There have been many signs of the apocalypse as of late. We have a war in the birthplace of the Lord as was foretold in The Omen III, Global Warming is causing sheep to shrink as mentioned in Ecclesiastes, and the oil spill in the Gulf is either the “behemoth of blackness” from Revelation 1:1 or the “sea of death” from Enoch, i.1, 2; x.2ff. However, none of these divine messages hammer us over the head as thoroughly as the prevalence of swim shirts.
How did we get here? A movie poster for the summer blockbuster Grown Ups unapologetically shows five beer-drinking dads enjoying a water slide while covering their breasts. A father used to be the head of the household and 100% of his existence revolved around making sure his wife and kids had a roof over their heads. Today he’s one of the providers and he”d like to keep the ball rolling but if they lose the house, they lose the house. The market’s a bitch. Besides, he has other stuff to worry about. Like what if strangers notice his middle-aged body doesn”t look as taut as it did when he was 18? This used to be the stuff of anorexics. Now the guy, “Wait til your Father gets home” is based on is so ashamed of his imperfect body, he goes swimming with his clothes on.
Now, I”ve heard some experts like my father-in-law (who also practices this bizarre ritual despite his 62 years of age) claim it’s to protect against sunburn. He can stick that theory where the sun don”t shine because I went to many indoor water parks this winter and even though the sun don”t shine there, the number of men wearing boob burqas was damn near 50%. These guys feel their bellies and breasts are too hideous to impose on the rest of us. Where they got this idea, I have no fucking clue. Not one person on earth has ever walked up to a dad and said, “Can you please put a layer of cotton over your hideous frame? It’s making me gag.” Even without this provocation, dads are politely protecting us from their disgustingness and it’s contagious. Inspired by their dad’s insecurity, you now see sons follow suit; even when they have a life jacket on, there will still be a long sleeved t-shirt underneath. That’s two layers of textiles covering their tits. Eat your heart out Islam.
I”m not talking about the Soho House during gay pride week. I”m talking about Madison, the Poconos, and even the retired cops in upstate New York. That’s what really makes this trend disturbing, it’s ubiquity. I can take metrosexuality in the city because this is the same place bars charge $1,000 for bottle service and have toilets with stirrups for bathroom fornicators (I’m serious). New York City is supposed to be a bizarre place that ostracizes the rest of the country. That’s why not one of the 50 families in Texas polled by Nielsen watch 30 Rock.
American men aren”t supposed to worry about how cool they look. Nobody cares. Even if a dad were to tattoo his entire body with a skull-faced jellyfish eating Chiang-Kai Shek and Fidel Castro, nobody would give him a second look (believe me, I tried it). This is because women don”t see dads as sexual beings. American Beauty did well in the box office but only a complete fool believed a young girl like Mena Suvari would be turned on by a fat, old man like Kevin Spacey. The good news for us Spaceys is we can do whatever we want and let our guts hang over our shorts with reckless abandon. I honestly don”t get how men cannot get this simple fact. Even young girls get it. That’s right, as their male counterparts fret over imperfect pecs, they bounce past with gut chub confidently hanging over their bikinis like a jolly muffin top. While half the population appears to have been abducted by gayliens and brainwashed into thinking they are meant to be gorgeous, the female half is so over it, they laugh after a fart instead of saying excuse me.
This is because Political Correctness has convinced us gender is a social construct and there’s no difference between the sexes. Dads have taken this distorted view of feminism and become as sensitive about their bodies as women should be. Women, on the other hand, are so empowered by this lie, they flaunt their obesity with pride and any objection is old-fashioned sexism. As Nikki Blonsky says in her new show Huge on ABC Family, “Everyone wants us to hate our bodies. Well I refuse to.” If only she could convince the dads in Grown Ups to feel the same way.
It wasn”t always this way. When Adam West’s barrel-chested Batman came into our living rooms in the 60s, he looked like Archie Bunker on HÃ¤agen Dazs. That was considered sufficient for a superhero’s physique. Cut to the Batman of today and the actor is forced to wear a plastic muscle plate on his chest to simulate our high expectations because they are physically impossible to duplicate. Up until five years ago, men over 30 knew they were invisible at the pool and they liked it that way. Women like men with balls, not abs. They want husbands who can provide for their families and maybe have weird facial scars they don’t like to talk about. Women don’t look at married men on vacation and think, “There is no way I would eat whipped cream off his stomach.” It seems the only men confident enough to take their shirts off these days are the ones who shrink their genitalia with steroids and spend all day at the gym. These curious alpha beta males are rewarded with Village Voice cover stories for the annual Queer Issue. The only time you”re good enough to be happy with your body is when you”ve reached the level of gay pin-up. Huh? The swinging dicks of the War Generation must be shriveling in their graves.
As I made very clear in my documentary Are Women as Horny as Men? (NSFW) we are not the fairer sex. Can you imagine a woman daydreaming about a man’s bag the way we daydream about vaginas? It’s impossible. Somehow however, men have decided to wear their shame with pride and have no problem dwarfing their daughter’s insecurities. The only thing scarier than the state of male vanity today is the fact that a mainstream movie poster can proudly scream, “I hate my gross body!” and nobody bats an eye.