what the one NIH researcher said about 'protein is bad for the kidneys' is not strictly true; if you've already got impaired kidney function, you have to alter protein intake, but people with normal kidneys and high protein intake, like the Masai and athletes everywhere, do not experience kidney problems as a result.
This is a prime example of why trainers and fitness professionals in general have for years mostly ignored mainstream dietitians - we KNEW that reducing peoples' processed carb intake made them leaner, and that the best single supplement someone could take was fish oil, and they kept pointing to the Food Pyramid.
Back in '92. the late Dan Duchaine said, "Now hear this - the future of both nutrition and fat loss will revolve around managing your blood sugar levels. " To a large extent, he was right.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 10, 2007 2:10 PM

Good one, Cat.

I was just checking one of my favourite browsing books ("Making the List, A Cultural history of the American Bestseller" - Michael Korda) to see when the first "official" diet blockbuster appeared - and what it said about carbs.

"Diet and Health" was by one Lulu Hunt Peters, a physician from LA, - who hit the mass market jackpot in the early 1920s. She was - it seems - pretty fond of carbs "recommending 60%–65% carbohydrates". I liked this bit from an archive page: "References to World War I and the Kaiser date the book, but in other ways it is amazingly modern. Like diet promoters of today, she includes testimonials from satisfied followers, and she also describes her own exercise system. She warns against the use of diet drugs, which contained arsenic and mercury in those days, and she advises dieters to get used to unsweetened food and avoid the “coal tar product” Saccharine. However, she goes on to explain how to deal with chocolate binges by adjusting your dinner meal.Modern readers will be baffled at many references to then-current events and popular culture, but reading between the lines you can get a peak at wartime rationing, the battle by the American Medical Association to certify doctors, sleazy advertising practices of diet drug marketers, and the cases for and against vegetarianism a century ago."

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 10, 2007 3:49 PM

And don't forget, Kellog's Corn Flakes were invented to, in large part, stifle the libido and prevent masturbation.
Aw, hell, Amy, we might have run this 'attraction takes work, but is doable' thread out. I'm thinking we may have to go to bird calls to get to 100.

Too-tee-tweet!
Too-tee-tweet!

Posted by: Cat brother at January 10, 2007 4:06 PM

Ah, but let us not be quite so quick to dismiss the interesting connection between Bird's, nutrition and health, Cat brother!


"Alfred Bird registered as a pharmacist in Birmingham in 1842, having served an apprenticeship to Phillip Harris of that city. He was was a qualified chemist and druggist.
His wife was allergic to eggs and couldn't eat home-made custard, so in 1837, Bird invented an egg-free cutard, supplied in powdered form. Advertising started around 1875 and Bird's Custard quickly became renowned as a wholesome and nutritious food
."

Posted by: jody tresidder at January 10, 2007 4:59 PM

For anyone interested, here's how to get in shape and stay the hell out of a commercial gym on a severe budget.

Buy a weight set. Cheapest place is usually a Play It Again Sports. These stores are nation-wide. A new 5' bar with 100 lbs of plates and 2 collars, often with dumbbell handles as well, should run about $50. It'll never wear out, and you can store it in the closet or the corner when not in use. While you're there, get an ab wheel, which should be $5-10.
Get 2 cinder blocks. Paint them pretty. Also go under the bed when not in use. You put the bar on them to load it, which is easier than loading it on the floor, and you don't have to bend all the way over.

Learn to do the following -
1. Cobra pushups AKA 'Hindu pushups'
2. Bentover rows with a bar
3. Military press
4. Bulgarian squats
5. The ab wheel

Form for all of these is available free online. Your local library should have books on them as well. Ignore the programs in the books, just get the proper form from the pictures. Ah-nold's book is, hate to say, pretty good, and libraries usually have it.
If you can learn to do deadlifts safely, that's most of your body right there, no shit. Arnold's book 'Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding' has a very good section on keeping the back arched, which you must also do for the rows.

