After a couple of months of neglecting the topic of bodies and a long week of binge-eating my birthday candy, I decided it was time again to have a little chat about our skin and bones.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my guy friend about “The Freshman 15,” which, at Brown, seems to be more like “The Freshman Negative 15.” Not that people I know are necessarily losing weight, but there’s a definite fear of gaining it. We’re so aware of the possibility to gain that we can’t stop thinking about trying to keep it off. This, of course, is probably more unhealthy than the 2a.m. pizza I’m yet to have thus far.
He said, “I’ve been eating really well since I’ve been here. I work out every day, I watch what I eat… I’m all about that whole ‘My body is a temple’ thing. You know?”
Why, yes, I did know. “My body is a temple” is one of my personal favorite phrases. It sounds so nice, in theory of course, to treat your body with so much respect–to only give it beautiful and natural things like grilled chicken and chopped salad and lots and lots of Fiji water. That mantra reminds me of gentle yoga and intense SoulCycle in a candlelit room. I love saying “My body is a temple” because it sounds so pretty on the outside. And, in reality, we really should become conducive to that lifestyle. So when my friend told me that his body was a temple, what was my response?
Obviously, “Oh my God, I’m the same way!”
Do I feel like my body should be a temple? Probably. Do I always treat it like it’s a temple? Debatable. Does my body look like a temple? HA. Let’s be real… I love fro-yo too much to avoid chemical food products, and we all know it.
When guys tell you in a casual conversation that they are true believers that their bodies are temples, it says a lot about them. Generally, I jump to one of two conclusions:
1. You’re an asshole, or
2. You’re really effing earthy
And that about sums it all up. But if you’re good looking and your body not only is a temple in your minds eye, but it’s clear to see that you treat it like one, you’ll have nice Jewish girls lined up for miles to take a turn davening in your sanctuary. Screw the pews… they’ll be down to get all up in your bimah.
Guys that are earthy love treating their bodies as temples. That’s why the smoke the green stuff–because it’s “organic” and au naturale. They also love being skinny, because if you aren’t lanky and try to convince people that you’re earthy, they’re just not going to believe you. It’s a part of the look.
If you’re an asshole, you just tell girls that you like treating your body as a temple because you… (wait for it… wait for it…)
1. “…Just feel better, like all around, you know?”
2. “…Have more energy”
3. “…Like to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and like what I see.” (I swear on my life I’ve literally heard this one before)
4. “…Gotta compensate for the beer somehow”
5. “…Deserve to look good”
etc., etc., etc.
I have a very vivid memory of reading Siddhartha in my ninth grade English class. We learned about how he would only eat very little, as little as needed, as not to be selfish or indulgent. I’ve also learned that when on a tight budget I’d rather spend my money on things other than food (things meaning the necessary waxes, fro-yo runs, and shoes) that I’ll just eat and then complain about eating for the next five days until my temporary bloat/love handles fade and I start to be able to feel my hip bones again. All of these things, when put together, paint an idealistic picture of my body being a temple. The phrase just sounds so nice, the image it engrains in your mind is so zen, but no matter how long I rant upon it, I don’t know if it will ever be possible.
The next weekend, the guy who told me that his body was a temple went home drunk from a party and spent a good hour vomiting into a trash can. Doesn’t look so sacred to me.