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Can I Just Say…Huh? | Manolo for the Big Girl

Can I Just Say…Huh?

So I woke up this morning and started my day by browsing the Yahoo headlines, as I often do. Most of the time I don’t even find a story worth following, but I look anyway on my way to pick up my mail. Sometimes I even get a good laugh at some hysterical flapdoodle or find my way to a story that actually does matter to me.

And then I find my way to stories like this one.

Yes, according to the New York Times, hot hip young men are carefully crafting tiny potbellies. Not the adorable miniature pigs, mind, but on themselves. The story carefully explains that the ‘Kramden’ as it’s been dubbed in honor of Ralph Kramden of The Honeymooners, as played by the inimitable Jackie Gleason.

The Honeymooners

The Times claims this trend is a reaction to the demand for flat abs over the past few years, but lays it even more at the feet of President Obama:

Hipsters, by nature contrarian, according to Dan Peres, the editor of Details, may be reacting in opposition to a president who is not only, as the press relentlessly reminds us, So Darn Smart, but also hits the gym every morning, has a conspicuously flat belly and, when not rescuing the economy or sparring with Kim Jong-il, shoots hoops.

Oh, and it’s also the fault of women that men started worrying about their bellies at all, you know:

Until recently, men were under no particular obligation to exhibit bulging deltoids and shredded abdominals; that all changed, said David Zinczenko, the editor of Men’s Health, when women moved into the work force in numbers. “The only ripples Ralph Kramden” and successors like Mike Brady of “The Brady Bunch” had to demonstrate were in their billfolds, said Mr. Zinczenko, himself a dogged crusader in the battle of the muffin top. “But that traditional male role has changed.”

As women have come to outnumber men in the workplace, it becomes more important than ever for guys to armor themselves, Mr. Zinczenko said, with the “complete package of financial and physical,” to billboard their abilities as survivors of the cultural and economic wilds.

Of course the fact that it’s now fashionable (assuming we believe this at all) for men to carry more weight around the middle (and woe betide the man who can’t manage to gain weight, apparently) doesn’t let the ladies off the hook, we are warned.

Besides, ‘That Guy’ with the ripped abs and bulging biceps probably doesn’t exist at all, according to personal fitness trainer Robert Morea:

“When do you ever see that guy, anyway?” Mr. Morea asked, referring to those legendary Men’s Health cover models, with their rippling torsos and famished smiles. “The only time you really see that guy, he’s standing in front of an Abercrombie & Fitch store.” Perhaps, he suggested, there is really only one of them. “It’s the same guy. They just move him around.”

Now if only someone would recognize that ‘That Girl’  doesn’t exist either. If we did, maybe things like the recent lopping of Kelly Clarkson on the cover of Self wouldn’t happen.

6 Responses to “Can I Just Say…Huh?”

  1. boots August 16, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    The Times’ trend pieces are so stupid anymore. They seem to be totally based on the writer’s own “anecdata.” For a while I thought, “These must just be trends in Brooklyn,” but I actually think they’re just made up.

  2. Anne August 16, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

    Let’s hope Peter Jackson reads the Times. He looked so much better (and healthier) when he had a belly.

  3. Twistie August 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    I know, Anne! I think so, too.

  4. raincoaster August 16, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    Hipsters are notorious for saying anything that will get them in the paper, of course. The bellies this desperately hard up for material trend writer is noticing are simply the aftereffects of several years of PBR addiction combined with the perception that gyms are uncool. These are formerly-thin hipsters who, by this time next year, will be trying to convince the world that pleated, wide-leg pants are “fetch.”

  5. daisyj August 17, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    I’m with raincoaster. There comes a time in a guy’s life (generally, around twenty-seven or twenty-eight) when he is forced to confront the fact that hanging out on couches ironically eating Funions and drinking St. Pauli Girl is not going to keep him whippet-thin indefinitely. But, being hipster guys, these don’t do anything to change their habits, they just declare this to be a new way to prove that they are still better than everyone else, in ways the rest of us simply can’t understand.

    Or maybe it’s just that boots is right, and someone at the Times just did a trends madlib to fill space. (“Hipsters in [overpriced neighborhood] are adding [noun] to their [body part], something that they claim is [bullshit reason].)

  6. bitter August 19, 2009 at 8:45 pm #

    I’m still stuck on the fact that Ralph Kramden seemed to think that hitting his wife was funny/OK/etc. His belly, be it a six pack or a keg, is oveshadowed by the way he treated women. Perhaps men should get the clue that women find your respect of them to be very hot, tummy status is graded much later on the food chain.