Muscles – a foothold for fat

Muscles – a foothold for fat – was the maxim our ancestors lived by and we would do well to heed their wisdom.

An example of the low-energy soft-sofa approach to well-being.

Tyne O’Connell with an example of the low-energy soft-sofa approach to well-being.

by ©Tyne O’Connell

There is no inherent value to either chubbiness or muscle and when fully clothed it is impossible to tell the difference between the pudding lover and the gym zealot. Yet one tends to strut about vainly while the other is often attacked or ridiculed by a society brainwashed to believe in the cult of muscle.

Exercise bullies and all those who proselytise about their muscles as if there is something attractive about a muscular form are at odds with those of us who hold on to the traditional view that any muscle acquired artificially via exercise or in gyms are seedy.

Gyms and muscles, like weight loss and plastic surgery are not topics to be aired in public but naughty secrets one must throw a veil over. One chaps boast in his fencing achievements is another chaps embarrassment at his lack thereof. Just as a fine looking girl boasting of her looks quickly looses her allure so an exercise devotee with their bulking up boasts, is a drain on any social gathering.

Tyne O'Connell in purple ballgown with Sheep on Savile Row Mayfair

In realising, “Muscles are a foothold for fat,” our ancestors strove for beauty and grace rather than bulk thus developing a lean masculine silhouette for men and a graceful feminine form for women. The proliferation of the Perfidious Gymnasium and faddish low fat food cult has ushered in an age of lumpen and misshapen bodies lumbering their bulk to and from the Gymnasium in a doomed Sisyphus quest to obtain the Mayfair silhouette of old.

Those whom like me who have eschewed the gymnasium and centred my diet around the five basic Mayfair food groups; cream, cheese, milk, butter, and the occasional morsel of moral meat and take no artificial exercise are usually lithe, while those who sweat it out in Gymnasiums and boast of feeling the burn and bulking up, tend towards the sweaty chubby end of the spectrum. These chubby men assure me their bulk is “muscle” as if re-labelling their lumps and bulges somehow makes their bulky silhouette less distasteful. Give me a man who loves to enjoy a good pudding and a glass of claret over a gym bore any day.

I do not loathe fat people. I embrace stylish men and women of all sizes and celebrate the differences, it is simply the cult of muscle for muscles sake which I detest.

Tyne O'Connell with nuns bio life's too short

My father – an Edwardian Gent and fine figure of a man in his bespoke suites was at odds with the changing world of the 70’s when the foot hold for fat fad zealots first took hold with their low fat foods and muscle worship. Though he admired the redoubtable Flemish nuns who educated me he took great umbrage with their policy that all girls must play hockey and lacrosse. Fencing, ballet, skiing and tennis were one thing, but he didn’t want the fat calves of his daughter on his conscience.

There is something decidedly distasteful about the modern fad for exercise and no amount of blandishments from Gym Zealots will chivy me out of my aversion. I have watched the growth in girth of chaps and chappesses these past decades and I lay the blame firmly at the door of a low fat, high carb diet and exercise for the sake of it.

I am all for living the active life and in my youth attended ballet classes daily, enjoyed fencing, polo, fishing, rambling in the Himalayas and skying but I draw the line at exercise for the sake of exercise and muscle bulk for the sake of muscle bulk.  In fact I hold a distaste for the very word muscle though I have enormous regard for Olympians and polo players who have obtained their muscle as a byproduct of their sport.

Tyne O'Connell fencing in St James's Square London in purple ballgown

There is a cultural divide in those who frequent gymnasiums and worship the bulky form those who don’t. It is a divide of muscle.

Those whom like me who have eschewed the gymnasium and centred my diet around the five basic Mayfair food groups; cream, cheese, milk, butter, and the occasional morsel of moral meat and take no artificial exercise are usually lithe, while those who sweat it out in Gymnasiums and boast of feeling the burn and bulking up, tend towards the sweaty chubby end of the spectrum. These chubby men assure me their bulk is “muscle” as if re-labelling their lumps and bulges somehow makes their bulky silhouette less distasteful. Give me a man who loves to enjoy a good pudding and a glass of claret over a gym bore any day.

