Would it surprise you to know that many men hate their bodies? How could I not when I scroll through Instagram looking at other guys beards, and all I see are these ripped gods looking like they had just stepped from the pages of a Marvel comic book?
No, you didn’t misread — I do look at other guys on Instagram — well, their beards at least. Ever since I started growing my beard a few years ago, I’ve been obsessed with beard culture. There are hundreds, if not thousands of accounts that only display perfect images of magnificent beards. There are insta-famous guys known for their wonderful whiskers and followed not only by my gay brothers but guys like me who just like sculpted beards.
A lot of these guys put serious work in to not only the grooming of their facial hair but the size of their biceps. I mean, look at this guy:
It is hard not to scroll through these chiseled bodies and not feel a little envy. I feel good about myself right now, but who wouldn’t want a body like this:
Even the most confident men compare themselves to these people. It’s hard for a guy like me, with a social media addiction and a spare tire, not to feel unmanly and ugly. I see these images and want to get the testosterone shots and quit writing and spend all my time in the gym, and when I’ve built an amazing body, travel the world drinking aged whiskey, smoking fine cigars, and taking photos to post on Instagram for my millions of adoring fans.
Hey, it could happen!
Social media is a lot of things to many people, but it is damaging to ourselves if we let it be. Instagram is one of the worst offenders because of it’s visual nature. You go there to see beautiful people in picturesque locations, and to forget for a short time that you are an out-of-shape creative sitting hunched over your laptop eating a Poptart and wishing you had an amazing body to parade down the beach.
It’s easy to forget that these people have good genetics and the money to be able to spend every waking moment at the gym, tattoo parlor, health food store, or tanning salon. It’s easy to ignore many of these people must starve themselves, or use steroids, or get plastic surgery, or spend their lives lifting dead weight so they can look perfect in the images of them enjoying a life they will never have. That’s how they make their living.
What people like me don’t understand is that the vast majority of these influencers are projecting an image to make money, and it’s the only job they have. With all the interests we have in our lives, we would never have the time or the money to look like that even if we were genetic freaks.
I wonder if those influencers are happy with their lives and with what they are doing to make a living? Are they doing what they dreamed of as a kid? Are they passionate about their work? Is the travel, and the fine food, and the fast cars, and the nice clothes as cool as they make it out to be?
I ask because I may not have a great body, a full bank account, and a perfectly styled beard, and I may not travel to exotic locations, drink champagne, or smoke Cuban cigars, but I am happy with my life the way it is: writing, being a father and husband, and living for the simple things.
And I do have one other thing. I have a T-shirt with my face on it:
All joking aside, none of us should spend all our time wishing we looked as ripped as Instagram models. Yes, we can improve ourselves, but we are what we are. We may never be thin and muscular, or good-looking, or have the perfect ass or the fullest beard, but we have a lot of other things going for us. We have things that make us truly unique.
Instead of wishing for six-pack abs, why don’t we work to be kind, generous, and more empathetic and agree to work to make this planet a better place to live? Not everyone has a perfect body, but we can all be better human beings.
We don’t need Instagram for that.