Women are always watching their weight – I can see it now, actually, right out there in front of me. So anxious are we about said muffin top, thunder thighs, cankles and “thigh gap” that we won’t even cook with thick-bottomed saucepans. We eschew carbs with the same fervour we’d avoid a plutonium-riddled Russian spy. Hell, I’ve eaten so much salmon in my life, I’m starting to get an irresistible urge to swim upstream and spawn.
As the average woman is more interested in brains than beauty, society doesn’t put the same pressure on men not to exceed the feed limit. But with the knowledge that excess weight is
a contributing factor to COVID-19 deaths, my middle-aged male friends have suddenly taken to dieting with evangelical fervour. Skinniness is now inniness for men, too.
I was at a barbecue recently with a group of intellectuals. While the women conversed about Proust and world peace, the male brainiacs were discussing the weighty issue of … calorie intake. They spent more time chewing over the merits of each mouthful than actually masticating.
This unexpected male obsession with dieting is ruining marriages. My female friends complain of little else. Meal times are now rigidly scheduled, calories painstakingly counted, praise constantly demanded. A woman who drops a couple of kilos will quietly celebrate by wearing a smug smile with her skinny jeans. A man, however, will demand thunderous applause, loud-hailer announcements, ads in the paper – nothing short of iridescent sky-writing. The weekly weigh-in is read aloud to the whole family with a reverence you’d imagine exclusively reserved for, say, Moses’ stone tablets or the Dead Sea Scrolls.