08 February 2008

Be a Male Model! (Or Just Look Like One)

Clothes always fit ya / When you’re a boy

A recent New York Times headline, “Male Models Get Downsized,” should have roughly one half the world’s population snickering with undisguised glee. At last, men are getting their comeuppance, after decades, even centuries, of dictating impossible body images to women. The slimming down of female fashion models has gotten so bad that weigh-ins, with doctors present, are now customary before fashion shows: the girls are so thin, they’re unhealthy. And they are girls, because of course no grown woman could get anywhere near the pencil-thin profiles demanded by designers.

Ah, said the men, you don’t understand, we demand of ourselves something equally unreasonable: worked-out, pumped up, lithe, lean muscle. And the pressure was always rising: from flat stomachs to six-pack abs, to eight-packs, to the “Girdle of Adonis,” ad infinitum. Although a lot of guys resorted to steroids, supplements, and surgery, it was possible, with time and good genes, to acquire the desired silhouette in perfectly healthy ways. But the pressure was intense, men insisted. Women simply couldn’t understand.

This reminded me of a conversation in seminar with the late Carolyn Heilbrun: discussing the ways men historically subjugated women to physical tortures (corsets, brassieres, shaving legs and armpits, waxing, plucking, making up, cosmetic surgery, hair treatments, to say nothing of footbinding, lip plates and neck rings) in the quest of an oppressive definition of beauty, one of my male classmates started to interrupt. “Men suffer to look good, too,” he said.

Professor Heilbrun turned to him slowly. “If you’re going to talk about neckties,” she said, “I’ll scream.”

Just as the fashion industry seemed to be coming to its senses, and demanding of female models a healthier, more robust silhouette, it seems the industry has completely lost its senses when it comes to the male models.

Hitherto, the standard height for models was between 5’11” and 6’3”, jacket size around 42R, waist size 32. According to the Times, the new standard for jacket is down to 40R, waist size 30 (or less). Without getting any shorter, today’s male models weigh less: down from an average of 185 pounds to 145 pounds. Selfishly, I’m not entirely displeased by this trend: I’m 5’11”, 145 pounds, I wear a 39R and a 30 waist, and I have friends in fashion who give me free stuff.

So you will see how generous I am when I say that my heart goes out to every man who is not equally blessed. These boys have never seen the inside of a gym. If there’s a way to look like them without resorting to bulimia, I can’t imagine it.

But I don’t have to, because I have come into possession of a handy guide, distributed by one of the leading modeling agencies. By following these simple rules, even a fat slob like Marcus Schenkenberg could look like a male model.

Tired of looking like this guy?
Just follow these simple steps!



More cigarettes
1 Stalk raw celery, for essential nutrients such as protein

(You there, the one who just said that celery does not contain protein. You may go now. We didn’t hire you to be intelligent, we hired you to be pretty.)
More vodka

Afternoon snack:
Listerine (Do not swallow!)

More cigarettes
More Champagne
More vodka
More heroin


Workout Routine 1: Warm-up: Wake up. Remain awake for the next week. Sleep three hours, then repeat. 365 sets of 15 repetitions.

Workout Routine 2: Lower Body: Walk to Philadelphia and back. But slowly! We don’t want you developing any visible leg or gluteal muscles! 4 sets.

Workout Routine 3: Upper Body: Take the right index finger. Insert it in your throat as far as possible, then hold this position. After vomiting, repeat the exercise using the left index finger. 4 sets of 15 repetitions.

Workout Routine 4: Stomach Crunches: Lie flat on the floor. Slowly bring your upper body forward, until you hear a loud crunching sound. Those are the bones of your spine breaking from lack of calcium. 4 sets of 25 repetitions.


If you must take a shower, close your eyes and think of Dachau.