I recently discovered that it was time to update my look. I was excited to learn that I should be striving to be a spornosexual. I have been somewhat lost ever since Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was cancelled. I relied on the guys to teach me how to dress and groom myself. Now I have found out that I can step it up a notch. All I needed to do is burn off all of my body fat, spend a bit of time in the gym so that I could get ripped and remove all of my body hair.
Now I didn’t really have the time or money to get the professional assistance that could have helped me achieve my goals so I figured out a few spornosexual hacks to get it all done.
So my first step was to take an honest inventory of what I am starting with. I have to admit, my body wasn’t so lean. It was definitely not hairless – so far these extra layers of fat and hair had been assets for me in the winter since it gets pretty chilly around here this time of year. I was, however willing to sacrifice this additional warmth in order to achieve my objective. I have three kids and spend a lot of time lifting them and their stuff so I knew that I wouldn’t have to do much weightlifting work once I removed the protective layers. Mostly tweaking here and there to improve muscle definition.
Here is my before picture
My first step was to regulate my diet and cut out all of that stolen candy from my kids – It was starting to get stale anyway.
Then I had to deal with all the hair covering most of my body – except of course for my ever expanding forehead… I haven’t tried waxing before and from what I had read, it works well and leaves your skin all smooth without having to worry about stubble for a while. So I got out our collection of tea lights and half used candles and put them to work.
I have to say, I don’t recommend this waxing thing. First of all it takes forever to cover your body in wax one drip at a time. Secondly the hot, melted wax kinda hurts when it hits your skin and it also kinda hurts when you pull it off. Shaving is way better.
Then of course I did have to put in some effort at the gym. I went every day (for a while last year) and worked hard (about 30 minutes a day). Everyday I could feel the burn and everyday it was hard to drag my body out of bed. Beds are nice and cozy. Gyms are not as cozy.
In the end, I achieved miraculous results. I stood up straighter, twisted my body a bit and sucked in my gut and look at how I look now.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I, like many men and women, have body image issues. I have generally learned to live with what I have. I don’t really have the time to commit to the kind of work my body would require to achieve Spornosexual status. I’ll just have to live with what I’ve got…
The reality is that many men fall into this trap of hyper-masculinity. Not unlike women and girls who are exposed to unrealistic images of women, men and boys are also increasingly subjected to unrealistic images of men. For most men it takes a great deal of work and focus to achieve the muscular bodies we are shown in ads and other visual media. For some men this focus on body can result in body dysmorphia, and many associated unhealthy and dangerous habits and activities.
I don’t have sons that I can help to educate about the impact that this whole spornosexual/metrosexual idea can have on us. I can’t point out the messages embedded in advertising and hollywood about the idealized version of maleness that they present and how it serves to reinforce the box we are trained to live in from birth. We as boys and men learn to be strong, mentally and physically, fight against any suggestions that we are less than a red-blooded (what does that even mean?) heterosexual male. We are taught to be homophobic and mock anyone who shows weakness. We are taught to hide our emotions and be stoic. We learn that real men are muscular heroes who can handle it on their own – although perhaps with a sidekick as a comedic foil.
None of this version of masculinity is real. It is a myth made up by society and advertisers.Click To Tweet The problem is that we take the myth seriously and we try to live up to it. Of course the same is true for the mythical ideal woman presented to us through media. We create and perpetuate these gender stereotypes and constructs and we can break them down. I don’t have sons, but I do have daughters and I can teach them about these constructs. I can deconstruct the media representation of men and women – I didn’t study communications for nothing – and help them to see through what we are sold every day. As parents we can help our kids to figure out who they are and decide what kind of woman/man they want to be. We can help them understand that they don’t need to try to fit into some ridiculous media construct like spornosexuality. I can also help my daughters to understand that like women, men are also subject to the impact of unrealistic and often unattainable representations of gender.
We all have days where we wished we looked different or somehow better – whatever that means. It is helpful to remind ourselves on those days that even the people in the ads and movies who look how we think we should look, don’t really look that way (without a lot of help or editing) either and if they do, they have often suffered mightily to get there.
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