Saturday 20 August 2011

Gettin' old, man boobs and Vladimir Putin

We men like to strut our stuff once in a while. Even though we get older and start fading, we still have our moments when we like to relive our former glories, the time when other men would tremble before us and women would swoon. Yes, deep down we know that our glory years are behind us but occasionally we like to suck in our guts and stick out our chests while ignoring the mildly sarcastic "Yes dear, you've still got it". I'm not as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was.

While Vladimir Putin was barred from running for a third consecutive term as president, he did get himself set up as Prime Minister of Russia. It may not be the top but considering his influence in the political scene, it's close enough. Since then, he has been occasionally popping up in various photo ops designed to show off Fearless Leader in some manly activity: hunting, fishing, diving or practising judo, all are up for grabs as a means of portraying himself as the man in touch with his people and the man who is still a man. I have no idea how these photographs of Putin are received by the people but I am given to understand he is popular.

Recently I saw the photograph of Vlad shirtless while fishing. In light of some of the other "manly" photo ops I had seen, I took this as another opportunity to get his face into the papers as a strong political leader, yes literally strong not just politically strong. Ah, there is that psychological component of the buck squaring off against his opponents. Now while he is doing okay for a guy who's on the verge of entering the fourth quarter of life, I couldn't help noticing that he was showing some, ah, man boobs.

Everybody is different but it seems we guys have a tendency of packing our fat into our guts, our love handles and our boobs. As time goes on, we don't necessarily eat right and we don't exercise enough. As a consequence, that good old tasty fat just starts building up and it shows up in certain areas of the body. However, even if anybody does try to eat right and work out regularly, our bodies are getting older and do represent the sum total of all that living we've done.

I'm not a nut about physical fitness but I like to think I do enough to merit some sort of gold star (okay, silver star) for being in half decent shape. Then again, considering the majority of people do just about nothing at all I suppose anything I do is going to qualify me for a star of some colour or another.

I was out jogging the other week when I suddenly become aware of a movement of my body, a movement I don't think I had ever been aware of before. Continuing to run, I reached up and felt my chest. I realised I could grab a hold of a chunk of, well, flesh and that I could shake it. The movement I was feeling was my chest bouncing up and down as I was running. Suddenly, it hit me: I have man boobs. Oh my gawd, maybe this is an early stage, maybe this isn't a big deal, but yes, I am now the proud owner of what is another sign of the rest of my life.

After my run, I took a shower then standing in front of mirror, I checked out my body. I played with my chest. I grabbed my flesh. I sort of jumped up and down to see how the various parts of me jiggled. "Oh crap," I thought to myself. This isn't going to do wonders for my ego. Yes, I know I'm an old fart but do I have to have the bathroom mirror remind me of this every single friggin' day? Can't a guy get some measly delusional break once in a while?

I recently saw the film Crazy, Stupid, Love starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. (my review with the trailer) Mr. Gosling has a couple of scenes which allow him to show off a bod which is, well, ripped and I mean really ripped. This guy is in glorious shape. In one funny scene (this is in the trailer), Emma Stone gets Ryan to take off his shirt then points at him naked from the waist up while exclaiming, "Seriously? It's like you're photoshopped!"

The comedy television series Seinfeld had an episode called The Doorman which dealt with this issue of man boobs. Kramer discovers George's father Frank has some "real hooters" and thinking he may have hit upon a idea worth money, sets out to invent a bra for men. Of course comedy ensues as Kramer gets Frank to try out his new invention, the male undergarment he calls "The Bro". Frank prefers the name "The Manssiere". Whatever the name, this was just another example of the comedic gold mined by the writers of this extremely popular TV show about an everyday issue.

*sigh* Gettin' old. Boy, now there's something which sucks. I think back to that picture of Vladimir Putin out fishing someplace but parading around shirtless. Yes, we men still want to impress the ladies but is that a smile I see on their faces or a smirk?

The Thorn Birds
This 1977 bestselling novel by Colleen McCullough was turned into a television mini-series which first aired in 1983. The Thorn Birds starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward and Barbara Stanwyck and told the story of an elderly wealthy woman Mary (Stanwyck) who falls in love with a young handsome priest Ralph (Chamberlain) who is half her age. I have never forgotten a scene between the two of them when Ralph rejects Mary's advances suggesting she's too old. (Stanwyck won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series.)

Ralph: You don't love me.

Mary: I have always loved you. So much so I would have killed you for not wanting me. ... But I've found a better method.

Ralph: No, not love. I'm the goad of your old age, that's all. A reminder of what you can no longer be.

Mary: Let me tell you something Cardinal de Bricassart about old age and about that God of yours, that vengeful God who ruins our bodies and leaves us with only enough wit for regret. Inside this stupid body, I'm still young. I still feel. I still want. I still dream. And I still love you. Oh God how much.

