Monday, October 17, 2011
More slender days, slim pickings
When I was at university I was rather scrawny. I was probably only 120 pounds which didn’t auger well for the hall rugby team. Unfortunately, we had so many people at my university hall who spent weekends getting over hangovers that I’d be drafted into the rugby team at times. Sometimes I was even asked to be second row, which is rather unfortunate because second rows are among the biggest meat heads in the game. They are the guys with cauliflower ears and legs as big as oak tree trunks.
I’m not exaggerating when I say in one game our scrum was pushed back just about the whole length of the pitch.
When people occasionally remind me of my former self by posting pictures on Facebook, it immediately becomes clear why my college days were rather angst ridden at times due to a lack of success with the opposite sex.
It didn’t help that one of my room mates Mr. P, had the boyish good looks of a catalogue model as well as excelling on both the rugby field and in the classroom. On one memorable occasion, a young woman asked me to meet with her at the students union. I thought my luck was finally changing until I realized she has invited me out to ask me questions about Mr. P and wanted me to act as a matchmaker of sorts.
Mr. P seemed to have it all going for him, even if he seemed to be rather over fond of his Garfield duvet cover. Even this piece of infantilism (is this a word?) from back at home, only served to increase his prowess with the ladies. And he even had a computer. Even if it was an Amstrad.
Needless to say there was a snake in Mr. P’s Eden – a girlfriend from back home called Pam who Mr. P was devoted to, at least up the point before he put down the phone receiver and was off to the dorm room of Miss. S. Needless to say it all ended badly. Mr. P ditched Miss S. after she became too clingy, she went on a bender and threw up on numerous times, thus winning the inaugural throwing up competition that we held amongst ourselves, in just one night. Then, in a spot of poetic justice, Pam went to another university and cheated on Mr. P and ditched him. We used the expression “packed him in” back in Blighty but this expression tends to flummox Americans. “Packed him into what?” my boss once asked. I didn’t bother explaining.
I’m not sure what happened to Mr. P. He may have ended up marrying Pam. They may have divorced. They may have lived an empty existence in an oversized house first. He may have lost his boyish good looks and become overweight.
In this way I gained my revenge on Mr. P, although he never knew it because we didn’t keep in touch. I never had any boyish good looks to lose, so had something of an advantage.
Then there was another room mate Mr. G, a product of a second tier private school who clearly lacked the self confidence to hang out with the proper Sloan rangers who permeated my class system obsessed university.
Mr. G lacked the boyish good looks of Mr. P but he made up for it with a winning arrogance that seemed irresistible to the ladies. Indeed Mr. G’s levels of deception exceeded anything Mr. P was capable of. On one occasion when his longtime girlfriend K. knocked on the door of the flat and he was otherwise engaged with a teenage friend of Miss S. he jumped out of a second floor window to escape the scene. On another occasion he drove the best part of 100 miles home with K. before she turned off down the road her parents live on and Mr. G promptly turned around and headed back to the university to be in the arms of the teenaged friend of Miss. S.
Later I heard through a rather fuzzy grapevine that Mr. P had, in fact, had a sexual liaison with K. which Mr. G would probably have approved of.
I feel I have meandered somewhat from the main point I was trying to make; namely that while I was puny back then, in later life I have struggled with the beer gut and recently signed up to rather an intensive YMCA program that sometimes takes me to a room in which guys with physiques like Michael Vick hang out and grunt.
In many ways I feel as out of place here as I did back at university in the presence of Mr. P and Mr. G. Still I’m not sure if the intensive course in which you walk around with a clipboard and enter your exertions into a machine is paying off much. I can’t say I always wanted to be a contender but I certainly always wanted to be a guy with a clipboard.
Still I wonder if I can keep my resolve after yesterday when I read that diet is more important than fitness in beating a beer gut and I should really be chomping on lentils and kale.
And get this – the skinnier you were when you are young, the more likely you are going to be to get a beer gut because there isn’t anywhere else for it to go. This really doesn’t seem to be fair. Is there anywhere to write this on that clipboard?
By way of disclaimer nobody in that picture is Mr. P or Mr. G, but one of them is me.