Masculinity is weird sometimes. As men in America, we're supposed to strive for the loftiest goals, fight against the odds and conquer as much theoretical territory as we can. At the same time though, we're also expected to not admit when we're struggling, or even just working hard to achieve what we want to achieve. This is especially true when it comes to one of the greatest struggles that an individual can embark upon: losing weight.
Basically how I feel.
Sure, you can tell your boys that you're working out, putting up numbers in the gym, blasting your core, hitting the weights and whatever other semi-violent imagery people use. You'll be commended for it, but something different happens when you start talking about the Elliptical or any kind of cardio. People start to get a confused look on their faces. Then, when you inevitably bring up the D-word: Diet ...the ridicule begins.
It's seen as vain, and lady-like. Men don't diet. We hunt, kill and devour. We consume. We ravage. We are men. We don't count calories.
As a man on a diet, doing my best to get in better shape at 30 years old, I've learned some things that I'd like to share with you:
1. The majority of people who want to give you advice on how to diet are the people who never had to do it, or the people who have tried and failed.
In my experience, roughly 90% of diet advice can be broken down into two categories: Advice from people who have always been thin and Advice from people who are fatter than me. Thin people, the kind of guys with the Marvel Comics, super-human, radioactive metabolisms that let them eat Five Guys Burgers six days a week, go for a 45 minute walk and then lose three pounds, will never understand. However, that doesn't stop them from dishing out such pearls of wisdom as: "diet soda will kill you," "they say walking is the best exercise," and my favorite, "just stop eating when you don't feel hungry anymore." We are all children of God, and are here to love one another and learn from our differences...but for real...fuck these people.
Then there are the other people. The people who have been on diets their whole lives and can't seem to stick to one. I have more sympathy for these guys. Hell, at times in my life, I've been one of them. But, the difference is that when I was bigger I never tried to tell people how to lose weight. In fact, unless asked directly, I still don't. I think it's just more respectful that way. So, I'm not going to make fun of the overweight individuals who have been throwing advice my way, even though it's clear that whatever they're saying hasn't worked for them. It's just not the right thing to do. But, seriously, if another forever-thin dude gives me weight loss tips from behind a foot-long meatball sub, I can't be held responsible for my actions.
2. Your friends will make fun of you even harder for trying to better yourself then they ever did for being fat.
I have a feeling that a lot of people who ridicule their overweight friends are secretly terrified that one day they'll get thin. After all, to paraphrase an old adage, "I can lose weight, you'll always be an asshole." The fact of the matter is, a lot of what your mom told you about bullies is true. People who make fun of you are doing it to cover up a much bigger insecurity. Something that's deeper than cosmetic. Something that's going to take much longer to work through than it's going to take you to lose fifteen pounds. Again though, sympathy is a virtue, but mean people suck. So screw them, too. Lose 20 pounds and make out with one of their ex-girlfriends.
"It won't happen to me," you say innocently. But then it does. Be prepared. By Jennifer Anderson (Actor/Singer/Good Grandkid)
Well, it finally happened. Your grandpa slipped into a retirement so boring and vapid that he was forced to take interest in Fox News. He became indoctrinated by their propaganda. He began listening to Glen Beck on the radio and "liked" Ben Carson on Facebook (but somehow still can't figure out how to post a status.) And your poor grandmother, who voted for Obama in 2008, fell into the rabbit hole of the "fair and balanced" and is now riding the crazy train along with your grandpa. There's no turning back. They've been bitten by the zombies and are now flesh eaters themselves, and there's nothing you can do but save yourself and bolt the door shut so they can't break in and eat you too. They're voting for Donald Trump.
Given the choice between voting Trump and being stabbed to death in a shower by Norman Bates...well, Norman Bates is kinda hot, right? I mean maybe we could work something out?
It's a sad fate and a long, laborious road ahead. They will have to deal with the fact that if their choice for president wins, their granddaughter will more than likely be relocating to wherever the hell this is:
But just because your politics are at odds doesn't mean that one of your last days as an American citizen has to be spent fighting over an Oompa Loompa and his abilities to run a nation. No, you owe it to your hardworking and docile grandparents to keep your anger at bay. Think of all the checks they've sent you over the years. All the boring recitals and horrible school plays they've attended, all with a wide grin plastered on their faces. You owe it to them to just nod and smile, and then evacuate the country without so much as a "see you later."
So that leaves a few final, daunting tasks: keep a straight face when you drive up to their house and see a Donald Trump sign in their front yard. Swallow your bile when you see your grandpa wearing a "Make America Great Again" ball cap. Bite your tongue so hard you could fit a 0000 gage in the resulting hole when your grandma defends Trump's tax secrecy. This will surely provide some difficulty, but not to fret Crazytowners. I've compiled the best poker faces on the Internet to study and practice so that we can all visit our grandparents one last, peaceful time before we head to Bali.
When your grandparents ask you why you're wearing a hoodie in Boca Raton, Florida in the middle of July, tell them you have a bad fever and are trying to sweat it out. That will cover for the body chills you'll inevitably experience when dear old grandpa says he's says he admires Trump for his "straightforward thinking." Shuddershuddershuddershuddershudder.
When your grandmother tells you she's voting for Trump because he represents hope, don't tell her that she's confusing him with Obama from 10 years ago. Just pretend you're staring at the dealer as he passes around the next hand.
