March 25, 2006

Arch City Chronicle

The new issue of Arch City Chronicle is out, and I'm a part of it.

Though I've written for them in the past, they asked me to be a regular contributor to their new architecture/real estate/design section. Basically, I'll do B.E.L.T. entries in print. Nice work if you can get it.

Click on the image if you want to actually read it. Or, if you're in St. Louis, just pick up a copy.

March 20, 2006

Dennis Quaid & Manorexia

Dennis Quaid flashes more flesh than most of our favorite bimbos, yet no one ever calls him on the endless chain of gratuitous shirtlessness for fear that he’d stop doing it! More accurately, since he’s a talented actor, popular media concentrates on that and overlooks his blatant flesh peddling. There’s a gender bias at play, but what choice do we have but to accept this and move on?

Even in his 50s, he has an amazing body, and an awful lot of work goes into that. There’s no such thing as accidental 6-pack abs, and I’m sure his daily fitness routine would shame Madonna. His dedication to his craft is acknowledged, yet his dedication to his physique is ignored.

Ignored, until Dennis revealed he was once manorexic. Yes, the same warped body image that is a tax write-off for Hollywood actresses also zapped The Torso. If the ever-svelte Quaid had fallen prey to the pressurized vanity of Hollywood, it begs the question: how many other actors have experienced this? Dennis was man enough to admit to a “girly” preoccupation with his looks, but is now secure enough to withstand the onslaught of “boylemic” jokes.

While contemplating Quaid’s disease that temporarily threatened that exquisite physique, I had brunch with a guy friend who’s been dieting to lose 30 pounds. So far, he’s lost 23 pounds and looks fabulous. As great as he looks right now, he insists that those last 7 pounds have got to go. I asked him to seriously consider staying right where he’s at because it’s (ahem) a thin line between looking good and looking scary. I sited the Farrah Fawcett’s and Nicole Richie’s of the world and warned that some future lost pound could mark the difference between looking youthful and looking elderly.

Rather than seeing what he actually looks like, he’s fixated on the goal. It has nothing to do with reality, but with a sense of self that’s threatening to veer out of bounds. Suddenly, I had a complete understanding of how someone like Dennis Quaid could have fallen prey and succumbed to that same mindset.

Dennis Quaid is ultra famous and constantly scrutinized by thousands of eyes. My friend is a somewhat public figure, but the pressure he feels to keep losing the weight comes only from him. Despite his profession, Quaid’s pressure came only from himself, too. Then he got a handle on it.

While contemplating the body image issues of my friend and Mr. Quaid, I noticed Fall Out Boy’s chubby singer, and wondered why so many American rockers are pudgy. Once upon a time, there were no fat rock stars allowed, with the exception of Leslie West, Meatloaf and Frank Black. But a generation of housebound, 20-somethings raised playing Nintendo on the couch have inherited rock, and the given of a rocker being a lean, hungry slash of energy is an antiquated notion… though Gerard Way, of My Chemical Romance, did purposely lose weight, maybe because a fat Goth is a complete oxymoron.

So, the young music boys are getting fat while the young music girls are starving themselves. Contrast the self-induced starving with the escalating obesity rates in America, and then Dennis Quaid reveals the secret of manorexia. For the young, weight has become such a dramatic black & white issue, but for Dennis Quaid, my friend and all of us middle-agers, a touch of grey is preferable.

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