Monday, January 17, 2011

You're Better Looking Than They Give You Credit For

The voiceover playing during the “before” shot of a woman with a nice butt in an ill-fitting bathing suit says that with Hydroxy-cut, women can have the hips of a ten-year-old boy in just four to six weeks (the “after” shot is hot, if you like young boys).  A guy and a girl wearing the bare minimum of black spandex with abs I could bounce quarters off tell me that with Bowflex just ten minutes a day, I’ll see results in only six weeks.  A fairy-tale princess with Tori Amos hair and freckles tells me that if I want my nasty, yellow teeth to glow like hers, it’ll take whitening strips.  A stunningly gorgeous young brunette in a business suit says if I have a painful yeast infection slowing me down, I should do what she did and get Monostat-7.  A tall, thin, impossibly gorgeous black girl tells me that if I want skin like hers, all I need to do is scrub my face twice a day with some foamy stuff that looks like cottage cheese.  

Then there’s the celebrity group assault.  Brook Shields, Jessica Simpson, Vanessa Williams, and P. Diddy all let me know that they used to have faces like a DiGiorno frozen pizza before they started the exclusive three-step system of Buy This Product Now Before You Turn Into A Leper.  Now, people come up to them all the time and accuse them of drinking baby blood to stay young.  

Even if your problem (which is always physical, and therefore easily fixable with the right purchase) has nothing to do with age or weight, the person trying to sell it to you is young, thin, or young and thin.  Whatever’s wrong with you that three easy payments of $29.95 will fix, there’s two underlying messages throughout; you’re too old, and you’re too fat.

Nacho Man is history, and don’t tell me about the satellite TV guy- the Michelin Man is a pile of tires and it somehow went on a diet.  The Pillsbury Dough Boy lost weight and he’s a dough boy.  Not only did the Kool-Aid pitcher lose weight, its arms got thicker.  How does a pitcher get buff?  IT’S A FUCKING PITCHER.  

Maybe I am too old.  The Brook Shields telling me my acne problem makes me John Merrick?  She’s not the nothing comes between me and my Calvins hot girl I grew up with, she's a thing with no baby fat or eyebrows, a latex mask stretched over good bone structure.  Who knows what a beautiful woman she might have been, if she wasn't so obsessed with looking young.  Vanessa Williams?  Same thing.  She may still be hot, but there’s a desperation to her, a need to look not just younger than she is, which she already does, but to really look science fiction younger than she is, which she doesn’t.  What she looks like is inhuman.  That's what they all look like, and we're so used looking at these flesh masks that we barely notice.  

Who's next?  What will Jessica Simpson look like when she’s forty-something, being tortured by pictures of herself in Daisy Dukes for longer than she’s currently been on the planet?  Will she grow old gracefully, or become another plastic person? 

The joy is the meltdown.  Buy so many copies of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album that the sales record will probably never be equaled despite the increasing population, then sit back and watch him carve himself up.
What do I want?  Health, which includes a positive self-image.  It doesn’t include a nineteen-year-old kid I work with who walks around with one of those little wrist-flexers to build up his forearms.  From the waist up he has the body of a Greek God.  Meanwhile, his calves are boney and he smokes a pack a day to keep food intake from covering his ten-pack stomach.  That’s not health.  

Me wishing I had his body is not healthy, either, but that's another story.   
I’d also like the media to stop portraying eating as an activity, because it isn’t.  “Don’t just sit there and watch TV,” these commercials scream, “EAT SOMETHING!”  That’s why you never see people just sitting in a McDonald’s in their commercials any more.  Sedentary is bad because it leads to fat; the food has nothing to do with it.  People are dancing and leaping while stuffing their faces with Big Macs and french fries.  “See?" these commercials scream, "McDonald’s isn’t something that barely qualifies as food, it’s ROCKING YOUR BODY, BABY!”  
Finally, it would be nice for plastic surgery (including Botox and whatever other crazy nanobytes or microbiotics they come up with in the future [because We're Science]) to stop.  A bomb blew your face off?  Fine, get a new face.  You've got a new movie coming out and you need to look like you did twenty years ago?  You don't, you won't, and my daughter's self-esteem matters more than how your face looks in Hi-Def, so deal.  The way advertising plays on our insecurities sucks, but these body modifications are a plague.  I've seen where it leads, and it's not pretty.  
There's a lot more we could do, but let's start with these three and see what happens.        


  1. It's the women I feel sorry for.......

    On top of all the problems and pressures you describe here they seem to suffer from permanent bloating that can only be resolved by eating mounds of yogurt or pro-biotic drinks and they must never, NEVER go out without taking a handbag stuffed with those discrete little incontinence pads for those inconvenient little moments they all {?} have. And if you haven't bought that wrinkle cream with pro-retinol A or poly-penta-peptides then your face may slide right onto your chest during that dinner date with the hunky guy you want to impress. Not that he'll notice over the sound of you farting and the smell of pee mind you.

    And what about marketing? Did you see how those swines tried to double their shampoo profits by printing 'now repeat' on the instructions on how to use their products. Very sneaky.

    We have those terminator/stick insect combinations over here too. Guys who work out too much but need a full length job instead of only looking in bathroom mirrors.

    Aaron - congratulations you've successfully got me wound up this morning.

    Yeah, thanks a pant-load for that buster!!!


    nice one.

    But if your thinking about this you're really getting old my friend.

    p.s. Keep trimming that nasal hair!

    Don't forget the ear hairs too!

  2. A woman's body has a natural response to puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and her period: gaining weight. Now let's make that a disease. While we're at it, let's make aging a disease.

    I can't deny that men have it easier on this one, no matter how much nose hair we need to trim.

    And it's not just me getting older, it's television getting stupider. When you see something every day, you don't notice the subtle shifts. I watch TV on DVD, so when I do catch it... well, I have no defense. I stare at it like primitive man looking at fire. But also, I see how much more ridiculous it's gotten since my last viewing.

    Okay, okay - I'm getting old. But relative to a mountain, I've barely started.