So my first random thought:
I had to get measured for some new suits recently which got me thinking about body image. Working as a PT for a few years followed by a job in marketing meant I didn’t have much need for them, but having climbed the corporate ladder a little further lately has meant I need some new ones. I went to a fairly inexpensive suit shop; not like a proper Italian tailor-type place, just a place where you spend like £150 and get the full thing. I haven’t yet climbed the ladder to the point where I need to be wearing tailored, designer numbers.
Because it’s not a fancy place, they just give you a quick measurement around the waist and grab a few things of the rack which you try on and then they fuck around with to get them fitting properly. He measures me and hands me like 3 different suits, and not a single one of them fits. All waaaay too tight in the shoulder, chest and arms. Couldn’t even get one of them on, so the dude’s like “you’ll need to get a bigger size because you’re so broad shouldered.”
And that is where the difference in bodybuilder self-image compared to “normal” person self-image becomes apparent. I do not have broad shoulders; I have the smallest bone structure of any human you have ever seen (but yet a weirdly big head; doesn’t make any sense at all). If I was to post how small my hands and wrists are people would be like “pic!” because they wouldn’t believe it.
So I don’t have broad shoulders in the sense that the distance between my clavicles is wider than average because it’s really not (quite the opposite), but only a bodybuilder thinks about shit like that. This guy just looks at my shoulders and thinks “this guy’s got broad shoulders.” He’s not thinking “hmmm well this guy’s an ectomorph with the classic narrow clavicles but he managed to add enough muscle to his pecs, delts, traps and upper arms and keep his waist small enough to give the illusion of wider shoulders.”
And why would he think that? It’s weird. But you know what’s weirder? Me thinking he’s wrong! When he tells me I’ve got broad shoulders I’m thinking to myself “pfft this dude’s a moron. Doesn’t even realise that I’ve got tiny clavicles” but for all intents and purposes, my shoulders ARE broad! The distance from one shoulder to the other is greater than that of the average for people with my waist measurement, so by that logic my shoulders are broad. Doesn’t matter if it’s from the length of my clavicles, the size of my lateral delts or a conjoined twin on each shoulder that comes alive to murder people at night.
A similar thing happened when I was out for lunch with some friends of mine. One of my pals mentioned I had a “big frame” which, although I didn’t say anything to her about it, made me scoff internally like “jeez my frame is minuscule but I’ve added a bit of muscle so it looks like it’s big. This chick doesn’t know what she’s talking about” and I tell myself that she’s only saying I’ve got a big frame because she didn’t know me when I was 130lbs, so to her I’ve always been big.
But that’s a stupid thought too! Even if she had, as if she would care enough about the semantics of the phrase “big frame” to make the distinction anyway! No one on Earth would ever care about such a distinction except a bodybuilder.
But we live for those comments, as bodybuilders. Those random comments that come from acquaintances or people we’ve not seen for a while. Go to a wedding and meet an old colleague from years ago and they’re like “dude you look way bigger” or you’re in a club and some drunk chick squeezes your arm. We all love those little moments of validation.
Don’t get me wrong - I’ve never been body-conscious, even when I was skinny. I’ve never been shy and always had a sense of humour so I could get girls even looking like I’d been on hunger strike, and I was never picked on or anything like that at school so I’ve always had a positive self image. It just amazes me that my own perception hasn’t kept pace at all with how my body’s changed. I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll see a guy who clearly works out and I’ll think to myself “dude looks good; must be cool to be as jacked as that” and then I’ll catch my own reflection and see I’m way bigger!
Is that ever going to change? Will I ever feel 200lbs?
I dunno. Man, that was a long post. My girlfriend’s gone to bed early so without the prospect of having sex tonight I’ve settled for some serious verbal masturbation.
Congrats to anyone who read all that…