August 30th 2004 I Couldn’t Live Without Food

I stopped in at The Bison for dinner tonight, as I have done the past few nights. It’s a much better eating establishment than the cafeteria (which is not a terribly bad place either). For those of you who are not familiar with the eating establishments at Bucknell University, The Bison is a restaurant/café/grill in the Langone Center (or the “LC” in local parlance). Tonight I got what I usually get—the bacon cheeseburger combo. It’s certainly not the healthiest thing on the menu, but it’s mighty tasty. Normally I don’t consider the healthiness of my food in great detail, but my thoughts were channeled in this direction because of the fact that I, as I stood in line, I was surrounded by a bunch of (presumably sorority) girls who were diligently waiting for their own meals of tiny salads and Diet Cokes.

Why do they do that to themselves? I couldn’t go through life eating that junk. I love to eat. I love food. I couldn’t live without food. Food’s great. I can’t eat bland-tasting food all the time. Eating tasteless garbage like salads and Diet Cokes all the time would diminish greatly from my enjoyment of life.

The sad thing is, I doubt any of these girls would choose to eat food like that all the time. Sure, some people claim to “like the taste of Diet Coke” but that’s a lie; everyone knows that the real thing tastes a lot better, even if it has little to no nutritional value whatsoever. And while I like a good salad every now and then, I couldn’t eat one all the time, and I doubt many other people would choose to, either. Sometimes nothing feels better than wrapping your hands around a cheeseburger (or a portabello mushroom, if you happen to be a vegetarian—I certainly have nothing against portabello mushrooms).

No, clearly the reason that they choose this food is to pursue some media-influenced ideal vision of beauty where every girl between the ages of 14 and 28 has a perfectly flat stomach, and can wear midriff-bearing tanktops and tight jeans to their heart’s content. Unfortunately, Seventeen magazine is not quite an accurate representation of reality. Not everyone can dress like that. Not everyone needs to, in fact. Speaking purely from a guy’s perspective, it is nice to see young women dressed like that now and then, but it has become so common that it’s hardly a way to get attention, unless you are part of the tiny, elite percentage of young women who really stand out. Of course, is it really all that important to look like that all the time, even if your body shape does not support that kind of wardrobe—or maintaining that body type means endless hours of artificial tanning and giving up on the things that make life great, such as Coca-Cola and bacon pizza? In my humble opinion, absolutely not. It shouldn’t even be a priority. Women need not dress provocatively in order to look nice or get attention. It’s not a necessity. I have numerous female friends who are quite attractive—and manage to look very attractive while still dressing moderately. Several of them could easily wear skimpier clothing and not look bad in it, but the fact that they don’t—and still look fine—means a lot (and also supports my entire argument at the same time). I also know some nice-looking young women who aren’t the thinnest girls in the world (which isn’t to say they are fat, but rather, they aren’t as slim as the models and actresses you might see in magazines or, God forbid, on the hated television set) but manage to look absolutely fine because they dress well for their body type.

Sometimes you have to deal with the fact that you’ll never look like people on TV or in magazines. I’m 5′ 2″. I’ll never be a tall, blond-haired, muscular guy, but hey, I can deal with that. There’s no need to aspire to the impossible demands set up by our beloved multinational media conglomerates. You don’t even need to force yourself to eat only salads and drink Diet Cokes, though. You can eat all you want, and as long as the rest of your lifestyle is relatively healthy, you’ll be fine. Common meals for me (especially since I am at college now) include a couple pieces of pizza (preferably topped with bacon) or a cheeseburger. I’m in fairly good health. I’m not even nearing the “overweight” mark. The rest of my lifestyle is healthy—I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t freebase. I think I’m in pretty good shape.

It’s all well and good to stay healthy, but it’s pointless if you’re going to miss out on fun things in life, such as sitting around all day eating ice cream or gulping down a cheeseburger. Even if you’re a vegetarian and don’t like cheeseburgers, there’s still plenty more good things to consume other than salads and Diet Cokes. A moderately healthy diet combined with moderate exercise is the key to staying healthy. Sure, you might not be emaciated like the models in magazines, but you’ll have a much more enjoyable life. And who needs an emaciated girl, anyway? I say, put on some clothes (or at least find the rest of your shirt) and enjoy the satisfaction that is grilled food.