The Fat Kid Complex
For those of you who don’t know, I was a fat kid. Not obese, as I was raised in the pre-obesity epidemic era, but I still got teased a lot between the ages of 11 and 14 about my weight. And as we all know, those are really the best ages to be physically imperfect. My sister, who was between 8 and 11 at this time, was perhaps the most ruthless. Fortunately, at 14 I shot up about 4 inches and lost 15 pounds thanks to a squash class I was taking, and soon I was a lanky High School freshman. While being skinny was certainly better than being fat, I still knew I would need a better body if I was going to be able to attract the pretty girls in my High School. And so I began working out.
While other kids played sports, or the fat ones played video games after school, I took the public bus to a gym in the projects and lifted weights. And ran. And biked. And swam. Every day. By my junior year I was 220 pounds and being recruited to play on the football team, which had been my dream all along. My obsession with fitness has grown from there, and save for a couple of stretches I have worked out 4-7 days a week for over 12 years. And my work is never done. I can always be bigger, more defined, have less of a stomach. I can always have a better tan, more manicured nails, a better haircut. It never stops. Because when your first experiences with women all end in them calling you fat and telling you to go away, that is how you always look. What happens then is you become grateful for any female attention you get, and pretty much end up sleeping with anybody and dating anyone who bothers to stick around. When my sister got mad at me for sleeping with too many of her friends, I informed her of the complex she’d given me and said, “Hey, maybe if you hadn’t called me lard ass all through middle school you wouldn’t be subjected to your entire sorority talking about my penis. You brought this upon yourself.”
Monday, I talked about Ryan, who has taken this to an extreme of becoming a triathlete and power lifter. He also eats like complete shit, but somehow manages to be an elite amateur athlete. We had drinks again on Monday night, after I had written that post, and we began exchanging psycho girlfriend stories, which I found funny since I had just hours earlier sketched out our striking similarities. Turns out he also spent a good deal of time with a girl who, among other things, threw all his clothes down a stairwell and dumped a bottle of red wine on them, broke his surfboard in half, and spent the night at her ex-boyfriend’s house. My first question was “Did she have a coke problem?” which unfortunately was not true. At least mine could blame some of her instability on the drugs. At any rate, after seeing his lack of success with normal girls, I was not at all surprised to see that his last girlfriend, much as mine, had been batshit nuts.
Because here is what happens: Fat kid grows up with a complex and now has a better body than 95% of the guys out there. But still no confidence. So pretty, normal girls become out of his reach. But the pretty, psychotic ones are not and often become obsessed with him. This is the attention he has wanted ever since 6th Grade Susie was the first to tell him she only “liked him as a friend.” And since the psycho is actually very attractive, he sees this as his only chance to be with a girl that he is not embarrassed to take out in public. Until she opens her mouth. Crazy hot girls are kind of like a 10-year-old Lexus with transmission problems: They are very impressive to show off, but inside they are so damaged the constant maintenance makes you long for a Hyundai.
For me, I’m not sure if it will ever end. Much like Ryan, I think externally at this point I understand that I am not a fat kid anymore, and actually some may say my body is my best feature. But internally, every time you are rejected and the pretty girls aren’t lining up at your door, you assume it’s because you haven’t gotten your body fat down under 10%. And so you lift. And you run. And you bike. And you swim and you tan and you get $85 haircuts. And nothing changes. So you go back to the gym and work harder. Maybe there are some fat kids who grow up and realize that the answers to their problems are not all found in the weightstacks, and that you have to work on the inner person as well. And when you find him, please let me know. For now, I bid you all adieu. I’ve been on the road for a week and my stomach is looking disgusting.