The Thigh Gap
Only objectivity counts when your health is on the line.
I’ve been complimented on my muscularity three times this week. To all of them, I merely replied with a “thank you” without thinking much about it. This modesty is out-of-character for someone with an overblown ego, and I’m like Kanye West but with no talent.
I brush off these compliments not because I secretly feel bad about my body. Like all seasoned egoists, I’m in love with my body. My Summers consist of me waiting for opportunities to take off my shirt so I can say “sun’s out, guns out.”
The reason these compliments don’t matter much to me is because I only measure my body by literally measuring my body. I get out the tape measure every week after I get home from the gym, and I measure my waist just below my obliques, and just above my belly button. This is where I, like most men, accumulate excess fat first, so if I do begin to gain weight, I’ll be the first to know. Compliments don’t mean much because the ultimate marker of how I feel is my measurements, an objective standard.
This week, my waist is 32.25 inches. Trim, yes, but a little big. According to the Ancient Greeks, if you have seven-inch wrists, as I have, then ideally, your waist needs to be 31.85 inches. But I know my body, and if I’m at a manageable 10 percent body fat, my waist comes in at about 30.5 inches.
News flash to the fatties out there: this is how all healthy people gauge their health. Maybe they weigh themselves, or use visual cues for a guide, but they don’t rely on how they feel. Health is too important to be left up to feelings. You can be 20 pounds overweight and still feel good about yourself. And you can still get diabetes. If you’ve taken a women’s studies class, you can be 100 pounds overweight and still feel good about yourself.
This is why I cannot help but laugh at girls who get upset over the pseudo cultural pressure to have a thigh gap. This is why we’re fat, people. We can blame obesity on fast food and sugary drinks all we want, but I indulge myself every once in a while, so clearly the problem isn’t the poisonous environment. The obesity problem is nothing more than an awareness problem.
The concomitance of awareness and fitness is the reason we cannot trust any weight loss study. The first thing doctors do with the subjects is weigh and measure them like the farm animals we all are. “Oh crap, my butt is 52 inches?” That’s more than enough awareness to jolt even a disciple of Monique back to a healthier reality, no matter the diet or exercise regimen they put her on.
No, not every girl is going to be able to achieve a thigh gap—due to hip width or leg shape—but it’s a good place to start being more honest with yourself. Not every guy with seven-inch wrists will be able to lean down to a 31.85-inch waist, but if you have a 40-inch waist, then you know it’s time to stop BSing yourself with, “hey, I’m just a big guy.” Besides, if you have a 40-inch waist, you probably think it’s closer to a 36.
The funny part of this is I’m going to be called a sexist for saying girls need to be more objective about their health, so they can, you know, be healthy—even though I’m telling guys the same thing. Meanwhile, the academe types—who tell girls they’re beautiful no matter what—are, without mincing words, enabling sickness. It doesn’t get much more delusional than that.
However, the academe voices of social constructivism are rare, at least for now. But these voices may take hold for good. Most girls I meet understand being in shape matters. To keep it that way, these girls need a good reason (re: man) to stay in shape—and fat shaming, or guys sitting around making fun of fat girls, isn’t going to do it. Don’t get me wrong, making fun of fat girls is fun, but sometimes it’s good to let the fat bury the fat.