Do 2 warmup sets, then 2-3 hard sets of 6-12 reps, 2-3 times a week. It'll take 30 minutes, maybe.
There you go. Egalitarian fitness, done at home where the showers are clean.

Kaw! Kaw!

Posted by: Cat brother at January 10, 2007 6:00 PM

People with any back problems should not use an ab wheel however, at least according to my phsycial therapist...too easy to do it wrong and really wrench your lower back.

Posted by: deja pseu at January 10, 2007 7:16 PM

Okay Cat,

Owl bite (bird pun: i.e. "I'll"...).

Deja warns about ab roller problems.

I've heard something similar BUT also pretty consistently great things about them too.

So if your client THINKS she has no particular back problems at all and she's over 35 - perhaps she won't even see 40 again! - would you still recommend she use the ab roller?

Would you say "go ahead, you old broad - you have everything to gain in spite of your age?".

(I am asking for "a friend", you understand!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 10, 2007 8:24 PM

A-hem.
First, I have to point out, if I'm not there spotting you and observing,all this is at your own risk. If you feel pain in any joint, stop. Before beginning any exercise program, get the approval of your physician.
The key to successfully using the ab wheel/roller is to NEVER LET THE BACK ARCH, as opposed to things like rows and deadlilfts, where a back arch is both necessary to activate the latissimus and so the spine can work as a unit, protecting the back.
By 'arch' I mean, pushing the stomach forward and the chest and butt out. That's an arch, as opposed to 'rounding' where the spine is pushed up in a curve, like an angry cat. OK?
To use the wheel, you have to get good at a third back position, that I call for clients the 'katana', or often just 'the samurai.' You also use this position when doing pushups, standard pushups that is.
Stand with your spine as straight as you can, like a plumb line, Now, start to curve the spine forward, like you're doing a crunch. Stop halfway. Your back should be gently curved forward, like a samurai sword, your abs half-crunched. This is the katana.
As you roll forward, your abs are in this position. Either get a friend to visually spot you or do it with your side to a mirror. If you lose this position, and your stomach starts to sag towards the floor, stop rolling forwards! Very few people can roll completely forwards to start with.
To roll back, think in terms of pulling the navel upwards. You finish in the 'angry cat' position, with your back strongly rounded upwards. When I spot people for this movement, I use a wide soft belt around their waist, and gently pull straight up, until they get used to moving from the abs.
Your body will want to do the movement by just rocking the hips forward and back, keeping the hips high. Although this may be visually appealing (I want video of Amy doing it) it's not an effective workout.
So, yes, done correctly, taking the back from angry cat to katana and back, this movement is safe. My mother's 70, and she does it. I'm 41, and can nearly do it from a standing position.

So go ahead, you old broad.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 11, 2007 4:27 AM

What a completely brilliant answer, Cat!

(Duly cut and pasted and saved for "my friend").

Though, didn't you say "'On the Internet, everyone is 300 pounds and jacked to Cleveland.'"

So how do I know it's true that "[You are] 41, and can nearly do it from a standing position"?

It seems almost superhuman.

(Have to confess I didn't actually understand the Cleveland phrase - though it has a nice, terse ring.)

You know, we could easily get to 100 if Crid pulled his finger out.

I wonder if Paglia has ever said anything about men and exercise and rape and Mayan goddesses or something? That'd get him running. As it were.

Just thought of something else. My nephew - lucky sod - went on one of those incredibly posh safaris recently where you travel with your "own" Masai warrior (and a cook!).

You mentioned the Masia earlier, hence my drift.

He said the Masai guy was great - but fat. I DID find that sad even though I grew up among many Polynesians (I am not remotely Polynesian, though I am descended from Fletcher Christian's family) and was pretty used to beautiful, fat people as a kid.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 11, 2007 5:56 AM

Taubes is crazy-meticulous, so that's why the book is taking so long.

