Wednesday, November 14, 2007


A strange trend has caught my eye recently.

Without a doubt, I know that I haven't lost an ounce of weight over the years. If anything, I've gained a handful here and there. Sure, with my recent exercise regiment there's been a bit of reshaping going on, but it's definitely not anything that's glaringly obvious. My body has settled a bit with age, but I can still fit (more or less) into the same clothes I wore 10 years ago. I really haven't changed very much.

Yet, I've had to go down a size in the shirts I buy. I'm now wearing size Large shirts instead of X-Large. I tried on a X-Large shirt recently while clothes shopping and I looked like I've borrowed a T-shirt from Andre the Giant.

It's definitely not that my upper body has shrunk, I still wear the same sized suit jacket. The recent fashion trend towards slimmer, tailored clothing may play a small role in it, but it's not like I'm now walking around in skin tight shirts while I wore everything real baggy 5 years ago. Far from it.

My theory is that the clothing manufacturers have gradually increased the cut of the shirts to accommodate the increasing prevalence of obesity in this country while simultaneously trying not to alarm the male psyche.

It's like how some fashion labels will give women a "discount" in size to make them psychologically feel better about spending so much money on a dress. While you normally fit into an 8 at The Gap, Vera Wang says you fit into a 4.

Perhaps a similar concept has trickled down to every day men's fashion. As they get fatter and fatter, they can still feel good about themselves because they're still wearing the same sized clothes they were 10 years ago. Thus no emotional crippling, no loss of productivity at the workplace due to male depression, and no change to the economy.

The general understanding is that men aren't emotionally fragile when it comes to their appearances. Go take a walk through Wal-Mart, you'll see what I mean. But, at the same time, the spam that fills my email regarding hair growth and penile growth/performance says otherwise.

Men are sensitive to their appearances. They just won't admit it. I don't know a single guy that would like to be known as the Fat Guy. This subtle increase in clothes sizes is a form of fashion Prozac. Keep people thinking they're not fat and keep them happy. Why rock the boat?

(Those penile growth pills and creams are another topic altogether. I'm amazed that some men actually think that increasing their penile size will have women flocking to them like a shoe store having a sale. No, sorry dude. It's probably your personality, or lack thereof, that's repelling women.)