Monthly Archives: June 2014

Boxers or Briefs?

I remember when I was much younger, I always looked at the underwear models in the Sears catalog. Male and female. In that order. They never looked uncomfortable in their skin with hand on hip one foot in front of the other on a bland background set. Maybe that was the attraction? Maybe not. I used to strain my young eyes to see if I could spot a nipple poking through a bra or spy a penile “shadow” that was foolishly missed by an hurried editor. There actually was one edition that supposedly had a well built white gentleman in boxer shorts who apparently was um… outside the box. I found the “offending photo” and chalked it up to some sort of weird misprint.

Back then there were perhaps a page or two of women in white bras and panties. Occasionally a cream and a black set would stand out. The men’s underwear page had “tighty whities” and boxers only. The models were also very pale. Never ethnic.

It’s different today.

Underwear comes in 2 inch thick catalogues now. Mailed in public with no brown paper wrap and coupons. Pages upon pages of color-filled, fun-loving, gorgeous models in every conceivable pose with little left to the imagination. I’ve even seen full on interracial families sitting around campfires, playing volleyball, having picnics in their underwear while grilling meat. Women in the Victorias Secret Catalog (was there ever really a secret?) in heaven inspired winged poses strutting through pages as if to dare me to think them not Godly with a chartreuse thong shoved into their crack. Men in “International Male” flaunting “undergear” with packages wider than tall. When did it become gear?

Why so angry?

Underwear models for the most part, always seem a little pouty to me. It’s as if they are thinking to themselves, “I have this flawless body, and I HAVE to share it with you so that I can make that car payment on my BMW M4 Convertible this month. Sigh. I’m bored.” Sometimes they look angry as well. Maybe they’re hungry.

The man in the mirror.

Sometimes I look in the mirror by accident and see myself in my glam Fruit of the Loom underwear. It’s usually a passing glance in a rush to put a smoothie in the blender while I search madly for a matching pair of socks. Not so taught, a little too pasty, and still trying to figure out where these age spots are coming from.

I think I need a catalog of my own. Something that I can relate to. Something real. Perhaps a page or two of tanned middle aged folks sitting at a swim up bar sipping margaritas in tasteful, practical undergarments. Maybe there IS a catalogue or a web site dedicated to my body and age type? I looked (googled, not ogled).

This is what I got:

Underwear of the Middle-Ages
Underwear with built in diapers
“Male-enhancement” garments
Wife swapping for men over 50

Sigh. Maybe I’ll just go commando.

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Less is more. More or less.

So yeah… I’ve been fairly consistent in my personal weight loss plan, or as I lovingly refer to it – “my healthy friggin’ lifestyle change.” It hasn’t been too difficult really. Two steady months of treadmill treading, park-walking while dodging bees and dog crap, and mindful (is cardboard a gmo?) caloric menu planning. I’ve lost 20 pounds. I didn’t think I was THAT out of shape (in all fairness, a pear is a shape). Im thrilled. I’m happy that I can once again tie my shoes in straight-on knots without some sort of convoluted out-of-breath body twisting. I can also now cut my toenails in the shapes they are meant to be in so that they don’t slice Daryl in the middle of the night, and most importantly… I can now see my d*ck when I pee.

I believe the first few months of any self imposed habit change are easy really. Daryl and I quit smoking several years ago, and neither of us lost an arm, a temper, or any friends that we like for that matter. We have it in us. Scheduling, determination, and willpower come easily to get initial results. It’s the continuing on and maintaining that evolution in the long term that separates the wheat from the chaff, the peanut butter from the jelly, the boys from the men.

Day 76 and counting…

Yesterday morning as he was hurrying out the door for work, Daryl says to me (in reality, he always seems to phrase it more like a thrown out jeopardy question,) “we ARE supposed to go to the gym tonight, right?” Now this gives me so many options out at this point. I can answer with, “Well, no. I’m too tired. I didn’t really sleep well last night. I kept having nightmares that I was actually eating clowns (cannibal or craving carvel cake? You decide.) which were holding odd-shaped colored balloon animals that were clashing with the clowns shoes.” That would have been reason enough, or I could have told him that I wasn’t up for it because I was depressed that my prescription for my anti-depressants had expired and exercising just wasn’t on my bucket list today. Or better yet, I can confuse him with one of my personal schedules that use words like conflict, house cleaning, or that I have to find a certain spice for a new recipe I’m researching and I won’t have time to go to the gym. I like to make up spice names to throw him off track. Who doesn’t need to have cardomomgerania?

Apparently he thinks I didn’t hear him the first time, so he repeats the question while muttering something about being late. I sheepishly answered, “Sure, I’ll look forward to it” with all the enthusiasm I can muster after one sip of coffee. I’m thinking that I could always feign I wasn’t awake enough to make rational choices at that time of day.

Work gets in the way.

Work was slow today. I had three customers all day. Its Tuesday. It’s summer. It’s graduations, vacations, and the implosion of Delaware interstate 495. People just aren’t into furniture buying right now. I get it. I’ve been doing this commissioned job long enough to know it comes in cycles. What I wasn’t prepared for was that at the end of my long shift, I felt the need to reward Daryl and I for our healthy lifestyle determination. To hell with earning a paycheck today! To hell with healthy living! Let’s go shopping! For me. For clothes that aren’t baggy and a smaller belt.

