Colette Fitzpatrick: 'Having a dad-bod is a trend, but we're a long way off from the mom-bod being lusted after'
Somewhere a man is looking at the scales and is unhappy with the number.
Somewhere else a man has turned sideways and is looking into a mirror at his paunch and wondering how that got there.
Someone else is comfort eating because he doesn’t like the way he looks. Later he’ll hate himself for gorging.
At least that’s what we can deduce from a new study in the journal Body Image, which has found that men and women are equally self-conscious when it comes to their appearance.
This is not a case of ‘well now they know how we feel’ – some sort of reverse sexism in a society traditionally fixated with how women look. It actually makes me sad that there are now more people than ever, whatever their sex, who don’t like what they see in the mirror. It’s like equal opportunities for self-loathing.
The study was based on 12,176 online surveys gathered by NBCNews.com and Today.com. More than a quarter (28pc) of men said they were “very to extremely satisfied” with their overall appearance, compared to 26pc of women.
We didn’t need a survey to tell us men are equally aware of body image nowadays. Have a look at your Instagram, the supermarket, the lad across the desk from you. It’s ripped muscles and a hairless six pack, tanned and moisturised. They’re shoving you out of the way to get to the mirror, to preen and pose and make sure the hipster beard doesn’t go from bitchin’ to itchin’.
There was a time in this country when you were grateful that you met a man who knew his way round a tap of running water. If he didn’t have a full bath or shower, then at least he’d wash the hotspots, as it were. Or maybe used baby wipes or a facecloth for those areas that need extra attention.
But preening men have evolved from being ‘metrosexuals’ to be ‘spornosexuals’. These are men who want to look like sportsmen or porn stars or a more extreme version of their metro forefathers.
He’s done all the manscaping and looks tanned and moisturised, but the spornosexual is more obsessed with the actual physical proportions of his frame – the abs, the biceps and the definition of his calves. Think a Dolce & Gabbana fashion shoot.
Without sounding like I’m letting them off the hook, I can’t bear tight V-neck t-shirt wearing self-obsessives who post pictures of themselves working out. Talk about looking for endorsement.
The ‘dad bod’ is a trend I’m much more comfortable with. It’s the anti-biceps torso. Not a massive beer belly but rather a more comfortable torso than a honed one.
This man cycles a bit and plays a bit of five-a-side but he’s not into the gym. He drinks at the weekend and likes pizza after a geansai load of pints with the lads.
It feels like we’re a long way off the ‘mammy’ or ‘mum bod’ being lusted-after, though. Something tells me it won’t be nearly as well-received. I’m OK with you not looking like Ryan Gosling.
I wish you were OK with me not looking like Jennifer Aniston.