I know some of you think when I say “liberalism breeds weak, fat men,” that I’m merely politicizing an issue to be polarizing. I assure you that’s not the case. Allow me five hundred words to make my case.
I was a chubby kid. Strike that, I was a jiggly shrimp. Skinny-fat. The kind of kid who was relatively thin, yet managed to maintain love-handle jelly-rolls while simultaneously carrying a virtual lack of any muscle-tone whatsoever. Truly, I was a marvel of science.
A few kids made fun of me for it. It got worse in middle-school as I stayed about 5’6 and other kids began hitting puberty. My face never saw a razor until I was nearly in my twenties. I didn’t grow chest-hair until I met my wife. “Late bloomer” would be an understatement (or in this case, an underdeveloped one). Kids called me all kinds of names. Shrimpy, fatty, chipmunk (due to my fat cheeks), chowderhead and faggot. Of course it hurt my feelings. What hurt even more however, was the act of looking in the mirror. It hurt, because they were right. And I knew it.
In the eight grade, When I told my parents that I wanted a gym membership for Christmas, my mom didn’t believe me. She laughed it off and assumed that my newfound desire for strength would slowly give way to a shiny new Nintendo 64 game. To be fair, Goldeneye was the bomb. My dad remained silent. He’d been through this himself. He too, fell in love with the iron at a young age. He held back to see if I was serious. He took me along with him to his gym a few times, at the time one called Planet Muscle. Big men, heavy weight, iron, squat racks, that kind of place. He told me what to do, and I did it. He told me what I would need to do if I were to go to a gym by myself, and I wrote it down.
That Christmas morning, the anticipation was as great as any I can remember. When my parents handed me an envelope, I knew I’d sealed the deal. I was so excited, I wanted to get to work right away.
Only the gym was closed on Christmas… and Boxing Day (an actual holiday in Canada). Balls. “Guess I’ll just be fat through New Years.”
The gym was near my bus-stop on the way home from school. It wasn’t the best gym, but it was the only place that would sign off on a thirteen year old training without parental supervision. I trained at least three days a week at that gym, every week, until I graduated high school. By that time, I was listed at 6’2, 165lbs and I was lying by a good 15lbs. I had shot up like a bean sprout and went from chubby shrimp, to caucasian walking stick. I was wiry though, and stronger than kids my age. Would I ever achieve the body I saw in the magazines? Probably not.
But that’s not the point. The point is that I didn’t feel good about myself. I felt like trash. Flabby trash. See, my dad didn’t tell me that I was “beautiful just the way I was”. He didn’t pat me on my weak, hollow back and say “there there.” He encouraged me and provided me with the tools needed to better myself. And for four years, in that little gym on the corner of Churchill and Victoria street, that’s exactly what I did.
I was never any world-beater in the gym, I’m no natural athlete. But I was always better than yesterday. And I knew that I’d be better tomorrow. Nobody was watching, nobody else noticed or even cared, but I did. Nobody else would punish me, no one would judge me if I didn’t show up to train, but I did.
See, personal responsibility can only exist in a world where we’re honest with ourselves. The weights, the scale, the barbell, they don’t care how I feel or what I think. They are what they are, and just like the world, they’ll dominate the unprepared with reality. Nobody will ever force you to pick them up. They can change your life, or they can lay there to collect dust, merely waiting for greater men to follow. It’s your choice, and nobody’s watching.
In today’s “Planet Fitness” minded society, jiggly little Crowder would have been told that he was beautiful. Perfect, even. That those other people were just mean bullies and I needn’t pay them any mind. I’d have been told that everybody deserves a healthy body image, and that I should feel comfortable in my own skin. None of those things are necessarily wrong. But none of them would have made me feel better about myself. Even more, none of them would have made me better myself. See, rather than push young men toward the necessity of discomfort, the modern liberal attempts to alleviate it, and in doing so… robs them of life’s most fulfilling experiences.
Don’t let your young men be liberals.