Sunday, September 19, 2010


"The way to a man's heart."

Some say that it would be through the stomach! Yes -- that would work with me! I don't think there's anything more attractive than to be invited over to spend a quiet night with a potential suitor and instead of whipping out the obvious (y'know what I'm talking about), they open up the kitchen, take out the cutting board, and flick on the burner! Your mama did something right!

When we live in a culture that nearly starves itself in pursuit of ideal physical perfection, spend hours a week pumping iron and running like a hamster on a treadmill, as I'm maturing (translate to: getting older) I'm swiftly becoming a lot more confident in my own skin -- that's not to say that I'm letting myself go. I'm just admitting that the six-pack abs just aren't that important to me. They are rather nice to look at and lay my hands on, but I don't need them. I like to eat cake!

It's certainly a contingent issue between myself and my trainer Greg Mills ( I recently returned to the the physical training aspect of my gym experience. Greg offered and I took him up on the suggestion to condition my body and increase my strength. In order to achieve that we meet 3 times a week at his gym of residency Steel Gym ( one do the city's most popular and serious body building the heart of Chelsea! After getting over the initial mental shock-and-awe that I don't look like most of the guys that work out at this facility -- I'm 5'9" 175 lbs. and although in pretty decent shape I can't wrestle an ox or carry a piano on my shoulders. In fact: I don't really have big shoulders! Walking into this gym had me emotionally revisiting the emotional state I was in when I first started working out seriously at the age of 17.

I was a very skinny kid. I was about 120 lbs. at that age and growing up in South Florida, I used to wear sweaters (that's right sweaters) all year round in order to hide my lean, lanky arms. I wore my first short-sleeve tee shirt a year later in my senior year in high school, but I hungrily attacked my gym experience as a youth and my body quickly began to show results. Skinny no more, I was suddenly beset with the body dysmorphia that affects so many people especially who suffer from self-esteem or poor body image.

I'm now in my 30's and I still look in the mirror and see that skinny 14 year-old. The only difference now is that every now and then I get a glimpse of the the 180 lbs. guy that I've become most recently, but I still eat cake! I've never felt that need to fit in with the pack -- and from my experience, they don't seem to mind the physicality of my being that I have to offer. Balance it all out with a healthy lifestyle and good eating know what: you can indulge yourself every so often!

So yes -- cut to 20 years later and I'm still hitting the gym. Not because I'm a gay man and that's what we's become a part of my conscious and a part of my social experience. I don't think I'll ever get rid of the skinny 14 year-old that I see when I look in the mirror, but at least the reflection of myself isn't as difficult to bear because the honest truth is that I let myself without cause or pause work at improving my physical appearance without the servitude to the culture that demands I fit into some ideal image of perfection.

We are after all always a work in progress -- and fortunately there is always material available to mold yourself into whatever you want to be. Just keep it away from my lower back fat and hips -- yes, I know -- men shouldn't have hips, but as we get older what do you call that area besides "The Cuban Curse". Everything is moderation is good. So eat cake -- you can work it off tomorrow!

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