I don’t know if you saw this week’s Style section in the New York Times, but just in case you missed it, it was a charming little piece about how hipster dudes, gay and straight alike, all over New York City are “proudly rockin’ a gut.” The hed was It’s Hip to be Round, about how local coolios are sporting a burgeoning beer belly–not quite ginormous, but certainly too noticeable to be written off as a too-big T. Check it:
“I sort of think the six-pack abs obsession got so prissy it stopped being masculine,” is how Aaron Hicklin, the editor of Out, explains the emergence of the Ralph Kramden. What once seemed young and hot, for gay and straight men alike, now seems passÃ©. Like manscaping, spray-on tans and other metrosexual affectations, having a belly one can bounce quarters off suggests that you may have too much time on your hands.
“It’s not cool to be seen spending so much time fussing around about your body,” Mr. Hicklin said.
I, of course, have spent fully a third of my waking hours in the last 42 years fussing around my body because it is cool to do so. Haven’t you? Also, because I have just so much spare time on my hands I don’t really know what to do with myself. The care of those twin six-year-olds, that magazine job, that marriage and household to maintain, a little blog to post on and oh, yes, that book to write, are all crossed off my to-do list by 12:15 each day. So I do crunches.
I’m not ragging on the article–unlike much of the New York Times style coverage, it’s not completely disconnected. Guy Trebay, the author, pointed out the 747-sized double standard a couple of times in his piece.
I’m just, you know, cranky. Shocking, I know. But could you even conceive of a universe in which a similar article could be written about women? She’s “rockin'” that jiggly butt? “Rockin'” those thighs that could snap a guy’s neck? “Rockin'” that postpartum overhang?
The men he’s writing about got their modish physiques by eating too much good food, drinking homebrew and likely giving in to the munchies after a long night of pot smoking, which they hoped would inspire them to finish that screenplay. Meanwhile, their girlfriends are likely up and out before dawn to hit the gym, leaving their pudgy partners in bed, sawing away with the sleep apnea they’re developing because their weight is inching up and they’re probably not taking very good care of themselves.
I actually like a bit of a pot belly. It’s huggy, and it bespeaks a certain lack of urgency that is a nice counterbalance to my type-A attitude. (My husband doesn’t have one, but he’s working on it). I’m in no way wishing the pressures women face on men, and I know some of them do feel they have to go the Abercrombie & Fitch model route.
But c’mon already. Cut us a little slack. Maybe in the waist area.