I was stuck in a waiting room last week with almost no charge on my cellphone so I decided to go old school and read a magazine (I know, I’m such a 20th century reprobate.) It’s been a while since I read a magazine and I was disappointed not to find a copy of Sports Illustrated, Field and Stream or Soldier of Fortune in the waiting room reading selection, so I settled for a copy of something called Men’s Fitness. To be clear, this is not something I would normally read but, on the off chance that a major earthquake struck while I was waiting,
I didn’t want to be found clutching a copy of Redbook, People or Psychology Today magazines.
Since I’m a middle-aged guy (assuming I’ll live to be 116 years old), I have no interest in the proper way to do a lunge or salsa dancing my way to cardio health but I’ve got a cholesterol check next month so I read an article called “10 Foods to Stop Eating Today.” After a reading a few paragraphs I realized that this magazine might be about fitness but it has little to do with men.
The first two items of their banned food list were processed meats and margarine. items rarely found in the natural diet of American male. Real men eat real meat and butter as matter of choice but are not above snacking on some beef jerky from time to time. If John Wayne could drive a herd down the Chisholm Trail fueled by jerky and hardtack I figure I can snack on a Slim Jim while driving to the Reno airport.
Sugary breakfast cereal was next on the hit list, which makes no sense to me because real men don’t eat Fruit Loops. Trix are for kids but a man’s breakfast menu includes eggs and bacon, flapjacks and black coffee then maybe some more bacon. Nobody with a Y chromosome and a pickup truck has ever been cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs … it just wouldn’t be right.
Fast food burgers and donuts are numbers four and five on the list to “… ban from your pie-hole.” While most American men prefer their burgers covered in chili then smothered with cheese and onions and generally have little interest in pastries; we reserve the right to throw back a Big Mac and a bearclaw if the mood strikes us. Hollywood starlets like Ryan Freakin’ Seacrest count calories, real men burn them while driving tractors or winning the Cold War.
For some reason they listed microwave popcorn at number six, more sinister than processed meat, fake butter, Frosted Flakes, Whoppers or even steaming hot Krispy Kreme donuts. Really? If microwave popcorn scares you, it’s time to re-examine your lifestyle. “Let’s eat some kale-wraps and watch Bridget Jones’ Diary,” said no man … ever.
Toaster pastries and blended coffee drinks are the next two items to be shunned by men interested in eating healthier. I’m 58 years old; I’ve been around the world, visited six of the seven continents and I’ve seen men eat baluts (don’t ask) and drink coffee brewed through old socks but I’ve never seen a man order a mocha frappe pumpkin latte and a pop tart. Is this really a major concern for men’s health? Is this a joke … are these Polish men?
By the time I reached number nine on the list, the second most dangerous food for men, I was relieved that few of my favorite foods had been listed. With only two items remaining to be banned, there had been no mention of steak, potatoes, chicken wings, ribs, fried chicken, ice cream or any of the real staples of my diet. Fired Twinkies didn’t make the list but bagels did because they are a lethal combination of “refined carbs” and sugar. I have no idea what “refined carbs” are, but after reading that I think I’m craving some.
Finally, “public enemy number-one” for men who want to eat healthier is … drum roll please … soda pop! Who cares? Real men drink black coffee, beer and, when absolutely necessary, tap water. Soda ruins good whiskey and takes up space in the refrigerator where beer should be chilling.
I’ve decided that I’m not the target demographic for Men’s Fitness magazine. If I’m ever lost in a waiting room due to a major earthquake, look for the guy reading a 12-year-old copy of Reader’s Digest (large print edition, of course.)
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.