by NOAH BRAND
Warning: Some of the below images are NSFW (not safe for work)
My body is a testament to high testosterone. I have a body type one sees a lot: male pattern baldness, plenty of body hair, builds both muscle and fat very easily. You see guys like me all the time, with our wide shoulders and wider beer guts. Burly sonsabitches, often rocking the shaved-head-and-beard combo. It is not, it’s fair to say, a body type that is highly lauded by media culture.
I didn’t always look like this. When I was a teenager, I was so skinny I won awards for dressing as Jack Skellington, which sounds like a joke and isn’t. When I was twenty, I dressed as Nightwing for a costume contest, and the woman MCing the show called me “the reason spandex was invented.”
That was a long time ago.
Nowadays, I’m technically considered obese.
BMI is one of those measurements like IQ. You can know perfectly well that it’s a bullshit metric based on a whole bunch of flawed assumptions, but you still want to know your number. And once you know it, you can’t get away from it. Mine is just over the line where “overweight” turns into “obese”. It’s hard to come out and say that, hard to admit to being one of the people our culture loves to shame and deride as weak and disgusting and horrible. But ya know what, I’ve tried the easy stuff and it hasn’t worked worth a damn, so I’m going to plan B.
I will not get into the things I’ve done out of self-hatred and shame and fear over the past decade or two. I will not repeat the deflections and lies I’ve said to women who’ve told me my body is sexy. You either know most of them already, or you don’t.