2 min read

On male body image

For the last five months, I’ve mostly shut myself away in my room.

On the weekdays, I see my mom and dad and brother. And I see the people at the gym when I go in the evenings, and that’s about it. On weekends, I see a few friends.

Since I’m not seen by many people, I’ve stopped caring about my appearance. It’s been freeing. I didn’t realize I was so self-conscious about my appearance until the urge to be self-conscious went away.

I’ve been wearing sweats or soccer pants most days. I often haven’t combed my hair. I’ve put on some pounds.

I don’t feel bad about any of that. I still keep myself clean, and I don’t look like a model, but I’m a healthy bodyweight.

But I do know that as soon as I get back to the city, I know the urge will return to keep a fresh haircut, wear clothes that fit, and slash my body fat %. I’ll just go out and say it: I will feel anxiety and pressure to look good.

I’m sure part of it is to impress the ladies, but that’s not all of it. I’m sure even if I get coupled up, I’ll still be self-conscious. If you’re in a city, there are a lot of people around you look good, and so you want to look good. (Yes, even SF fashion gives me some stress.)

One of my friends was surprised to hear I cared about this stuff.

Partly maybe cuz my appearance doesn’t suggest I care 😂😂😂 but also because I don’t come off as vain or superficial, even if I think about looking good a lot.

To be clear, my anxiety around this isn’t crippling or anything. It’s more subtle, to where if I’m not dressed or groomed just right, I feel slightly less comfortable in social situations.

I wish I could change my mindset around all this.

I have imagined a world in which everyone just wears loincloths… that would be a lot simpler, right. But people would find a way… someone’d wanna stand out from the crowd and end up bedazzling their loincloth or something.

Wait, caring about this stuff is stupid, right? Some digital nomads wear the same outfit every day. Why can’t I do that? Ugh no, if I wore dark blue jeans and a black t-shirt every day, I would feel judged…

Now, it does tend to be the case that you feel judged most in the arenas that you judge… how do you like them apples, Rishi? So you are at least a little vain…

I wonder if in a different time and culture, I would not feel this way. I thought girls were supposed to be the ones concerned with this stuff.

One thing I do appreciate is that, if I work out regularly, I don’t feel concerned about my body image at all. I feel athletic, and that my body is just a machine serving my mind.

It’s also crazy how much effort some of us put into our hair. I feel like it’s the equivalent of a peacock fanning out its feathers. I bet if aliens visited us, they’d judge us hella hard.

Man, I should worry less about the cultural phenomenon of tryna look good, and just comb my hair…

also I’m chillin don’t worry, just sharing a train of thought