In adolescence I craved and coveted one personal asset above all others. Early in life, I took to pursuing it. The pursuit turned into a mission. The mission turned into a quest. The quest had me bound and tied by the age of 15, and didn’t let go until well into my adult life. In truth, it still tugs at me.
From the time I was in the 5th grade, I wanted that bodybuilder look. You know, that look that bodybuilders have; that awe striking, eye popping, mind blowing physical form. The aesthetic which confiscated my youth from me, in exchange for the ransom of all my spare time, more than a few relationships, and many thousands of eggs. Yes, the bodybuilder look was a slut, a teacher, a mentor, a whore, and a holy grail to me, all rolled into one.
“Important, Necessary, Unique, Aesthetic, Freedom, Success, Wisdom, King”
In time, and with the help of Arnold Schwarzenegger, bodybuilding caught on. Within a couple of decades, it was a lesser surprise to walk into a grocery store or a public venue every once and again and see a man with the bodybuilder look. Even so, it still was not commonplace to see such a being. Well into the 1990’s, and well after attaining this look myself, I still considered the bodybuilder look unique, and was proud to carry it. Through the 1990’s, in nearly any gym, at nearly any time of day, you still might see only one or two men with that look, or none at all. Things have changed. Look at something obvious, do so daily, and you can be assured that you will overlook something about it.
I have a girlfriend now which means I spend my evenings watching HGTV and pretending I like it. HGTV is a TV network hosting a never ending loop of programs which takes beaten houses, and turns them into swans. The crews which are used to foster these transitions generally consist of a real-estate adviser, a designer/decorator, and a carpenter & crew.
These experts have the power to transform a house well into decline into, well, into a bodybuilder house – so to say. But that’s not the tie-in here. The connection is this; every freaking carpenter on those shows, as well as the carpenter’s crew, always look like recreational bodybuilders. Even some of the male designers have that bodybuilder look. The abundance of the bodybuilder look on something as benign as HGTV got me thinking about this quite a bit – so I began seeking and identifying it on other shows, and in other places in life.
Apparently I have had my eyes closed for the past 10 years or so, because it now appears that if you are male, whether you are on TV or not, you are likely obese, or a bodybuilder – with decreasing room in-between. That bodybuilder look is everywhere! It almost seems the American male standard. Over simplified perhaps, but not too far off the mark.
The gym where I sometimes go:
At any given time at the 24Hour Fitness in Oceanside, CA, where I meet my workout partner, Marshall, each afternoon, I see a dozen or more men of varying ages, who have that bodybuilder look. Not sure where I was or what I was doing when this happened, but I only began noticing it just this month after identifying so frequently on television. Not to suggest that these are competitive bodybuilders, but they possess physiques which could have been on stage competing in bodybuilding 20 years ago. Some days, men of this look actually represent the majority of those working out at my gym.
So what’s shakin’ here? Why now? Why so many? Why everywhere? Lots and lots of reasons, some good, some not-so-good.