Friday, 16 November 2012


When I was young, boys everywhere wanted to be like Charles Atlas, the musclebound strongman who supposedly attracted women like bees to a hive.

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.


  1. It was 98 pound weakling over here. The guy in the picture is not appealing to me, nor are body builders. And I care more about the personality of the person I'm seeing than their body. That said, I've dated a lot since I've been single again, but the three serious relationships during that time have all been with men who were very strong. Not muscle-head gymrats, but still very muscular. That wasn't intentional on my part and not being able to lift heavy things is definitely not a deal breaker. But I have to admit, I do like that they can easily lift me.

  2. Agent: There was a 98 pound version over here too. Curious that your three serious relationships have all been with strong guys. I'm sure it's very appealing that they can lift YOU!

  3. i was once in love with a very thin and very kind man but i have to say that if i could have had him in the beefed up version, i would have.

  4. Not a fan of muscles myself. Sometimes they're so obtrusive the poor man can hardly move. I prefer flexibility. Uh, not sure that sounded right. Mr Atlas' undies would put me off right away.

  5. Kylie: Oh you traditionalist, you! Still addicted to hunky beefcake, huh?

    Baino: You're right about the guys who can hardly move for massive muscles. And God yes, the underwear. He could do with some fancy knickers instead of that awful contraption....

    Flexibility, eh?

  6. Muscle men have always been a turn off for me, as well as dumb bells. Brains over brawn! And a sense of humor is a must.

  7. I have to agree with Baino about the undies - get that man some boxer briefs!

    I also wanted to clarify - the three men I was talking about are NOT dumb. They just happen to be very athletic (tennis player,long distance runner, and fencer) and probably naturally muscular. I'd definitely take brainy over brawny if I had to choose.

  8. Bijoux: Dumb bells in both senses, I assume? Brains over brawn, definitely. Who wants a muscleman who doesn't understand dialectics or abstract art? Or the hidden symbolism of the Wizard of Oz, come to that.

    Agent: Oh goodness, I wasn't suggesting they were all dumb. I couldn't see you hooking up with anyone remotely dumb! And yes, boxer briefs would be one BIG improvement.

  9. I had a lover who spent every waking moment at the gym. Muscle-bound just didn't describe it. He was so neurotic it was impossible to be with him.

    I also was with someone (not at the same time obv) who was like a string bean: long and lanky. It wasn't comfortable, he was too bony in all the wrong places. I could end up with bruises just through an enthusiastic cuddle.

    Happily, I'm with someone who although is strong, he's...stocky and well-padded. I like him very much. He suits me just fine.

    The point as related to your post? No idea.

  10. On one side you have men imagining a muscle-packed body and on the other are women obsessing about dieting to become like a catwalk stick insect.

    Give me a good hearted & caring person with a genuine smile and I'll be happy. It is something I like about meeting people through blogging... we get to know the person from the inside, without the distraction of the outer packaging.

  11. I like strong men. But I don't care what the packaging looks like.

  12. Roses: He he, Jenny often complains I'm too bony! Stocky and well-padded certainly sounds more comfortable!

    Grannymar: "A good hearted & caring person with a genuine smile." That's good enough for me. The outer packaging can be very misleading.

    Leah: Is that strong physically or psychologically, or both? Personally I'm strong-willed but in terms of muscles - you can start laughing now!

  13. I had a couple of years there where my daughters named me the "Dating Queen" and truly, the outer packaging had nothing to do with the inner.

    Having said that, I found smaller men to be a little more aggressive (and not in a nice way). On the whole.

    And the beefcakes? Great lovers.

    I hate generalizing.

    And my taste is always for the inner.


  14. www: The beefcakes were great lovers? Interesting.

  15. I have a tkought about WWW's experience (and I keep coming back because I find this a fascinating topic!) - the "beefcake" guys might be more attentive/gentle out of awareness that the could easily hurt the woman. The man I'm seeing now is very strong and very aggressive, but I could not ask for a more tender lover. But since he weighs twice wheat I do and could easily break me, I think he stays cognizant of the size and strength difference between us.

  16. Agent: That makes sense that the strong/powerful guys are aware they might hurt the woman. I think it would be hard for me to physically hurt a woman as I'm quite slight. Unless she was really petite I suppose.

  17. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it is a rare woman who doesn't secretly wish her partner could hoist her up in the air like she weighed ten pounds. This is more about her than it is about her partner, though.

  18. Murr: Well, I do know at least one woman who has no wish to be hoisted up by a guy. But if there are any women out there who imagine me whisking them effortlessly into the air, I think they would be sorely disappointed.