The personal Masai guy has to be *the* next thing in Beverly Hills.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 11, 2007 7:36 AM

The Cleveland phrase just meant, if nobody can see you in person, you can claim to be as fit as you want, and nobody can call you on it. Sometimes people do claim incredible lifts, and others ask under what contest conditions, but you get the point.
No, I can't prove my ab wheel ability, although y'all have given me impetus to get the rest of the way. I mean, I could post photos at the beginning, middle and end ranges of motion, but I could just hold those poses statically for a camera.
I can do the motion pretty much level with the floor, holding gymnastic rings, which I use in my gym, but this is easier than the wheel, as they help you back up slightly.

Too bad about the fat Masai. The real deal are actually kinda skinny, from huge amounts of cardio and a no-carb existance.

I'd rather Crid kept his finger in. God knows what it'll smell like once pulled out.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 11, 2007 8:17 AM

> That'd get him running. As it were

That was harsh and backhanded... It was funny, appropriate, and I'm glad you said it, but still.

Listening to people describe exercise is like hearing a detailed report of an afternoon spent watching the lawn grass grow. Or the paint drying. Or the car rusting. It's pornography without sex, the compelling narratives, or even the wacka-wacka guitar.

You kids are havin' big fun in here, I'll just let you be.

Posted by: Crid at January 11, 2007 8:29 AM

"That was harsh and backhanded.."

Actually, Crid - my typing fingers took me where my heart normally wouldn't. There are about 56,893 things I don't enormously enjoy being teased about - and I'm not sure that was amusing enough to oil the grit. Sorry.

But I'm not sure "big fun" is exactly the right term here. I'm beginning to feel like Claudius:"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:/
Words without thoughts etc." Expect Cat is too.

Mind you - the "fat Masai" meme would make a brilliant scolding travel feature (for a Brit paper) about the awful spread of USA consumerism to these proud people so beloved of Vogue fashion spreads. (Since fat is always the fault of the USA).

To be fair, my nephew only mentioned the one plump Masai - and it obviously struck him as unusual. Maybe he was the oddball porker the rest of them shoved off on the posh tourists because Vogue didn't want him?

When you say "my gym" Cat brother - do you mean the one you use - or one you actually own?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 11, 2007 9:15 AM

I own a small gym, where I train one person at a time. This is also where I train.
I'm a big fan of training at home, as most people only need very basic barbell, dumbbell, and bodyweight movements. The most common excuses for not exercising are, not enough time, and too much money. The materials I listed above will never wear out, and are much less than $100, and store in a very small space.
When I lived in Seattle, I worked at a huge posh gym ('The Vault'), but did more than half my workouts at home, in a tiny studio, in the space between my futon and the wall. This includes my cardio work, which was mainly jumping rope (quality leather jump rope, $10).
I was able to push myself about as hard as I wanted with just a dumb ol' barbell, 2 cincerblocks to set in on for loading, and a bunch of plates, though to be fair I did have a mini-squat-rack ($100) that I bolted together on squat day, went in the closet otherwise.
With a garage or shed or something, you're all set.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 11, 2007 9:32 AM

> I'm not sure that was amusing enough
> to oil the grit

Yes it was. This is a blog. We kid because we loathe.

94.

Posted by: Crid at January 11, 2007 9:58 AM

Goodie, Cat brother.
Something I really feel strongly about.

"The most common excuses for not exercising are, not enough time, and too much money."

That might be the official "rational" excuse - but the real reason is that uninitiated people are afraid they'll be total crap at it. Because the message we hear is that we are already life's losers.

You lot - I don't necessarily mean you personally at all, but the whole buns of steel brigade - are intimidating, elitist, snippy, narrow-minded, frequently tedious beyond belief and curiously out of touch.

That's why clever ducks like Denise do well - though it's possible I am a little unhinged in my Denise fandom! (I am however more clear eyed about her than I might appear).

Sure, I get the way the tough MO can work; exercise is the "good" cleansing punishment you inflict on sins like sloth, gluttony and age. (Thank you Ms Fonda!).

