Time to Lose Some Weight Babe
Relationships often play out with two sets of rules: his and hers. Nowhere do double standards flourish more than when it comes to issues of weight. Men want their girlfriends and wives to stay in shape. While it may or may not always work out that way, we certainly find ways to make our feelings known: “Babe, you sure you want to eat that deep-fried doughnut?” After all, there is only so much cushion for the pushin’ a man needs.
But turn the tables, and you find that most men roll differently. And when I say “roll,” I mean actually rolling up on the drive-thru and, two heartbeats away from cardiac arrest, we’ll bark out our order: “I’d like my double standard with cheese please.”
Indulge me as I speak from my own personal experience because, you know, that’s something I never do.
I’ve been married for close to six years. For the first four, I still enjoyed a very high-functioning metabolism. The energy it took me to even step on a scale seemed to burn 200 calories. But to quote Notorious B.I.G ‘Things Done Changed.’ My metabolism, once a Kenyan track star, is now the slow Swedish cat bringing up the rear hoping not to get lapped. All told, I gained 15 pounds last year. And here I was giving my wife grief if she ordered French fries.
One evening I remember being at the movie theater eating a gratuitously big bag of popcorn. Halfway through the movie, I find myself trudging out to the lobby to reup on the butter. Yes, more butter. Fabulous idea. While doing so, a young woman behind the counter offers to “top off my popcorn.” Top off my popcorn for free? I had never heard of such thing. I wondered for a moment, “Is this a sexual metaphor that I need to decode; is she hitting on me or is this the explanation to American obesity?” Better question – was I part of the problem?
I tried to put it out of my mind, but later that night, something funny happened on my way to the fridge for a late snack. “My sexy” sent me a telepathic message stating that he wanted to come home. It had been a long time since I heard from or seen “My sexy.” And I can’t really blame him for leaving the pudgy bastard that I was becoming. The two couldn’t co-exist. He said that I mistreated him, that I disrespected him. I shot him back some mental telepathy of own and asked “Are we gay because it certainly sounds like it?” But fast forward a year after reuniting with “My sexy,” and I’m back down to my trimmer self of old.
“My sexy” is happy. My wife is happy. Then again, my wife never really complained. And therein lies part of the problem. The double standard on weight issues in relationships is due, in part, to women who believe a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It’s the human teddy bear syndrome. But have you ever seen a teddy bear with heart disease or diabetes or breathe like Darth Vader climbing a short flight of steps? No, because they are cute inanimate objects that don’t require health care. They don’t require funerals either or leave their spouses tons of credit card debt after they pass prematurely.
Weight double standards are not healthy — physically or emotionally. We need to stop supersizing our fries and our relationships in the process. Just my thoughts. I’m stepping down from my soapbox now and on to the treadmill.
Mason Jamal writes about men, women and popular culture. For more of his musings, visit masonjamal.com. To have his commentary delivered to your e-mail, subscribe here. Keep up with Mason’s daily thoughts and observations by following him on Twitter @masonsays.