The “dad bod” is now a thing. As you might imagine, it’s not a compliment. It means you are overweight, squishy, and probably have man boobs. Ugh. I hate it as much as anyone when men get improperly characterized, but fellas, we’ve earned this one. Take a look around the next time you’re with a bunch of men over 30. Most of us look like shit.
Men love hot women. This. Is. A. Fact. We are much more aroused by visual appeal than women (who are aroused by touch and by power). We want our woman to look good. We want her to take care of her body, her skin, her smell, and her hair. We might even go so far as to insist on it. But then when it comes to our appearance, we make every excuse in the book as to why we look like shit. As a result, on average, we’re too fat, we get our hair cut at the cheapest place that’s closest to our house or workplace, and we dress like our kids picked out our clothes. We have a million excuses and justifications for it.
Some of us are in denial. We walk around thinking we look pretty good because nobody tells us otherwise. And that type of thinking persists until we see a picture of ourselves. “That’s not me. That’s a terrible camera angle. I don’t look like that.” Yeah, bud, you do. You can either admit it, own it, and change it, or continue walking around looking like a loser.
Others of us acknowledge that things have gone downhill, but we justify ourselves by comparison. “I look fine. I’m completely normal. I’m not exactly in prime physical condition, but have you seen other guys my age? I mean, look at ________, he can barely fit in a chair and dresses like a homeless person.” Granted, unless you have the worst physical appearance of anyone on the planet, there will always be someone else you can point to who looks worse. Is that really how we want to live, being content that we’re not in last place? Of course not.
What’s more, how many of us would accept this line of thinking from our wives? None. “Honey, I know you’re grossly overweight and put no thought into your appearance, but it’s all good because you don’t look as bad as __________.” Funny, I’ve never heard of a man saying that. And we’d go nuts if we heard our kids thinking along these lines. “I know I got a bad grade, but there were two other kids who got worse.” I’m guessing that wouldn’t fly with most of us. If we won’t accept an excuse from our wives or children, then we damn sure shouldn’t accept it from ourselves.
Others attempt to justify our appearance based on some moral high ground. “Love isn’t about appearance.” Okay, that’s partly true. Love isn’t completely about appearance. But attraction is about appearance, and romantic love between a man and a woman is significantly based on attraction. Yes, I understand that attraction is also based on shared values and personality; it’s not totally based on appearance. But let’s be adults here and admit that attraction is largely based on appearance. It’s okay to tell the truth.
The other side of this excuse is that it’s a bit wrongheaded. Those who want to claim the moral high ground here need to be reminded that love is about what you give to others, and this is perhaps my main point: if nothing else, your love for your spouse should motivate you to take care of your appearance. Give her a man that she can be proud of, that she loves to show off to others, instead of someone she feels the need to make excuses for.
I can already hear the excuses. “My wife doesn’t care about how I look.” While it’s true that women are less aroused by appearance, and more drawn to strength and power, that’s not to say that they are not aroused by appearance or that they don’t care about it. Thus, while appearance might be a lesser priority to a woman than a man, it’s typically still a priority. So, if you think your wife truly doesn’t care about how you look, you’re kidding yourself.
What’s more, a woman wants to know that you care about her. Part of what you communicate when you take care of your appearance, beyond the fact that you have high standards and respect for yourself, is that you care about her. Are you really showing respect and love for your wife by being overweight? By paying no attention to what you wear? By getting the cheapest haircut you can find? You know better.
“I’m never going to look like Brad Pitt, and I don’t want to look like some muscle-bound, roided-up bodybuilder.” Hey, me either. And no one is asking you to. We all know that guy who is way, way too into how he looks. And it’s all a facade to cover up deficiencies in other areas. So, I’m not telling you to become all-consumed by your appearance. But I am saying that your appearance matters and that most of us do not put nearly enough thought and effort into it. Every man should present himself as a good-looking, powerful man of whom others should take note. A man that is worthy of being listened to and followed.
I’ve used a lot of words trying to convince you that men ought to put effort into improving their appearance. But, we all know this is true. We don’t really need convincing of this. What we need is to have our excuses destroyed. Excuses, as I noted in this post, make us feel better about our failures. If we have to come face-to-face with failure, we feel bad. As a result, we make excuses to protect our feelings. It’s only when those excuses get destroyed that we come face-to-face with reality and, in that moment, can decide to make meaningful changes in our lives.
My challenge for you today is to create a powerful and attractive appearance. You likely need to lose fat and build muscle. You likely need to improve your clothing selections. You may need a new barber. You may need to pay more attention to grooming and hygiene.
Here’s the fact. Men are called to be leaders. And the appearance of leaders matters. You can call this superficial and shallow if you want. But it’s a fact. No one wants to follow someone who presents themselves as sloppy. If you want to increase your influence, improve your relationships, or achieve higher status, then you must level up your appearance. If you want to put more smiles on your wife’s face, improve your appearance. If you want to be a man that your children can be proud of when you come around, improve your appearance.
I know, I know, appearance isn’t the only thing. I agree. But let’s agree that it matters. And that most of us need to improve it. If you need to learn about training and nutrition to get strong and lean, check out The Man Strong Blueprint. If you know basically nothing about exercise other than jogging, this book will give you everything you need to get started.
Today, commit to improving your appearance. Most of you know a couple of things you should do immediately to improve how you look. Do those things. If you’re stuck and need help, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get things moving.
One last piece of advice: if you don’t know where to start, don’t ask your wife. You want your appearance to enthrall her, but not be designed by her. Trust me on this. This is the man’s life. Let’s build it. Godspeed.
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