Last night, while scrolling through Instagram, this sponsored post showed up in my feed:
Now it might surprise some people, but I look an awful lot like a pre-abs filter model. I have abs, I know they’re there somewhere, but they don’t poke out like this. Like me, they seem a little introverted. They like being left alone and they are pretty happy with it.
This filter though, is intended to make people like me feel like their pre-ab model body isn’t sexy, like it isn’t enough as it is. To make you feel like your body is an okay thing to get you through a day of sitting down at a computer looking at social media, but that it isn’t exactly what one would call desirable.
I’m not okay with that. My body doesn’t need to be desirable to others, but I’ll be damned if I’m supposed to think that without a shirt I’m an offensive looking human or that it’s rebellious to think my body is okay as it is. I refuse to think that my body would look better if it didn’t look like my body at all.
Boys are taught early on in life that physical superiority is a desirable trait and they are taught that being muscular is a sure-fire way to achieve this. That’s what I see when I look at an ad for an ab-enhancer.
“Here’s your chance boys. Add some muscle to your frame and see what it’s like to be a real man.”
My body is just fine
This morning, like many mornings before this one, I went for a run. I didn’t go particularly far and I didn’t go particularly fast. But I went for a run and felt pretty good about it. And then I took pictures of what my body looks like right now.
In all honesty, I didn’t originally plan to include the one on the right. “It’s a bad angle,” I told myself. “Take something head on to make your body look a little better.”
I included it because I was wrong.
This body is good enough. And I know it’s desirable to me.
There are bumps and there are blemishes but that’s my body. I’m a man with stretch marks too. I didn’t earn the stretch marks I have my carrying a human in me, but that doesn’t make me feel ashamed of them. I gained them eating and growing into a 37-year-old man.
And I see moles, freckles, some pretty pale skin and a lot of beautiful drawings my daughters have done for me. There is a lot to like in my body, even if I don’t see my abs.
I’m also not on the lookout for dad bod praise. I just want to feel comfortable having a body that works for me while I work on it.
I know my body works for me, I know my body is healthy. I know it likes hamburgers and I know it likes beer. It’s carried me through marathons, both of the running and Netflix variety.
Men with abs that look like they could pop off a stomach and fight me are sexy, but so are men with a body like mine.
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