Upon opening my closet door one recent morning, I experienced an embarrassing hallucination. As I stood there selecting what to wear, I saw my wardrobe come to life. The pants and shirts began to quiver, and the belts coiled up tight in an attempt to conceal themselves. T-shirts and underwear scurried about and a stack of sweaters slowly retreated to the rear of a shelf like a hiker backing away from a slumbering bear. I even noticed one slim-cut Italian dress shirt waving a white flag. I felt their pain.
You see, over the past twelve months, your Man About TOWN has been dutifully being, well, a Man About TOWN. Which, if one is to do properly, requires a significant appetite for food, drink, and charm-filled socializing, which invariably leads to more food and drink. The problem is, all this carousing has increased my waist size from a respectable 32” to a measurement I’m reluctant to commit to print. My clothes have gone from fashionably covering my body to now struggling to keep it cylindrical. In other words, my wardrobe has become a closet full of sausage casings.
For some men, the first line of defense in dealing with a newly acquired spare tire is to adopt what I call the “diagonal waistline.” A physics-defying anomaly where the front of the pants are pushed down and worn several inches lower than the rear. The upside is it saves the wearer from having to purchase bigger pants; the downside is you look like a high school football coach. No, the only true fix for a spare tire is to deflate it.
When a man reaches middle-age, certain things begin to happen to his body that are both confusing and disturbing. Hair goes missing from the scalp then suddenly reappears, seemingly overnight, on the top of the back or peaking out of one’s ears like a follicle version of hide and seek. We begin to make audible sighs of relief when we sit down and groans of stress when we attempt to rise. And the calorie-rich food and drink once burned easily by our youthful metabolism now smolder along our waistlines.
This January, I have finally decided to accept the fact that I am no longer in my twenties, or thirties for that matter, and that my body is now what car enthusiasts refer to as “vintage,” which requires a little more care and upkeep than a newer model. So, for the next several weeks I will eschew the barstools and romantic tables of my favorite haunts and experience the physically active opportunities Greenville has to offer. I will experiment with diets: slow-carb, low-carb, raw, paleo, vegan— and dip my toe in the world of yoga, Crossfit, Zumba, spinning, and martial arts. I will harness my willpower and commit myself to one of the harshest words in the English language: moderation.
I will report my experiences and progress here and let this page serve as a formal record of my commitment to turn back the clock. I can already hear cheers of support coming from my closet.