Search Box

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Top-heavy non-athletes

In April of 2010 I wrote about the gay men who invaded the Cancun Club Med just as we were leaving. I noted at the time that a fair number of them seemed to be on steroids, but had disproportionately large torsos and well muscled arms placed atop scrawny legs.

The other day I was told to Google image, "Friends don't let friends skip leg day." It's full of pictures of guys who do a lot of work on their pectorals, abs, lats, deltoids, biceps, and triceps, but seem to totally neglect their legs. (I suspect that some of the pictures were Photoshopped, but in any case, the message is clear.)

Here's one of the pictures:

Having a buff torso but skinny legs is a dead giveaway that you were never an athlete. It also seems to be a fairly good indicator that you're gay. And it often means that you've juiced, but don't know how to work out.

I can think of almost no sport in which you can get away with having no base. Tommy Hearns, the welterweight boxing champion from the 1980's, had skinny legs, but he was freakishly tall for his weight class, and relied on his superior reach and punching speed. But even with those advantages, he was ultimately undone by the far more agile Sugar Ray Leonard, who played mongoose to Hearns' cobra.

But Hearns aside, I can think of very few athletes, even cross country runners, who get away with such thin legs.

I was reminded of all this because I saw a gay couple walking down the street today and one of them had those prototypical gay body-builder proportions: muscular arms with legs of approximately the same circumference.

It's not a good look.

The goal should be to look balanced, like one of those Greek or Roman statues. If you do it right, you'll look as if you came by that look "honestly," through the practice of a sport, or as if you were lucky, and just hit the genetic lottery. If you do it wrong, as so many of these gay guys do, you end up looking like a silly -- and ignorant -- gym rat.

Note to gay guys: you're not Tommy Hearns. As long as you're doing all those bench presses and pull downs and sit-ups, it really wouldn't hurt to throw a few squats into your routine.


bluffcreek1967 said...

I've read it somewhere that it actually looks somewhat feminine when men have long, skinny legs. Men, supposedly, should have more muscular legs that compliments better their larger torsos and upper body.

Women are supposed to be the ones with the skinnier legs since they appear more feminine. Women who tend to have shorter, thicker legs appear more masculine (at least in their legs).

I'm not sure how valid that all is, but I do think that women who have long thin legs - which are not overly muscular - are very appealing.

John Craig said...

Ambrose --
It's ironic, the gay guys who buff up are trying to look like Greek gods, but the effect of all that upper body work combined with skinny legs is that they look like funhouse mirror images of real athletes.

And yes, I've always preferred slender women myself.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the skinny, feminine legs are intentional: to advertise their full orientation, in a subtler way than wearing a catcher's mask in public.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Ha! That's possible, but my guess is they just don't know how to work out. If they were primarily interested in advertising their catching inclinations, why work so hard to get the big muscles up top?

Bob Wallace said...

This is also known as the Prison Build, since prisoners work on their arms but not their legs.

I first noticed it when I was 12, when my father, who was a general contractor, hired an ex-con, who was 5'6" and had 18-inch biceps. His legs, on the hand (or maybe foot) weren't much bigger than mine.

You want to see a boxer with a huge upper build but skinny legs, try Ken Norton. I wonder if that had anything to do with his being unable to get away from big punchers, one of whom demolished him in one minute.

John Craig said...

Bob --
Good point. You always see pictures of inmates either benching or doing pull-ups in the yard, but never doing squats.

Ken Norton was, believe it or not, an Illinois state track champ in at least two events, at least one of them a running event. I think he had that black guy thing going on, where he had really skinny calf muscles but pretty strong thighs, which were somewhat hidden by the boxing shorts.