I’ve never been blessed with what one would call a “great bod.” In my adult years, my weight has gone up and down from a low of 167 to a high of 245. Unfortunately, I’m much closer to the high nowadays than the low.
I’ve recently been surprised that I’ve pretty much developed a “dad bod” even though I never had any kids. Apparently, a dad bod is when most of your body is hanging in there during the rough years but your stomach sticks out and you have to lean forward a little to see your feet.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t anything new. For years I’ve heard it said that being built like this means you have a “gut.” A “beer gut” if you imbibe. I’m not sure how it came to mean you’re built like a father of three when your metabolism slows down and you just don’t care enough to exercise anymore.
Once upon a time men simply didn’t care how they looked. Sure, there were one or two exceptions--guys whose hair was always perfect and you never saw even the hint of a shadow on their face. But most of us figured if we washed our hair at least every other day and knew how to put on deodorant, we were good to go.
Because, fortunately, women didn’t ask for much. Oh, we demanded a lot of them, but they’d better be ready to accept us for what we are or they’re going to end up old and lonely.
Not anymore. We used to be stuck comparing what we had with things that were right there around us. And you don’t get much variety when you don’t stray far from home. Oh, we always had handsome and beautiful people on movie screens, but we understood they were out of reach. We had to make do with whatever was in a 20-mile area.
As with most things in the modern world, the internet is to blame. Sure, we still had unobtainable celebrities in the digital world, but we also had access to everybody else! Instead of local comparisons, we could suddenly compare what we had to virtually everything that existed in the world.
And we weren’t happy with the way the comparisons turned out.
Women were used to this, so it didn’t affect them much. Men on the other hand… No longer did we just have a gut. Now we not only disappointed the women in our lives by not looking like Brad Pitt during his “Fight Club” days, but we disappointed them by not holding up like that 50-year-old guy from Boston that they saw on Facebook.
Some guys take the dad bod thing and plow ahead with it, not caring how they look. In other words, they didn’t change at all. Some took it way too far and you get guys who look okay from distance but when you get close to them, you reel from how old they actually are.
One topic of conversation I’ve had a surprising number of times with people in my age group is that when we were kids, people in their 50s and beyond not only were old, but they flat out looked it.
We remember women in flowery dresses that went all the way to their ankles, their hair tied in a severe bun and absolutely no makeup. We recall men in button-up shirts and hats (or overalls if you were in a farming area). And they were serious, deadly serious, about everything. Maybe this was what they showed to kids, but I can’t imagine them letting loose and tearing things up when we weren’t around.
The other day, I went to see a comic book movie called “Deadpool.” It didn’t bother me that, at the age of 51, I was walking into a theater wearing a Deadpool T-shirt and a pair of shorts. It also didn’t bother the other men who were around the same age and dressed similarly. I mean, they maybe looked a little silly, but I was the epitome of cool.
I can’t say what the women in our lives thought.
But what’s old has always been a moving target. People in their 50s and 60s don’t really come across as that old anymore, but, at the moment, people 70 and above are still squarely in the old category.
Until I get there.
Then me and my dad bod and Deadpool T-shirt will redefine what it means to be old.