Friday, 16 November 2012
The adverts posed the question "Why be a seven stone weakling and have sand kicked in your face when you could be a muscular he-man?" All you had to do was follow his special body-building technique and in no time you'd look like Tarzan.
I couldn't for the life of me see why men would want to be so obsessively muscle-packed they looked like some kind of freak of nature, like Michelin Man. I was quite happy to be a seven stone weakling, or pretty close to it. I was alarmingly thin as a boy - and continued to be stick-thin well into my thirties. I had no visible muscles, just a lot of pale flabby flesh.
And as I'd never had sand kicked into my face, except by romping dogs, I didn't see any need for lavish muscular protection. In fact I never had anything kicked in my face as far as I can remember. Except maybe the odd football carelessly aimed my way.
But some boys were seduced by the beguiling adverts playing on their insecurities and their lust for women. I had a schoolfriend who tortured himself daily with his bullworker, anxiously monitoring the strength of his muscles. Sorry to say, after six months they looked much the same as when he began.
How many women are bewitched by rippling muscles anyway? Some maybe, but I suspect kindness and intelligence are probably more appealing. Okay, he can't single-handedly shift the sofa or the washing machine, but is that really a deal-breaker?
So be warned - any rude remarks about my pigeon chest or my weedy biceps and I might have to kick some sand in your direction.