Monday, August 05, 2013

Body of Lies

I like to think of myself as a rather easygoing kind of guy. I don’t get too upset if I can’t find a taxi because it’s nearly midnight and the taxis are all hiding around the corner. If I can’t get on the MRT because the platform is packed with every single resident from Punggol to Punjab, I just shrug and patiently inch my way to the front of the pack. And if after being put on hold for ten minutes and an automated message comes on “We are unable to take your call at the moment. Please call back later!”, I merely sigh…
            Well, actually, I don’t. Alright, if you want the unpleasant truth, I rant and I shout. And then I rant some more and if it wasn’t so expensive, I’d do a Naomi Campbell and throw my phone at someone.
            My point is that whilst I’d like to think of myself as a rather easy going kind of guy, I swear there are days when I just know someone up there is out to get me.
            And every week, as I’m innocently turning the pages of 8DAYS, feeling all calm and relaxed, I will suddenly come upon the “Shirtless Guy of the Week” page and almost immediately, my blood pressure will rise and I feel a headache coming on.
            That page infuriates me. It’s like getting a weekly slap on the face.    
            Because let me be the first to tell you this: nobody normal ever looks like any of those guys on that page. I know this because I’ve seen what normal people look like without their clothes on.
I’ve lost count of the beach and pool parties I’ve been to. All filled with normal people with normal day jobs and normal TV addictions.
            The normal body does not have a chest that looks like a marble Roman statue. The normal body does not have six pack abs. Or biceps that look like someone surgically inserted a small melon into the arms. Or those funny looking bulges on the edge of their waist.
            “I have a much better body than any of those guys,” my friend Barney Chen said the other day after listening me rant for five minutes.
            “That’s because you have no life and spend every waking second at the gym!” I yelled.
            “Well, that is true,” he conceded with good grace. “Though not every waking second. These days, I’m spending a lot of time cyber-stalking Allan Wu!”
            I paused. “Wait, I thought you were upset he’s divorcing Li-lin?”
            “Oh, I was, but I’m over it now. He’s single again and back on the market.”
            “But, you know, I don’t think he’s g…”
            The sudden buzzing tone on my phone told me he’d hung up.
            “Probably time for his protein drink,” Saffy mumbled from the comfy depths of the sofa.
            And that’s the thing about Barney. In spite of his absurdly defined muscles, at least he’s honest about how he came about them.
            During one of her “I’m fat” days, Amanda once asked Barney what it took to look like him.
            “Two hours a day at the gym, an hour of running up and down Mount Faber. Ten egg whites for breakfast, a piece of poached chicken with no skin and salad for lunch, steamed fish and salad for dinner. No white sugars. No carbs. No bread. No alcohol.”
            Amanda blinked. “What? Like every day?”
            “Uh huh!”
            Meanwhile, our average “Shirtless Guy of the Week” will insist that he has such good genes and is so active, he can eat anything he wants and only go to the gym twice a week. I remember one guy raved about how much he loved nasi lemak and fried chicken wings.
            “Really?” I thought as I scrutinized his abs with as much detachment as one can muster on a diet of irrational envy and hatred. “You can eat nasi lemak and still look like this?”
            Leave it to Sharyn to put it all in perspective. “Aiyah, so stressful to have body like that. Every day, must go to gym and eat steam choy sum breakfast lunch and dinner. Better you just die, ah, I tell you!”
            I blinked.
            Encouraged, Sharyn went on, “You see me? I every day eat lor bak and laksa and mee rebus. I neh-ber go to gym. So happy! No stress! Got stomach, got stomach, lor!”
            I must have looked a little unconvinced because Sharyn then said, “Aiyah, why you want to have sick pack stomach? For what? Your job need you to be always topless, is it?”
            Saffy says the thought of me topless at the office keeps her entertained all day.

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