The short treatise below was inspired by Samantha Brick’s article “There are downsides to looking this pretty”: Why women hate me for being beautiful.
“Why men love me for being overly-average.”
On a recent bus trip back to Boston, I was delighted when a “fit as a fiddle” guy offered me the seat next to him. “Please sit next to me. I need a glazey-eyed guy, with two chins, and a beer belly to tell me X-rated jokes so I don’t have to listen to the sloshing sound of the green water in the toilet.”
You’re probably thinking “what a great honor, Harry”. While it was an honor, I am used to this type of behavior.
On a recent flight to New York, I was delighted when a stewardess came over and gave me 4 free beers and 10 of those little bags of nuts.
‘This is from the captain — he wants to welcome you on board and hopes you can liven up this flight today,’ she explained.
Ever since I stopped exercising, trimming my nose and ear hairs, and began slipping into my GAP khakis with a 40 inch waist, I’ve regularly had offers from men, and sometimes women, looking for safe companionship.
Once while in an aisle at Whole Foods a very attractive woman dressed head-to-toe in Tory Burch smiled at me and asked “You appear to be a hefty guy. What style of beer goes best with a turducken?
Even bar tenders frequently pick up multiple rounds because they say my “Norm-like” aura makes patrons hang out and drink more.
While I am no John Candy, I’m tallish, used to be somewhat in shape, grayish blonde, and an average looking middle-aged guy who could use to lose more than a few. I know how flabby I am. I’m not funny and I’m not too smart, yet over the years I’ve been asked to join “Guy’s Night Out” parties and golf vacations by countless strangers who felt that I “look like a fun guy who’d add a lot to the party.” You’d think we men would only want to hang with friends looking like triathletes. But no, the doughier, the better.
I hate the gym, blue cheese tops almost everything I eat, and I slam beers anytime it is nice out. Unfortunately men find nothing greater than someone else being the biggest slob in the room. Take last week, I was sitting on my lawn chair when a group of guys jogged by. I waved–they blatantly cheered and chanted “You’ve gotta fight for your right to PAAAAARTY!!
And I dread the frat boy comments. “Here he comes. We’re wearing Armani and Harry’s in his Flyers jersey ready for the game. Let’s go hang with him!”.
My wife is younger and beautiful. And she takes great pride in the number of friends I have and always tells me that I’m the life of the party. I find dinner parties filled with pressure and if I can’t feign illness, then I’m pressured in mixing Long Island Iced-Teas until the cows come home.
So now I’m 48 and probably one of very few men entering his sixth decade still dreading the thought of joining a gym. And I’m sure not ready to begin tucking in my dress shirts and running 3 miles without puking.
I just wish the P90X/CrossFit brotherhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.