Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Politics of Shirt Tucking

There are pretty much three types of guys in the world:

There are skinny guys, who generally are either on heroin or still dating. There are fat guys, who really can't do anything about being fat. Like my buddy Roast Beef - he's a big guy, but I wouldn't ever want him to lose weight, because he is who he is.

Then there are the denialists. These are the guys who were probably athletic and skinny at one time, and can't believe what's been happening to their midsections. They may still think they're athletic, but the last grand slam they witnessed in person was at Denny's at 3 AM.

The denialists have a few choices when getting dressed for work in the morning. Obviously, their first option would be to wear a shirt that you don't have to tuck in. Unfortunately, those jobs are all taken by people who still eat at Denny's at 3 AM.

The second option is the defiant option: Tuck your shirt in as tightly as possible, and show off that belly. This option has some significant benefits - you can wear clothes that fit you correctly, and people can see that you're comfortable with yourself. The downside, however, is that you may attract crowds of children thinking you are Grimace.

The third option is where it gets tricky. This is for the guys that think they can fool people into thinking they're not gaining weight. This is the time-tested "leave as much slack around the midsection of the shirt" strategy to try to fool people into thinking that the extra bulge there is actually fabric and not chimichangas. This is for fat guys who are "out of the closet," but don't realize it yet.

This is a high-risk strategy. While you may think you are fooling people, you also may look like you're wearing a circus tent. You have to buy shirts that are too big to even out the puffiness. You stand in front of the mirror emulating various poses that might arise during the day, and how your abdominal structure might hold up. "Here's me lifting a cup of coffee. Here's me surfing the internet. Here's me trying to get my coworkers fired," etc. Getting just the right amount of bulge there may be accompanied by a finger poke to the belly button, just so you can secretly know how much of that protrusion is actually you.

Option four is for experienced dressers only. It's the "I'm going to hike my pants up to my nipples" look favored at VFWs and municipal golf courses. This is not recommended for any of you at home. Or anywhere, for that matter. That means you, Dad.

As for me, I try to draw as much attention away from my gut as possible, which is why I refuse to wear pants in public. Nobody will notice you're putting on weight, but it gets kind of hard to find a seat at Applebee's.

Then again, there's always exercise. Yeah, right.