If it makes it easier to imagine your mouth as a thin black line, as opposed to a vehicle to deliver rational thought to ears that just won't hear it, do that.
One last write. By Rachel James (Treasurer/Writer)
I’ve written for Crazytown since 2012. Much of my life and interests that otherwise might have been forgotten have been documented because of a weekly deadline. For someone who doesn’t keep a diary, my weekly post for this blog has become a snapshot of my life. Whether it’s pop culture, politics, or personal developments, much of the last four years of my life has been saved here on these pages.
I’ve decided after four years that it’s time to take a break.
When I first began writing for Crazytown, I had so much I had to say. Every week was a new opportunity to express something that had been grinding my mind. After a while, however, the deadline became less of an opportunity and more of burden. Do I still have something to say? Will any of this be relevant? Do people even want to read this?
And so, before I make myself crazy with thrown together pieces and mish mashes of ideas, I’m stepping back. I want to continue writing, but I need the time to write things for myself. I need the time to work on pieces and not just throw them out for consumption. It’s time to write a bunch of stuff and throw it in the trash so I can get to the good stuff. Basically, it’s time to write without fear and expectations being the only thing that drives me.
Therefore, farewell Crazytown. It has been a magical few years. Until we meet again.
Readjusting to life without school. By Alex Syiek (Musical Theatre Writer/Performer)
So my first year at NYU's Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program has come to a close.....and now what? Honestly, I've been so entrenched in the madness that is our curriculum that I have to figure out what to do with my new-found free time. So far, I have a few ideas:
GO TO THE PARK The weather is changing, and it's getting warm. I wore shorts for the first time this year yesterday! I was really excited. Gotta air out those calves. And today, I just sat on a bench in Union Square and listened to life around me, not thinking about anything else. I recommend. 10/10.
GYMTIME Having more free time means more time to hit the gym and work on that summer body that I should have been striving for back in the winter. So I will at least have a late-fall body. Fashionably late is hip, right?
Battle of the best. With no Gucci in tow. By Joanna Syiek (Director/Producer/Blogger)
TONY time is coming...and you know what that means: the stars are arranging dresses and tuxes, making hair appointments, calling in favors, doing everything they can to look their best. But before they make their debut at the awards, let's take a peek at some of the looks of yesteryear to remind ourselves who really wore it best.
Moderately Self Satisfied Smirk, in Black and White tones
Sondheim or Webber? OMG HARD CHOICE RIGHT?
An I've-aged-well Smile with Oversized Sunglasses for Extra Moxie
Channing or Stritch? How do you begin to choose?
Hot dogs. Lots of hot dogs.
Fierstein or the entire Bullets over Broadway cast? Take a long think, and let us know.
What are you going to be wearing to the TONYs? Or to watch the TONYs? #sweatpantsarealmostlikeballgowns
Toast is a slice of bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. Thanks, Wikipedia. By Alisha Giampola (Writer/Performer)
You know how when you're famous, and you have a Wikipedia page and it lists all of your fabulous accomplishments and also sometimes your "influences"? Like if you're a famous songwriter, maybe your influences were Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Or maybe you're a stand-up and you were influenced by Carol Burnett and Louis CK; or you were a famous horrible person and you were influenced by Osama Bin Laden and whoever is currently in charge of the Westboro Baptist Church. I'm not a famous person, but my secret goal in life is to be the kind of person whom people just sort of assume was "influenced" in equal parts by Amy Sedaris, Sarah Silverman, and Madeline Kahn. Ideally, I would be the kind of person whom people would only be able to describe by using an invocation of those women's names. (And also possibly Ilana Glazer, for further clarification.)
Wasn't that great? Seriously, though. I'm so sad this haven of wonderful, smart, niche-interest writing on the internet is going away and I hope everyone goes and supports their last month of funny, whimsical content. This is a loss for all writers and bloggers- we should all be devastated that something as wonderful as The Toast could not remain profitable for its editors to keep open while remaining committed to their goal of paying every freelance writer that contributed. It was a noble goal, and deserved reward, and I respect them for ending things while everyone was still into them, Breaking-Bad-style, instead of fizzling out long after everyone was over it but still felt kind of badly for not wanting to watch anymore, The-Office-style.
So head on over and pour one out for The Toast. And best wishes for Mallory et al...I can't wait to see what projects they get involved with next.
First, we visit a cat lover's dream. By Jennifer Lin (Music Director)
As you may or may not know, Japan is ahead of the game when it comes to cute things. Though cat cafes have been around in Japan since 2004 (side note: to give credit where credit is due, Taipei is home to the world's first cat cafe, which opened in 1998 - Japan just took the idea and ran with it), North America didn't get its first kitty haven until 2014.
This last trip we took to Japan led us to the very trendy cat cafe MoCHA, which has several branches throughout Tokyo. We stumbled upon their Harajuku location on our way to the Meiji Shrine and decided to go after we'd visited the shrine.
This is a real place that exists and I want to go here all the time. The trees are part of the forest that surrounds the Meiji Shrine.
You pay in increments of 200 yen for every 10 minutes, and you can pay an extra 350 yen for unlimited drinks from the vending machines. MoCHA also makes you put your shoes and bags away and gives you a pair of slippers to wear inside the cats' room. The drinks were satisfactory - not particularly noteworthy - but the space itself is beautiful and airy, with plenty of fun places to find cats. There's also a great view of the comings and goings of people down below in Harajuku.