Final Word
The movie Crazy, Stupid, Love is a story about middle age infidelity. In the trailer Ryan Gosling in talking with Steve Carell about his separation says, "Your wife cheated on you because you lost sight of who you are as a man." With age, do we men lose sight of who we are as men? Do we go down with a fight? Do we refuse to accept aging gracefully? Can we admit that maybe we're no longer as good once as we ever were?

My goodness, am I getting all serious or what? Enough of that!

I once had a job in a downtown area, the financial district. Everybody worked in offices, in big business. As a consequence, the usual style of dress was suits for guys and classy dresses with heels for the gals. Everybody looked sharp.

One day, a colleague and I, a couple of "older farts", were out on a terrace having a coffee break and were, naturally, watching the chicks go by. At one point, an unusually attractive young lady walked by and I leaned over to my friend and said in a quiet tone, "Hey Dennis. Look at that woman over there. She wants it... [pregnant pause] ... just not from us."

We both burst out laughing. Yes, just a couple of old farts with their dreams, their memories of past conquests and, oh yes, their man boobs.


Wikipedia: Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia or Gynaecomastia, is the abnormal development of large mammary glands in males resulting in breast enlargement. The term comes from the Greek γυνή gyné (stem gynaik-) meaning "woman" and μαστός mastós meaning "breast". The condition can occur physiologically in neonates (due to female hormones from the mother), in adolescence, and in the elderly (Both in adolescence and elderly it is an abnormal condition associated with disease or metabolic disorders).

Wikipedia: Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born 7 October 1952) served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia. ... Because of constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive presidential term. After the victory of his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in the 2008 presidential elections, Putin was nominated by Medvedev to be Russia's Prime Minister; Putin took the post on 8 May 2008.

Funny Or Die
50 Pictures of Vladimir Putin Looking Like a Complete Badass
Oh, I'm sorry. Were you planning on having peaceful talks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin? Yeah, go head and try your hand at diplomacy when he's SHOOTING YOU WITH A HARPOON. The guy's a total badass.

Google image search: "vladimir putin"

Wikipedia: The Doorman
"The Doorman" is the one hundred and fourth episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. This was the 18th episode for the 6th season. It aired on February 23, 1995. ... Kramer mentions how George's father has man breasts ("real hooters"), and that he may use some undergarment for support. ... [Kramer "invents" a male undergarment, a male bra.] Kramer likes to call his invention "the Bro", although Frank prefers "the Manssiere".

my blog: Movie Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love.
I liked it. This is a good film. I laughed, I cried (figuratively) and I rooted at the end for true love. The term "soul mate" seems to transcend marital infidelity and even divorce. Gee, is the end really the end or is the end merely our inability to communicate?

Wikipedia: The Thorn Birds (TV miniseries)
The Thorn Birds is a television mini-series broadcast on ABC between 27 and 30 March 1983. It starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Richard Kiley, Bryan Brown, Mare Winningham, Philip Anglim and Jean Simmons. It was directed by Daryl Duke and based on a novel by Colleen McCullough.

Set primarily on Drogheda, a fictional sheep station in the Australian outback, the story focuses on three generations of the Cleary Family and spans the years 1920 to 1962.


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BigLittleWolf said...

First, I'm delighted you pointed me to this post - and I will encourage others to come and read as well. This is fabulous on so many levels, William.

Second, I haven't seen crazy stupid love. (I'll wait until it hits cable.)

I remember seeing The Thornbirds in the 80s (I have vague recollections of seeing Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare - I was a brilliant 2-year old, obviously.) And I recall that scene with Stanwyck - which I noted more intensely when I saw the entire series again in my 40s.

How true her words are. How unaware of that possibility we are before the very first signs of age. And considering the clarity of what she says - isn't it extraordinary, really - and perhaps a gift? We are capable of retaining the vitality and passion and passionate engagement of the mind well into old age, regardless of what our bodies do. Et le cérébral - tout vient de là, n'est-ce pas?

I will point you to one other marvelous bit of dialog from a classic, with Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster. Here. (You may enjoy the Trojan aspects as well... but I point you here for the dialog between these two characters.)

Marie Franklin said...

Hi William! I know this is an old post but I just saw it from a tweet today.

I just want to say, I love boobs. Even man boobs. My man has enough flesh to be grabbed and handled like a boob and I love doing it. He loves it, too. Why not? Who says a woman's boobs have more pleasure in them than a man's? Why would they?

I think it's time we sexualize a man's boobs, too. I get tired of all the jokes about them. People should learn to appreciate different bodies. Besides, if you don't like them then shut up about it and don't play with them. Leave the playing with them to those of us who enjoy it.

My favorite show is RuPaul's Drag Race. The bigger queens always have the advantage of having actual boobs and are able to create real cleavage out of them. I love that.

The picture you showed of Putin, meh, he's barely got any. I wouldn't even call those boobs.

Gimme more than that! I wanna grab 'em, squeeze 'em, suck on 'em and more. Flesh is flesh, and boobs are boobs.