I could hardly wait to text Daryl that I had opted out of exercise in favor of vodka drinks and Tuscan fries at one of our favorite watering holes outside of Media. That in-depth highly paraphrased “textversation” went sort of like this:

Ed: “Hey babe! Let’s not go to the gym tonight. Let’s go have drinks and food at LaPorta and then let’s go clothes shopping at Penneys at Granite Run Mall.
Daryl: “ok”
Ed: “That’s it? That easily you want to drop the gym for vodka and a few snacks? You have no willpower at all do you? Why do I even try?”
Daryl: “Is this a test again?”
Ed: “What? Whatever are you talking about? (damn, he knows)”
Daryl: “In that case, I’m thrilled that you decided that we could forgo healthy living to go shopping at Penneys with my Associate discount card. I love it when you make all of our decisions! (All sort of condescending emoticons with kissing hearts and grinning teeth… Blah blah blah)”

Shopping requires stamina. Relationships require stamina. And vodka.

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No-Judgement Zone and the Gazelle

I understand the “No-Judgement Zone” at my gym, really I do. It’s one of the reasons Daryl and I joined in the first place two months ago. We evaluated three gyms initially. We wanted something cheap, close to home, 24-hours, and no frills. After checking out a few in our area (by checking out, I mean me requesting to evaluate the locker rooms for cleanliness and to see if any hot guys were in the showers. HUGE setback for gay men in sports. Some say pervert… I say shallow. Potato, potahto), we settled on Planet Fitness.

So last night I went solo. Daryl was struggling with allergies. He gets them really bad this time of year and he let me know in no uncertain terms that he was not going to be cleaning post nasal drip from the handles of the elliptical. I told him that if there was no diarrhea or blood oozing from an orifice, that he was just rationalizing. I told him I’d be back in an hour unless I got checked out by a hot guy in the free weight section. Daryl answered, “just make sure to take plenty of pictures. Of HIM.” I mumbled “ass” to myself and to Daryl as I shut the door.

I don’t get complicated at the gym.

I choose a treadmill that is in front of an HGTV channel, and I get my heart rate up to about 150-160, and I go with my deep house music on my iphone, and I’m good for one hour. I’ll burn about 700 calories and I figure that’s more than enough to cover my glass of wine while cooking a healthy dinner later. There must be over 50 treadmills in the warehouse-like building, and I have never had to be next to another person while on them. Even at the busiest time of day, I usually get a workout in without someone running next to me.

Until tonight.

About halfway into my routine, a young, sprite, color coordinated, blonde pony-tailed athlete hops onto the treadmill to my left. Now mind you, there are 11 empty treadmills to my right, but she leaps onto this one next to me. No problem, right? She does several leg stretches on the treadmill into positions that I’m sure make her popular with the men (and 10% of the women) at work. She pops her outfit-matching earbuds into her head, as she begins to warm up slow. (How’s that no-judgement thing working out for you, Ed?)

I continue on my jaunt a little more aggressively, as if trying to show this youngster I mean business on my quest to shed this middle-age gut while turning up the volume on Henrik Schwarz’s “From the Inside.” I’m totally in my zone when suddenly my treadmill begins to vibrate violently. My balance askew, I watched in horror as my draped gym towel tumbles to the black floor almost tripping me and it feels as though there is an earthquake in the gym.

Slightly unbalanced, I glanced next to me as Miss Exercise 2014 has suddenly sprinted into a gazelle position. Seriously, the girl is literally hopping into the air on the treadmill like a freaking gazelle in flight on the plains of Africa! Her hands have even assumed the primitive position like she’s carrying a purse of poo.

I didn’t know what to do.

I honestly didn’t know how to approach this. She was looking straight ahead while thrusting into the air with some Justin Bieber soundtrack I’m sure, with no regard to the crumbling of my fat burning program next to her. I thought of tapping her and shooting her a “can you be more considerate” look, but I didn’t want to get accused of molestation, so I continued, figuring she would tire of this leaping madness soon.

No such luck.

After a few more struggling minutes of me holding onto my treadmill in an unsuccessful attempt at trying to maintain some sense of balance, I shot her a look of disappointment (which I think came off more like a creepy leer), I pounded the “stop” button on my machine figuring that might make her hang her head in shame. She continued on as if a lion was nipping at her heels.

I stormed off my treadmill taking my towel and bottled water with me. I decided that I would switch to the treadmill in front of her to finish my routine, thinking she would get the hint that she was being inconsiderate and childish in her moment of fitness mania. I smiled smugly knowing that she was behind me now… out of sight, feeling shame at the fact that a fellow gym person had to move because of her “style” of running.

I was wrong.

As I began to finish my own hour of sweat-inducing fun, I pondered that perhaps I would approach her before I left. I would practice my communication skills with a polite conversation about possibly thinking of selecting a treadmill away from others if “you’re going to leap into the air like that.” I thought I could even approach her with some tips on how to be more considerate with others around. You know, some mature advice on the ins and outs of gym etiquette.

Unfortunately, when I turned around, she was gone. Looks like I’ll have to save my gym judgements for the next time.

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