Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gut Check; or, the Southern Male Physique

I'm kind of ticked off. Used to be, the beer gut was the exclusive domain of redneck men (and a few redneck women). Oh, I suppose a bulbous belly is common among men of all cultures and eras, but nobody has worn it better than us. We take our beer guts seriously. And any time Yankees want to stereotype us – like in the movie "A Time to Kill" – they have our stomachs protruding from underneath a wife-beater.

I've got a bit of one myself, and I'm conflicted, because I don't particularly like carrying it around. I almost got rid of it last year, but then I slacked off in my workouts, and it's back to spare tire size. Although it's not really beer that's made it grown so much as the abundance of sweets that find me at every turn. (Hey, you know how it is in the South; work, church, parties, weddings, funerals, festivals, holidays, ballgames, breakfast – we'll find any excuse to bake a cake.)

Anyway, now that America is as fat as ever, the beer gut is as prominent as ever – especially in Mississippi, where we're No. 1! There should be a distinction, though: Just because you're obese doesn't mean you have a beer gut. This guy has a natural beer gut. This guy needs to lay off the fried Twinkies. Let's not tarnish the beer gut's good name by equating it to morbid obesity. Growing a beer gut is just a natural part of a man's maturation. That's why it takes so much work to get rid of one, except for those select few who could eat nothing but gristle all day and still stay skinnier than Calista Flockhart. I'm pretty sure those kind of people are aliens. Flockhart is for sure.

But like I said, I'm not overly fond of my own gut. Probably my vanity, which often blinds me to the fact that I'm 33 years old with a wife, four kids and a full-time job. Besides, my wife says she likes my love handles – and there's a reason they're called love handles. (Yeah, I said it.)

I should probably stop fighting it. And finish this Samuel Adams before it gets warm.

Today's Redneck Thought: This.