Mr Manorexia

If you guys have been following the progress of my driving lessons, you’d know that I get a different instructor every lesson. I’ve met gentle ones, distracted ones, one who refused to let go of the steering wheel even though I’m the one who is meant to drive; fortunately, mostly nice ones.

Today, I met Mr Manorexia.

Before I begin, let me just state that Z is a good teacher. He was in charge of taking me through the S and Crank Courses, and he did so by demonstrating each course just once, then talking me through them a couple of times. After that, he allowed me to have my turn, and when I made mistakes he’d stop and ask me questions – helping me reflect as I go. He gave advice and encouragement when necessary. We had a lot of fun chatting about everything under the sun. I enjoyed my session.

Z is also a  good looking guy, and he knows it. You can see it in his posture, in his walk, in his talk. He has a polished haircut without looking too fancy – no excessive styling, no Korean boyband frills. He has a good physique. And he has beautiful hands – clean nails, perfectly cut and filed, no split cuticles in sight almost as if he’d just had a manicure. He knows it, but he he isn’t cocky about it.

So. All good. All good… until he hit me with his one liner in the circuit.

While I was busy S-in’ and Crank-in’ away, doin’ ma turns like a pro, feelin’ like a right baws; Z sighed dramatically and announced, “I’m fat.”

I already looked severely grim from having to check the position of my car using all these mirrors and windows. His statement layered on a squint/frown (sqrown?) which turned me into a pug suffering from manic depression.

“I’m fat, right?”

Oh. He wanted a response. “No. Are you mad?”

“But I ammmm…”

“Okay. You are.”

“See… You think so too.”

“Oh my god, you’re such a girrrlll…”

“Noooo. I’m really fat lah…”

When faced with losing battles like these, I did the only thing I knew how to. I turned into a man.

“…”

I found the role reversal awkward yet completely hilarious all at once.

Z didn’t look like the sort of man who’ll need reassuring. Yet at the same time, I did not get the feeling that he was fishing for compliments. I honestly think he was really just having a ‘girrrlfriend’ moment and seeking an unbiased opinion.

I ran through the options with him. We talked about our exercise regime. Z does marathons. I never run more than 5 kilometres. He trains regularly. I skip my trainings regularly. All in all, I’d very safely say he is in much better shape.

Then, Z told me he once tipped the scale at a hefty 100kg. He’d trimmed off almost half that weight, and he is looking to lose another 10kg.

“ANOTHER 10kg?! That will make you my weight!”

“Yah…Your weight is good!”

By then, I didn’t know if I should take a sharp blade and saw off a significant portion of my own thighs, or stab him repeatedly. But I’ve decided that I liked him enough to let him live another day. Besides, I know how hard it is to be the fatty in the family. You outgrow that awkward phase, but that pudgy, overweight kid will always be there. Z was just expressing a very real discomfort, and not actually ill.

As I did my grocery shopping after the lesson, I found myself confused. Should I be comforted by the fact that it was not just my girlfriends who do this whiny ‘I’m fat’ nonsense, and that the boys are also prone to irrational behaviour? Or should I be very, very worried that more and more people are buying into the whole ‘You have to be skinny before you can be beautiful’ poppycock?

Truth be told, I’m okay when my girlfriends whose thighs are the size of my arms complain they are fat; or when my boypals get upset when they’ve ‘lost their definition’. Hell, those complaints aren’t even gender specific anymore. These people seem to have traded their insecurities back and forth in case they get old. But that’s their prerogative, and I put up with it because no one should be denied a few pet insecurities – I have my own that my friends put up with.

What I am uncomfortable with is when they pull me into their insecurities and say things like ‘You! You are sooooo skiinnnyyy.’ when I’m obviously way bigger/heavier than they are. That doesn’t make me feel good. It makes me feel extremely awkward. So awkward I contemplate shrink-wrapping my thighs with clingfilm till they turn blue, and hopefully skinny.

Karl Lagerfeld recently kicked up a huge fuss when he called Adele ‘a little too fat‘, and Adele responded in her usual class (and sass), ‘I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.

I think what she has done is embraced herself despite having, like all of us, her own insecurities. Her success and popularity has not, and should not come as a by-product of her weight, and I’m definitely with her on that.

And to the local blogger who has recently gone on a scary rampage on Adele. Erm. Miss… Firstly, calmmm downnn. Secondly, Adele did not say she didn’t wanna be on magazines, she just didn’t aspire to look like Karl’s idea of models that make it to magazine covers. Was Adele speaking for all womenkind who are insecure about their bodies and trying to be a heroine? Maybe, maybe not. What we can be certain of, is she is defending herself. And thank goodness she did appear on Vogue – which shows that magazine trends have taken another turn again. If editors of mass media haven’t evolved, we can all forget about having black/latin/asian/plus-size models/celebrities on magazine covers.

So what’s my point? Love your shape. Feel free to complain about it if you are unhappy about it, but work on it while you complain… otherwise, you’ll never be happy.

And finally, whatever shape you aspire to be… Just make sure your aspirations don’t kill you.

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