But if I had a gym - small or otherwise - I'd put up a big sign "You Are Twice As Wonderful As You Think You Are - Come In & I'll Show You Why!!!".

And the FIRST thing I'd say to Mr or Ms Blob when they tiptoed through the door is - after a quick look at them: "Well, I can see you've got fantastic forearms/wow - have you always been lucky with the shape of your shins?" anything to get them even slightly inwardly proud.

I honestly think "you are crap - please sign up here" is very old hat.

You do come across as a bit of a Mr Gruffypants here, initially - until you're prodded. Then you are a far friendlier sort - and I only mean in your professional capacity. Not getting personal here at all!

(Is this 93?)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 11, 2007 10:23 AM

"We kid because we loathe."

Huh, Crid!?

Ourselves, do you mean - or each other?

96.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 11, 2007 10:30 AM

What was Ben Stiller's line in Dodgeball, "You suck, and we know it!"

What you describe as what you'd do with your gym is pretty much what I do in mine. WHat you'll find me taking umbrage to here, is people suggesting that working out is
a. Too much for anyone but the idle rich
b. The province of small-minded, not-'real' souls.

I hope to have demonstrated that someone with even minimal resources can have a challenging and productive workout routine.

The reverse-snobbery of non-exercisers is every bit as virulent as of (some) exercisers against the fuh-labby. If you read an internet thread where fat people are talking about being discriminated against, you are sure to see it tend into, "All those workout types are shallow and callous and nasty and ....." much the same way as, if you read accounts of certain other groups being discriminated against, they start belting out wild stereotypes against whites/men/city dwellers, etc.

I also really wanted to point out that many out of shape people will proudly defend their out of shapeness, but demand to be found attractive by in-shape people. Why don't they date other out of shapers? "Me, I'm just not attracted to that type. But on ME, it looks good." I mean, good for you if you can pull whoever you're into, whoever that is, but to dredge up this analogy again, if you smoke, you can't demand that non-smokers find your smoking pleasant while declining to go out with other smokers.

97!
Boom boom CLAP! Boom boom CLAP!

Posted by: Cat brother at January 11, 2007 10:53 AM

"I also really wanted to point out that many out of shape people will proudly defend their out of shapeness, but demand to be found attractive by in-shape people."

Why on earth let it bother you?

Let'em demand their dreams. If they're horrible people anyway, they won't get them. And if they DO achieve their dreams, yay!

Why rub their porky little noses in it?

(Just one more rep!!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 11, 2007 11:04 AM

Well, on a personal level, it doesn't bother me much. On a discussion board like this, I'm happy to point out hypocrisy. In general, I just smile, pick up my drink and move on.

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet -

www.myboxinabox.com

Bunny has (sadly) replaced Amy as #1 on the fantasy parade. It IS funnier if you saw the original 'Dick in a Box,' still very available on Youtube.


Woooo-hooo! Longest Amy thread evahhhh!

Posted by: Cat brother at January 11, 2007 12:09 PM

Awww - you've let me score the century for the goddess.

Cheers Cat brother,
(You tireless scourge of the weak, you!!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at January 11, 2007 12:26 PM

Spaceboy, I do the same thing. I have one diet coke in the afternoon when I hit that tired 3PM feeling. It feels like I'm treating myself, plus no calories. WBR LeoP

Posted by: John Medicine at March 9, 2007 11:45 PM

There's a thing called not giving a shit what anyone thinks. Depends on cultural conditioning. shallow means"I don't like myself enough.Beuty is up to the one viewing, not some blogger or anyone...it's personal. However most men i've been with hate fit bodies and i usually am the fittest they date..it's funny considering many of my exes/friends also hated women that were chubby, but always ended up marrying a chubby gal...

Posted by: Kristin Marie at September 17, 2007 10:25 PM

People get the best they can. Beauty is not based on cultural condition, but on evolutionary adaptation. The things we, even today, find beautiful generally predict fertility and a healthy mother to bear a child.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 17, 2007 10:32 PM

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