For someone who writes and edits an awful lot of articles about health and nutrition, lately I seem to have some sort of disconnect between saying and doing. I haven’t been to the gym since I got back from my trip to New York two weeks ago, and my diet has been mostly delivered from drive-through windows. Today I ran into my friend Kevin, who quit smoking nine months ago (a positive) but lost motivation to go to the gym (a negative) and gained 30 pounds. (He says 30 pounds, but he doesn’t look like he has 30 extra pounds on him. I asked him if he was wearing Spanx.)
When I was at the grocery store picking up ingredients for Work Wife’s 30th-birthday dinner tomorrow, I grabbed a 99-cent bag of Doritos while strolling up to the registers. If I don’t have a list, I apparently need a parent figure slapping my hands away from those “Ooh, and I want …” purchases. After I made the two-hour-intensive dessert, I celebrated with a drink — and those damn chips.
Kevin has asked a co-worker to constantly refer to him as “Fat Kevin,” so eventually he’ll get his motivation shamed back into him. And you know, sometimes a little shame isn’t a bad thing — in fact, I can think of a few people who could do with a good shaming, if only it would stick.
I, on the other hand, wouldn’t handle name-calling too well; I would probably snap and say something awful — and true, just to make it sting more. (Over the past years I have become known for well-tempered diplomacy — which stuns many friends who’ve known me a long time — but that remains something that requires concerted effort, and is by no means my autonomic response.)
I told Kevin that what I need is some sort of visceral reminder of the terror and dread inspired by the prospect of a full summer’s worth of pool parties, immediately broadcast into my brain when I wake up and think, “I think I’ll skip the gym today.” Instead, I’ll pull out this Entertainment Weekly cover of Ryan Reynolds from last summer and post it somewhere prominent as my own subtle form of shaming.
In the meantime, a few songs that I’ve just downloaded:
1. “Drop It Low,” Ester Dean & Chris Brown. (Video here.) I’m a lousy person to take to a bar or club where they’re playing the music videos along with the tracks themselves, because I end up staring at the screen instead of talking to people. This weekend we were at a bar where go-go boys were grinding away live, and there I was, attention completely elsewhere.
2. “My Chick Bad,” Ludacris & Nicki Minaj. “Comin’ out swingin’ like Tiger Woods’ wife.” Minaj seems to be everywhere lately, showing up here with Ludacris; rapping about cunnilingus on “Woohoo” with Christina Aguilera (“When you French-kiss it … say parlez-vous / Way you work your tongue, can I hire you?”); on “Up Out My Face” with Mariah Carey (video here); on “Knockout” with Lil Wayne (video here). I know that Rich of FourFour isn’t a fan of Minaj — he referred to her as a “scourge on pop music” and “human waste of time” in this post — but I love each of the three tracks I bought that she appears on, so we’ll chalk it up to expectations and experience.
3. “I Can Change,” LCD Soundsystem. It’s probably about a minute too long, but it’s clever: At the beginning the chorus is “Never change / that’s just who I fell in love with” but things sour as the relationship goes on and the chorus becomes “I can change / if it helps you fall in love.”