By David High
I grew up in an era (the Pleistocene Era) when people kept their muscles discreetly out of sight. What I want to know is why is it important to have the visual body muscles that are so popular today. Nothing seems to be discreet or left to the imagination anymore (see Rihanna, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga). I’m not saying my generation wasn’t in shape; I’m just saying we had a different idea of what the shape should be.
A perfect example of a hunk prototype male back then was somebody along the lines of George Reeves, the star of Superman, who played the role of mild-mannered newspaper reporter Clark Kent. Nobody suspected Clark Kent of being Superman because, first of all, he didn’t have bulging muscles, but mostly because he disguised himself by wearing glasses. It is a well-known fact that if you put on glasses even your closest friends will not recognize you. That is why despite many eerie similarities Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Springer are actually the same person.
Superman who was faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive did not have visible muscles. To be truthful about it, he didn’t have any muscle definition at all. He pretty much looked like an average guy, who had spent his share of time around the guacamole dip, dressed up in Superman costume made from his pajamas. From certain angles he looked like he weighed more than a locomotive.
Superman would arrive on the crime scene and knock down a balsa wood door to find the criminals dressed in suits, (there was a better-dressed class of criminals in those days) who would immediately exclaim "Oh no it’s SUPERMAN!"
This was the cue for Superman to put his hands on his hips so the criminals could shoot their guns at his chest, an effort that always caused Superman to smirk annoyingly knowing that the criminals were shooting blanks. Then Superman would grab the scruffy faced criminals by the collar and turn them over to the police, who were always played by Irish character actors in the late fifties. Then Superman would fly in a horizontal position head first back to his hidden fortress in the Arctic Circle. Side question: Would Superman’s fans be less impressed if he had flown in a sitting position, like an airline passenger, reading a newspaper and eating an in flight snack.
My point is, what was my point? Oh yes, in my era strong men such as Superman and Tarzan didn’t need to show off visible muscle definition. But now, all of a sudden everybody is supposed to have rippling muscles and six-pack abs. Turn on your television and if you don’t see a commercial with Flo advertising the Progressive Insurance Company, you’ll see the muscle machine people selling Abdominal machines, Bicep machines, Thigh machines and Buns machines. When they’ve made all the money they can from these exercise machines what will they try to sell next? Will there come a time when they’re going to announce that we all need to build up our forehead muscles? Will we turn on the TV and see commercials for the
Forehead-A-Cizer featuring Neanderthal Arnold Swartzenegger looking even more like the Missing Link than he normally does, demonstrating the advantages of the new exercise machine. Are we going to fall for that too?
Or are we going to draw the line somewhere? Think about it.
And while you’re thinking, pass the chips and guacamole dip.