I do not loathe fat people. I embrace stylish men and women of all sizes and celebrate the differences, it is simply the cult of muscle for muscles sake which I detest.

Tyne O'Connell in Berkeley Square with books and brolly

I was brought up to believe that muscles on a girl were ugly and that even on a man, an abundance of upper body musculature suggested the gentleman in question had done a rather long stretch in the confines of a prison cell.

And then there is the insidious lie that muscles are linked to health or worse the lie that it may induce weight loss rather than the foothold for fat it clearly is as evidenced everywhere in our chubby population.

 

Acquiring muscles may be done as cheerfully as eating pudding, however by upholding that either pursuit is a virtue rather than a cheeky vice is a recipe which is bound to end in a fatty rod for one’s own back, not to mention the increased tailors bill for fabric for inevitably the day will come when all that muscle and all those puddings will turn to immovable wobble. Between the two I’d rather my wobble came from a lot of lovely sago and bread and butter puddings that hours of sweating and grunting in a gymasium.

Even as a child I loathed the school gymnasium.  I did enjoy our daily deportment classes which to be fair were held in the gymnasium on heavy-rain days – light to medium rain being seen as no impediment to walking up and down our sweeping school entrance stairs with piles of books on our heads.

Tyne O'Connell St James's Palace

 

My strident anti-gym stance began in the nineties when a number of chums rendered themselves social pariahs through their obsession with attending “Gyms” as they affectionately referred to these temples dedicated to Footholds For Fat. Had they been rushing off to the pudding shop I would have been tempted to join them. At least there is a respectability in knowing your chubbiness derives from a devotion to a love of food.

There is no inherent value to either flab or muscle and in fact when dressed it is impossible to tell the difference between the pudding lover and the gym zealot. Yet one tends to strut about while the other is often attacked or ridiculed by a society brainwashed to believe in the cult of muscle. Exercise bullies and all those who proselytise about their muscles as if there is something attractive about a muscular form are at odds with those of us who hold on to the traditional view that any muscle acquired artificially via exercise or in gyms are seedy. Gyms and muscles, like weight loss and plastic surgery are not topics to be aired in public but naughty secrets one must throw a veil over. One chaps boast in his fencing achievements is another chaps embarrassment or his lack thereof. Just as a fine looking girl boasting of her looks quickly looses her allure.

Tyne O'Connell on Mount Street Mayfair

Tyne O’Connell on Mount Street Mayfair

So strong was the bias against muscles on girls until after the Edwardian times that it became the last obstacle preventing girls attending schools. It wasn’t that parents were adverse to the education of women for even the most misogynist of fathers hired  tutors for their daughters to learn french mathematics and latin. However no loving parent however liberal wished to dash their daughters chance at marriage by handicapping them with the heavy calf and arm muscles acquired on the lacrosse and hockey fields.

I subscribe to the view that a beautiful body is more about deportment and carriage  and grace of movement than muscles or size. Observing the beautiful young girls of today who walk like they are struggling with a bowling ball between their knees does little to persuade me that the Gym is anything other than a perfidious lie.

While a slim build is generally preferable to a chubby one I would argue a smartly dressed larger man or woman of grace is more attractive that a person of slim build slumping along in stretch fabric or indeed ill thought out attire of any description.

If a Mayfair Eccentric wishes to exercise they should do so in fencing salles or at the ballet bar where one acquires not just a splendid lean physic but a stately posture and graceful carriage to show it off to best advantage. Nor am I impervious to the charms of the spherical Dandy or Dandizettes – for form does not the gentleman or the lady make – style does!

The Mayfair Eccentric gets plenty of exercise dashing about in pursuit of  the perfect hat, attending balls or chasing down the bon mots. Surely anything is preferable to a date with The Gym.

Muscles are a foothold for fat.

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