My wife seems to think I’ve let myself go, over the last few years. She says I don’t take care of myself like I used to. I’ve let my gym membership expire. Twice. And I invest neither my time, nor my money, in grooming myself like I did when we first met. My answer to that is: be careful of what you wish for.
It’s true, I sometimes cut my own hair, and go unshaven for days on end (but hey, facial hair is nothing to run from right? Beards are cool now. And I live just outside of Portland, Oregon. Beard capital of the world. Even some of the chicks have beards. Maybe). And yeah, I might have packed on a bit of weight around my gut and jowls, but she’s a damn good cook. And to be honest, food is one of the few pleasures I haven’t yet sacrificed for one reason or another. When you don’t drink alcohol, and you haven’t had sex since the summer, and your idea of a Saturday night is watching Stuart Little 2 on loop, with a whiny three year old, come back and tell me you’re going vegan. And I’ve essentially replaced booze with soda. Sell your shares in Anheuser-Busch and buy Coca-cola, I’m mainlining that shit.
But what my wife fails to remember is that I spent a lot of time, money and effort on my appearance for the very purpose of snagging hot, blonde chicks that otherwise would be out of my league. Aka: her. My motives have changed, and that’s a good thing. I’m a dad and husband now, and $50 haircuts and expensive clothes are the domain of younger, singler men in search of their prize (“you sir have just won, two kids, a wife and all the responsibility and burden your broad shoulders can carry – and then a little bit more).
Ultimately – and this is what’s sometimes hard to admit – I agree with her. I have let myself go a little bit. If I told you I wake up and feel a healthy sense of self-worth and just, well… just the fucking energy to lift some weights, shave, style my hair and floss, then I’d be lying to you. I have spurts. I have times when I’m ready to take on the world, but they’re little islands of an archipelago surrounded by an ocean of languor (I robbed that line from The Dice Man, then changed it to make it look original. It’s a little trick us mediocre writers like to call “blatant plagiarism”).
The sad part, is I’m not sure why. A part of me knows that well-groomed David was a fake. That the guy who made the effort did so with the ultimate goal of someday not having to. That isn’t fair on my wife though. She didn’t sign up for the guy in his pajamas, eating cold Pizza at four in the afternoon, watching the game. Ok, she married a guy, so she kind of did sign up for that, but not every fucking day. But a bigger part of me knows that it’s more than that. I’ve allowed myself to put walls up, to hide away from the outside world. I suffer from anxiety and depression, and I have had sleepless nights about the responsibilities I’ve taken on (I’m a delicate soul – don’t judge). I’ve used alcohol to cope, and all I got out of that was pain, a label, and a copy of the big book. And now I have to figure how to cope with all the tricky, nasty parts of life. And really I don’t want to. That’s why I go to therapy, I guess. To figure it all out.
So I guess it is that I’m allowing my exterior to reflect my interior. “I’ve let myself go,” is really another way of saying, I’ve parted, or hidden from myself. Which is kinda what I’ve done inside. I just hide from all the debris and complications I’ve gathered in my 34 years on earth (most of which I’ve been privy to their creation; some of which just blind-sided me like birdshit on a new jacket).
There is no real moral to this post, by the way. Just maybe that I look like shit because I feel like shit. And that I’m really trying to figure it all. So maybe I’ll see if I can start from the outside: clean up the diet, bring my gym gear to work (we have a gym, awesome huh?), maybe hit a nice barbershop, and trim the ol’ nose hair.
And the soda? From my cold dead hand…