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 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.